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Gianfranco Baruchello

Gianfranco Baruchello
Psicoenciclopedia possibile


Psicoenciclopedia possibile is devised as though it were a volume of the Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani, but it isn’t” (G. Baruchello, 2020)

The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève is pleased to present, for the first time outside Italy, Gianfranco Baruchello’s Psicoenciclopedia possibile.

Gianfranco Baruchello (1924, Italy) is an artist, filmmaker and writer who has experimented with the transversality of artistic languages since the late 1950s. He has in particular created short-circuits between apparently irreconcilable domains and fields like art and agriculture, or the regulations of governance of a fictitious company and economics. His painting contends with uncertainty and uses white as a field of the possible. In these spaces, he imagines the coexistence of essences of images and words, which he organises in all directions. Thus, writing is present in one way or another in all his practice and constitutes the very essence of the work presented at the Project Space (4th floor).

The Psicoenciclopedia possibile is an impressive and complex project that Baruchello began in 2017 and finished in 2020. It is a sort of deconstruction of the encyclopaedia system presented in the form of an imposing book of 816 pages. Commissioned and published by the Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, founded by Giovanni Treccani, the book in fact subverts the structure used by an encyclopaedia and creates a complex system that links, through unexpected convergences, 1200 entries (in the first section) and 200 plates (in the second). The entries are taken from texts (some published, some not), notes and transcriptions of Baruchello’s dreams, while the images are the result of a long process of selection and editing from various sources.
Baruchello thus puts to the test, this time in a book, the systems of organization (causes, effects, narrative sequences, links) of seeing and knowing. Like in all his other works, from painting to objects and even installations, the encyclopedia also dismantles the most solid and anchored links to venture into the uncertain and the possible, into the “pleasure of thinking”, by means of an ars combinatoria that does not exclude the different or insignificant. Overall, the artist analyses the 21st century, entering into the multiplicity of possible viewpoints and pointing up the fact that, in the end, knowledge is something subjective and always open to interpretation.

In parallel, the Cinema Dynamo is showing a series of films made by Baruchello between 1968 and 2008 on the subject of processes of classification, archiving and inventory, the editing of which has similarities with the procedure used in the Psicoenciclopedia.

Lastly, as an adjunct to the exhibition, the Genevan artist Ambroise Tièche — who is also the author of an encyclopaedic work, to which he has devoted more than ten years: the Dictionnaire encyclopédique lacunaire — has organised a programme of performances and readings that “will give a voice” to the Psicoenciclopedia, with the participation of Cléa Chopard, Alix Debraine, Gilles Furtwängler, Federico Nicolao and Leonardo Pellicanò.

The exhibition project has been conceived as an organic whole, embracing a catalogue, the exhibition at Project Space, the Cinema Dynamo film programme, and the readings and performances aimed at celebrating, in spite of its obvious and — perhaps — necessary incompleteness, this umpteenth colossal effort by this legendary Italian artist.

This exhibition is part of a cycle of presentations of the Psicoenciclopedia possible undertaken by the Fondazione Baruchello, which benefits from the support of the Italian Council (7th Edition, 2019), program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture. After Geneva, Baruchello’s Encyclopaedia will be presented at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky – Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (25 September–24 October) and at CIMA in New York (6–12 December).

A first edition of the Psiconeciclopedia possibile will be published in French for the occasion. It will include an extract translated from the entries as well as essays that offer a French-speaking public a fundamental introduction to Gianfranco Baruchello’s colossal project. A pocket edition of the Psiconeciclopedia possibile will also be published by the Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana founded by Giovanni Treccani to mark this cycle of presentations and exhibitions. These two editions will both be available at the Centre’s Bookshop.

This exhibition will is curated by Andrea Bellini and Carla Subrizi, with the collaboration of Ambroise Tièche.

Cover image: Psicoenciclopedia possible de Gianfranco Baruchello.

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