Self-taught, Giovanni Anselmo abandoned painting from the outset to turn towards conceptual research, joining the Arte Povera group in the 1960s. The protagonist of his art – which combines nature, perception, philosophy and the human being – is the concept of energy, which is revealed in the physical laws that govern the universe, such as gravity and magnetism. As he himself states, his works are “the physicalisation of the force of an action, the energy of a situation or event, etc., not the experience of this at the level of annotation or only sign or still life. It is necessary, for example, that the energy of a torsion lives with its true force; it would certainly not live with its form alone. Since energy exists under the most varied appearances and situations, I think that in order to work in this direction there is a need for the most absolute freedom of choice or use of materials” ... “My objects are physical energy; the forces are channelled and directed to a point so that, each time, a situation of unstable equilibrium, of potential movement, of tension, of compression, results, to which the structures and visual elements of my objects are subordinate”.
Giovanni Anselmo (Borgofranco d'Ivrea (Turin, Italy), 1934) lives and works in Turin. His first solo exhibition in 1968 was followed by numerous exhibitions in Italian and international museums and institutions, the most recent of which are: Accademia di San Luca, Rome (2019); Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2017); Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2016); Musée d'art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Étienne, France (2015); Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2013); MAMbo, Bologna (2006); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2005); Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany (2004). In 2019 he was awarded the prestigious Presidente della Repubblica by the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca; in 1990 he received the Leone d'Oro for Painting in Venice. He has participated in the Venice Biennale in 1972, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1990, and 2007 and in Documenta in Kassel in 1972 and 1982.