Gianfranco Baruchello at Raven Row / London

Originally published in Italian by author Bianca Stoppani. I translated the review into English for Flash Art Issue 318 January – February 2018. 

“Incidents of Lesser Account” is Gianfranco Baruchello’s first solo show in the UK. Curated by Luca Cerizza, it spans the artist’s production between 1959 and 2017, years in which he experimented with various materials and languages: acrylic, enamel, ink on paper, aluminum, plexiglass, film, video, sculpture, assemblage and collage. The title of the show is borrowed from Baruchello’s own work Incidenti di minor conto (1970) and may just turn out to be a word of caution for the viewer. Baruchello fabricates intricate clusters of image-ideas, receptacles for associations and maps yet to come. On monochrome (usually white) backgrounds, he scales and distributes figures such as shreds of human bodies, harlequins, chunks of land, knives, cars, light bulbs, glasses and castles. He then dis-/connects them via infrastructures: rivers, shelving units, arrows, lines, illegible scribbles, streams of thought. Whether those figures are drawn or objets trouvĂ©s, their outlines are often dashed in a manner that leaves their materiality uncertain. Baruchello’s freedom in assembling figures and words not only suggests their ontological equivalence, but it also resonates with his simultaneous use of different media. And this meets the Frankensteinian heart of his practice: film editing. For Baruchello, editing diagrams a nongenealogical mode of production that he adopts as programmatic. Take Uncertain Verification (Disperse Exclamatory Phase) (1964–65), a film produced in collaboration with director Alberto Grifi, in which snippets of Hollywood B-movies are scotch-taped together according to a hypothetical criterion of similarity. The outcome is an anarchic archive of gestures whose narrative potential is put to the test: yet another fabrication wherein Baruchello dissects anatomies and analyzes mechanisms, in an attempt to verify the possibility of incidents, or glitches — those moments of computational serendipity that generate chimeras.

Exhibition view
Gianfranco Baruchello: Incidents of Lesser Account
Photo by Marcus J. Leith