14. June – 28. September 2014

The Deichtorhallen Hamburg in cooperation with the ZKM in Karlsruhe will present the first major retrospective in Germany of the 89-year-old Italian artist Gianfranco Baruchello at the Falckenberg Collection. Baruchello’s works have been shown at events such as the Venice Biennale in 2013 and Documenta in 1977 and 2012, but have not yet reached a wide audience in German-speaking countries.

Baruchello’s artistic style is based on the tension between cut-out pictorial elements and text fragments, between three-dimensional objects and pure painting, with which he partially or completely covers his works. His pictorial worlds are constituted in the empty spaces between hand drawings and figurative encyclopedias. Baruchello’s objects, assemblages and showcases are three-dimensional conceptual models and simultaneously radical formulas of their impossible inventories; his films are bizarre études that reveal the absurdity of the medium’s narration.

Born in 1924 in Livorno, after studying law and economics and taking a job at a chemical and biological research and production company, Gianfranco Baruchello finally turned to art in the late 1950s. He experimented with the canvas as a pictorial medium and composed objects with recycled found materials; in 1962 he began creating pictures on large canvases. Baruchello positioned sporadic traces of paint, indistinct shapes and individual lines on white surfaces. Around this time he also met Marcel Duchamp, with whom he maintained an enduring friendship. His 1965 film »La Verifica incerta« was rediscovered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012 and presented by Harun Farocki as a »seminal work of film montage«.

Baruchello’s tendency to distance himself and his art from any immediate interpretability became more pronounced during the 1960s through his increasing addition of three-dimensional elements and collages to his paintings, including tiny figures, small objects, tools and machine parts, newspaper clippings, scraps of maps, and prints. This continual development led to his showcase assemblages, which Baruchello populated with elements such as glued-together and arranged paper figurines, or whose walls he covered with cut-out fragments of maps. In the field of agriculture he investigated the utility and exchange value of agricultural products and artworks.

The enormous diversity of Baruchello’s oeuvre is evident not least in his numerous poems, prose texts, essays and small drawings. The stories and places of his life as well as his artistic, political and literary myths, including love, friends, gardens, Duchamp and Lacan, are reflected in his minimalist pictures and objects.

Baruchello: Certe idee. Edited by Achille Bonito Oliva and Carla Subrizi. With a new foreword by Harald Falckenberg. Interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist. 482 p., english, with 300 images, Electa: Rome, 2011/12. 55 Euros.