Turin, Italy's Luci d'artista turns 25: contemporary art Christmas event returns

The now traditional Luci d'Artista event in Turin is turning 25 years old: the greatest contemporary artists, from Michelangelo Pistoletto to Luigi Mainolfi, from Gilberto Zorio to Joseph Kosuth, are returning to grace the city with their luminous works again this Christmas.

Luci d’artista, the event that every year brings to Turin the works made of light by the most important Italian and foreign artists on the international scene, is twenty-five years old. The project, created in 1998 at the behest of the City of Turin, has pioneered an innovative contemporary art exhibition itinerary involving dozens of artists. The artist lights were born as unprecedented illuminations to celebrate the Christmas holidays and immediately became the object of an ambitious goal: to create a public collection of contemporary art installations, an expression of “a high culture capable of communicating with everyone,” as Fiorenzo Alfieri , who was its creator, stated. This 25th edition is dedicated to him, for which the City of Turin wanted to create three new works, created by Giorgio Griffa, Renato Leotta and Grazia Toderi thanks to the help of valuable partners and the generosity of the artists. The event is a project of the City of Turin, implemented by Fondazione Torino Musei and in collaboration with Fondazione per la Cultura. It benefits from the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo and Fondazione CRT. Main sponsor IREN S.p.A. New partners: Consulta per la Valorizzazione dei Beni Artistici e Culturali di Torino, Unione Industriali Torino, Il Mercato Centrale Torino, Cultura Italiae, Saganaki.

The light installations, 26 lights of which 17 will be set up in the city center and 9 in the other Circumscriptions, will be visible from October 27, 2022 to January 8, 2023. However, the open-air museum will experience a reduction in hours this year. In fact, the City, which over the years has paid special attention to the sustainability of the event by making more and more use of innovative systems and low-impact LED lights, in the 25th edition has decided to make a more sensitive commitment to the issue of consumption as well. So from Sunday to Thursday the installations will turn off at 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday at midnight, a time that will be maintained over the Christmas and New Year period, from December 19 to January 2, 2023. Luci d’Artista since 2018 also offers the educational-cultural project Illuminating Encounters with Contemporary Art, a public program that aims to enhance the luminous works of the ’Open-Air Museum’ through the promotion of educational and training projects that bring people closer to the languages of contemporary art.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Amare le differenze -  ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino - foto di Max Chicco
Michelangelo Pistoletto, Amare le differenze - ©Luci d’Artista - City of Turin - photo by Max Chicco
Vasco Are, Vele di Natale - ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino - foto di Alberto Ramella
Vasco Are, Christmas Sails - ©Luci d’Artista - City of Turin - photo by Alberto Ramella
Rebecca Horn, Piccoli spiriti blu -  ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino - foto di Alberto Ramella
Rebecca Horn, Little blue spirits - ©Luci d’Artista - City of Turin - photo by Alberto Ramella
Mario Merz, Il volo dei Numeri © Luci d’Artista - foto di Max Chicco
Mario Merz, The Flight of Numbers © Luci d’Artista - photo by Max Chicco
Luigi Nervo, Vento solare - ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino - foto di Luisa Cicero
Luigi Nervo, Vento solare - ©Luci d’Artista - City of Turin - photo by Luisa Cicero

The new works

Generously donated by Giorgio Griffa, AZZURROGIALLO is placed in the Piazza Cavour Gardens and is created as part of Cultura Italiae’s “дети - Bambini” project. It is a suspended installation that appears as a stream of light energy composed of myriads of lights in shades of blue, purple, green and yellow. The work integrates with the surrounding nature, embracing empty spaces and arboreal presences, and winds as if suspended between earth and sky, next to the Niccolò Tommaseo school, among the first established in Turin, in 1877. The passage covered by illuminations evokes van Gogh’sStarry Night, as in his other pictorial cycles in which the analytical research on the sign is charged with references to the great masters of art of all times.

Also as part of Cultura Italiae’s “дети - Bambini” project, a light installation regulated by the moon stands out on the roof of the Sant’Anna Obstetrical Gynecological Hospital in Turin, in Piazza Polonia and at the entrance to Corso Spezia. It is I, I was born here by Renato Leotta, a prominent artist of the new generation. The work is a living light that is sensitive to the energy changes that govern anyone’s feelings and life, starting with the artist himself who chooses to share his moods with those who pass by and observe it, in an ideal dialogue. In fact, the brightness can be changed remotely. Every evening, just as the moon always shines differently on nature, Leotta gives the statement “I, was born here.” ever-changing shades of emotional intensity. The work was donated by the artist and created thanks to the contribution of the Consulta per la Valorizzazione dei Beni Artistici e Culturali di Torino and Unione Industriali Torino.

Finally, visible in Piazza della Repubblica, on the dome of the Mauritian Basilica rises a large question mark ...?..., a sign understandable in any language, animated by a shimmering light. It is the work of Grazia Toderi created thanks to the contribution of Il Mercato Centrale Torino. It is not a motionless question, but is renewed with every glance. Facing the square and the market, the city and each of us, it stands out in the night inviting us to maintain a “luminous doubt.” Grazia Toderi is one of the most representative artists of the research started in Italy in the 1990s and focused on the image. She works with drawing, light, photography and video. She has exhibited in major museums and won international recognition, including the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1999.

Piero Gilardi, Migrazioni (Climate Change) - ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino - foto di Ramella&Giannese
Piero Gilardi, Migrations (Climate Change) - ©Luci d’Artista - City of Turin - photo by Ramella&Giannese
Luigi Mainolfi, Lui e l'arte ©Luci d’Artista - foto di Max Chicco
Luigi Mainolfi, He and Art ©Luci d’Artista - photo by Max Chicco
Giulio Paolini, Palomar - ©Luci d’Artista - Foto di Mauro Donato
Giulio Paolini, Palomar - ©Luci d’Artista - photo by Mauro Donato
Vanessa Safavi, Ice Cream Light - ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino
Vanessa Safavi, Ice Cream Light - ©Luci d’Artista - City of Turin
Gilberto Zorio, Luce Fontana Ruota - ©Luci d’Artista - Città di Torino - foto di Max Chicco
Gilberto Zorio, Light Fountain Wheel - ©
Luci d’Artista -
City of Turin - photo by Max Chicco

The other works

Cosmometries by Mario Airò in Piazza Carignano, symbolic and geometric patterns projected onto the urban pavement; Vele di Natale (Christmas Sails ) by Vasco Are in Piazza Foroni, district market area (Circoscrizione 6); Once again made with eco-sustainable materials and low-energy light sources by Piedmontese artist Valerio Berruti in Galleria Subalpina; Volo su... by Francesco Casorati, a red flex-neon thread supported by geometric silhouettes of fairy-tale birds in the pedestrian area of Via Di Nanni (Circoscrizione 3); Kingdom of Flowers: Cosmic Nest of All Souls by Nicola De Maria, street lamps transformed into luminous flowers in Piazza Carlina; Uniting Energy Expands in Blue by Marco Gastini, an intrigue of blue and red symbols and graphic signs that meet on the ceiling in the Umberto I Gallery; Planetarium by Carmelo Giammello, 14 constellations drawn with fluorescent neon, globes and luminous dots, following the pattern of an astronomical map that, between scientific fidelity and creative invention, cancels the physical distance between man and the stars, in Via Roma; Migration (Climate Change) by Piero Gilardi, 12 silhouettes of pelicans applied to a vertically suspended net that gradually light up and turn off, following a control algorithm in Galleria San Federico; Jeppe Hein ’s The Benches - Illuminated Benches in Piazza Risorgimento (Circoscrizione 4); Rebecca Horn ’s Little Blue Spirits at Monte dei Cappuccini (Circoscrizione 8); Culture=Capital by Alfredo Jaar in Piazza Carlo Alberto, a luminous culture=capital equation that is an invitation to think of creativity and knowledge shared by all citizens as the true heritage of a country; Doppio Passaggio (Turin) by Joseph Kosuth on the Vittorio Emanuele I bridge, two excerpts from texts by Friedrich Nietzsche and Italo Calvino; Luì e l’arte di andare nel bosco by Luigi Mainolfi, the narration of a fairy tale that extends as a sequence of luminous phrases in Via Carlo Alberto; Il volo dei numeri by Mario Merz on the dome of the Mole Antonelliana, a luminous signal given by the symbolic value of the sequence of the Fibonacci series where each number is the sum of the two previous ones; Concerto di parole by Mario Molinari in Piazza Polonia (Circoscrizione 8); Vento solare by Luigi Nervo in Piazzetta Mollino, a large luminous silhouette linked to fantastic cosmology; L’amore non fa rumore by Luca Pannoli at the Murazzi del Po; Palomar by Giulio Paolini in Via Po, an ancient astronomical atlas studded with planets inscribed in geometric shapes that culminates in the profile of an acrobat balancing on a circle; Michelangelo Pistoletto ’s Amare le differenze in Piazza della Repubblica - facade of the covered market Antica Tettoia dell’Orologio (Circoscrizione 7); Tobias Rehberger’s My Noon , a large luminous clock marking the hours in binary format Piazza Bodoni; Vanessa Safavi ’s Ice Cream Light in Piazza Livio Bianco (Circoscrizione 2); We by Luigi Stoisa, red figures intertwining in Via Garibaldi; Fountain Wheel Light by , a rotating star evoking a mill placed in the pond of Italia ’61 in Corso Unità d’Italia (Circoscrizione 8), which this year will be lit from Dec. 8.

Turin, Italy's Luci d'artista turns 25: contemporary art Christmas event returns
Turin, Italy's Luci d'artista turns 25: contemporary art Christmas event returns

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