NANNI BALESTRINI

Milan, 1935 - 2019



 

Galleria Michela Rizzo is pleased to announce the exhibition Nanni Balestrini. Altre e infinite voci / Nanno Balestrini. Altre e infinite voci, which will open on 14 July 2023. The exhibition, which has been curated by Marco Scotini and has been organised in collaboration with the Luigi Nono Archive in Venice, is the first Italian solo show after the artist’s death in 2019; it aims at presenting a wide range of original documentary material, together with a selection of more than 50 works by the artist dating back to the 1960s. The title of the retrospective is an excerpt from the verse “ci sono altre e infinite voci che si muovono altrove” (meaning ‘there are other, countless voices that linger elsewhere’), as taken from the text produced by Nanni Balestrini for Luigi Nono’s 1968 composition for magnetic tape entitled Contrappunto dialettico alla mente (Dialectical counterpoint for the mind), which the poet later included in the collection Ma noi facciamone un’altra, published by Feltrinelli in the same year. Right from its title, the Venice-based exhibition focuses on Balestrini’s debut decade – the 1960s – as reread in parallel with the relationship between the poet/visual artist and the musician, building on the common work done on and with voices under the paradigm of the collective utterance. The act of editing and recombining other people’s texts is, in fact, one of the distinctive features of Balestrini’s method. There has always been too much emphasis on the exclusively typographical character of the writing in Balestrini’s plastic works not to draw attention, through this exhibition, to the double acoustic and visual nature of Balestrini’s words or, rather, to their ‘phonoptic indiscernibility’, as Paolo Fabbri put it. In this sense, deepening the relationship with a figure like Luigi Nono, which spanned an entire decade, as well as focusing on their collaboration, can only shed further light on the search for the disalienation of the words pursued by both of them. From the gatherings at the International Weeks of Nuova Musica in Palermo in 1962 and the birth of Gruppo ‘63 up to the establishment in 1970 of Balestrini’s monthly political newspaper, known as ‘Compagni’ which featured Nono’s intervention ‘Il potere musicale’ (meaning ‘the power of music’) – the relationship between the two great artists developed on several levels of interaction but also on surprising cultural parallels, in which the political-artistic interventionism of both was a constant feature. For this reason, the exhibition itinerary is inverted, and the exhibition begins with the infamous protests of 1968 and then proceeds in reverse. Undoubtedly, a work by Balestrini such as I muri della Sorbona (The walls of the Sorbonne, 1968), in which – within the context of ‘Il Teatro delle Mostre’ – the poet covered the walls of Galleria La Tartaruga in real time with the slogans of the French protest cannot be separated from Noni’s composition for voices and magnetic tape Non consumiamo Marx (Don’t consume Marx, 1969), which made use of twenty wall writings from Paris’s May Day and documents from the struggle against the Venice Biennale of that same year. The workerism of Nono’s La Fabbrica illuminata (The illuminated factory, 1964) is also connected with the verbal material of Balestrini’s well-known 1971 book We Want Everything. However, possible parallels can also be found more inwardly in the methodology of both; examples include Balestrini’s cut-up and fold-in practice and Nono’s ‘phoneme splitting technique’. Furthermore, their common recourse to technology in order to subvert the tools of the master against the system that produced them cannot be overlooked: witness Balestrini’s use of IBM to make poetry in 1961 and Nono’s entry into electronic music in 1964. Finally, a full-scale collaboration is to be found in the 1968 work Contrappunto dialettico alla mente, an ironic-political work by Nono in which the linguistic material is organised by Balestrini himself. The entire exhibition revolves around this work – which will be exhibited in September while the exhibition is still in progress – and presents some cycles of Balestrini’s works, such as the first collages – called Chronograms (1961), the collages on the large colour photos of the weekly magazines ‘Epoca’ and ‘Tempo’ (1963), the series Maestri del Colore (Masters of Colour, 1964), the series Quindici (Fifteen, 1969), as well as other works.

Critical text by Marco Scotini

 

A special thanks to:

Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa

Rossana Campo

Eredi Umberto Eco

Fabio Marangon

Nuria e Serena Nono

Veniero Rizzardi

 

Thanks also to the lenders:

Giacomo Balestrini

Sergio Bianchi

Andrea Cuomo

Marcello Forin

Galleria Frittelli Arte Contemporanea

Fondazione Marconi

Fabio Marangon

Galleria Mazzoli

MiBAC

Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono

 

Nanni Balestrini

Nanni Balestrini (Milan, 1935 - Rome, 2019), poet, novelist and visual artist, in the early 1960s was part of the 'Novissimi' poets and the 'Gruppo 63', which brought together the writers of the neo-avant-garde. A great experimenter, he was the first artist to use an IBM computer to process his Chronograms. In 1961, he composed the first poem created with a computer. He played a decisive role in the birth of the culture magazines 'Il Verri', 'Quindici', 'Alfabeta' and 'Zoooom'. He is the author of the cycle of poems on Miss Richmond and the trilogy of novels La Grande Rivolta (We Want Everything, The Invisibles and The Publisher) on the struggles of the movement in the 1970s. Recently published was Milleuna (with CD), which collects his collaborations with musicians, the electronic multiple novel Tristano and the poetry collection Caosmogonia. Parallel to his literary production, he has developed an intense research in the visual field, documented in the monograph Con gli occhi del linguaggio. He has exhibited in numerous shows in Italy and abroad, in 1993 at the Venice Biennale, and with solo shows at Galleria Mazzoli in Modena, MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome) , Fondazione Mor ra in Naples, Fondazione Mudima in Milan and Galleria San Ludovico in Parma. He participated in La parola e l'arte, MaRT Rovereto; Italics, Palazzo Grassi, Venice; 1988 vent'anni prima vent'anni dopo, Centro per l'arte con- temporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; Futurismo 1909-2009, Palazzo Reale, Milan; Mille e tre, Louvre, Paris, Artissima 2010, Turin. He created the Lala station of the Naples metro and the Incipit stele for the Vignola library. With the video Tristanoil he was present at DOCUMENTA 13 He presented three solo exhibitions at Galleria Michela Rizzo: Bastacani in 2011, Tristanoil in 2013, and La tempesta perfetta in 2015.

Nanni Balestrini (Milan, July 2, 1935 – Rome, May 20, 2019) was an Italian writer and visual artist.

Writer, poet, visual artist, video artist, exponent of the Neo-vanguard during the 70s, Nanni Balestrini is the author of a “counter-historical” romance, an epic form the bottom. He is the first artist that uses an IBM calculator to develop his Chronograms; he practices collage through the union of phrases, titles, words, everything done to break the so-called “typographic cage” and to watch the writing like we watch a picture.

Since the ‘60s, he has been involved in various national cultural turning points. He was one of the main promoters in the Neo-avantgarde movement; he took part in important groups, such as ‘Novissimi’, with his poetry and in the ‘Gruppo 63’ with his art works. 

In 1993, he exposed at the Venice Biennale, in 2012 at Documenta in Kassel. He had solo exhibitions at the Galleria Mazzoli in Modena, at the Galleria Michela Rizzo in Venice, at the Galleria Frittelli in Florence, at the MACRO museum in Rome, at the Fondazione Morra in Naples, at the Fondazione Mudima in Milan, at the Fondazione Marconi in Milan and at the Fondazione Museion in Bolzano. He also took part in numerous collective exhibitions such as La parola e l’arte, Mart, Rovereto (2007); Italics, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2008); 1988 vent'anni prima vent'anni dopo, museum Luigi Pecci in Prato (2008); Futurismo 1909-2009, Palazzo Reale in Milan (2009); Mille e tre, Louvre, Paris (2009); Roma Pop City 60-67, museum MACRO in Rome (2016). 

He designed the Lala Metro Station in Naples and the Stele Incipit for the Vignola Library. Together with Umberto Eco he started publishing the periodical ‘Alfabeta2’, a culture focused one that followed the example of the previous version ‘Alfabeta’. His most recognized writings are the multiple novel Tristano (composed using modern technology) and the trilogy La Grande Rivolta (Vogliamo tutto, Gli invisibili and L’editore), which narrates about the social and political struggles of the ’70s. 

In 2017, he published the second edition of the book covering the summa of his poetic production: L.e Avventure della Signorina Richmond. In the same year, the ZKM (Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe) dedicated to him his own retrospective Poetische Expansionen I.

Recently, Nanni Balestrini’s works have been exposed in the Galleria Michela Rizzo, during the exhibition Dinamogrammi, where artists of the neo-vanguard group, such as Balestrini himself, have been compared with the contemporaneity of Giorgia Fincato and Matthew Attard without a prevarication of the analogic condition on the digital one. Any other information about artists and their works exposed can be found in the section dedicated to the exhibition.