Anticamera della morte – Pinot Gallizio

Environmental Installation, 1963, Spazio Gallizio, Centro Studi Beppe Fenoglio, Alba

The work is the last installation created by Pinot Gallizio, who, driven by the premonitory idea of his imminent death and believing himself to be ill with cancer, abandoned his rich and varied palette in 1963 to turn to black, the colour with which he painted his last works.

The artist covered a piece of furniture in his studio with a layer of black paint, arranged along two corner walls, thus transforming the objects accumulated throughout his life into archaeological finds, silent witnesses to his existence.

In 2019, Mnemosyne Services was involved to carry out a complete maintenance of this work. The preliminary study allowed us to understand the state of conservation and the material complexity. Indeed, Anticamera della morte is composed of numerous objects and therefore many different materials are found: wood, glass, ceramic, metal, aluminium, terracotta, stone, bone, paper… All surfaces are covered with an inhomogeneous layer of black pigment that is weakly bound and very receptive to dust.

After mapping the position of all objects, they were moved to be photographed, carefully cleaned and consolidated where necessary.

From a philological point of view, the work was very interesting and complex, as the cleaning and consolidation of the installation had to avoid losing the dusty feeling that the pictorial material gives to the objects. The artist’s use of everyday objects, already worn, damaged, chipped, partial, was not to mislead by restoring their integrity, but to preserve their usury and to distinguish what was damaged before being used in the installation, from what was damaged afterwards.

The artwork can be seen in the Gallizio space set up at the Centro Studi Beppe Fenoglio in Alba (CN), Italy.


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