The meticulous conceptual research of Andrea Galvani (Verona, 1973) consists of photography, video, drawing, sculpture, neon, performances and large installations that interact with the exhibition spaces. At the Mattatoio in Rome, the environmental installation La sottigliezza delle cose elevate (The subtlety of elevated things) will be open until 25 October 2020, part of the three-year Dispositivi sensibili (Sensitive Devices) program conceived by Angel Moya Garcia to explore the confluence of methods and aesthetics of the visual and performing arts through a representative model in constant evolution.
The title of the exhibition is taken from the grimoire The book of the sun of gnosis and the subtleties of elevated things (1225 A.C.) by Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-Buni, a well-known Arab mathematician and philosopher, written in a period in which science, mathematics and magic were closely linked, and scientific research, consisting of observation, calculations, and analysis of phenomena was described through logic and mysticism. Mattatoio therefore becomes not only a container of mathematical languages in continuous evolution and expansion, but also the place of the intellectual, physical and psychological commitment hidden in every calculation process, an architectural space in which Galvani focuses the human need to measure, decipher and understanding the unknown by also giving shape to the abstract.
In the first part of the exhibition, The Subtleties of Elevated Things, Andrea Galvani invited a group of students, graduates and doctoral students in various scientific disciplines at La Sapienza University in Rome to develop numerical calculations and analyzes using the exhibition space “as an open university laboratory and carrying out a daily work of study on a monumental scale”. The artist thus creates a live performance in which the uncertainty and intellectual effort of continuous numerical processing, developed by the researchers directly on the walls of the exhibition space, are exhibited when they are normally concealed, discounted.
This stratification of knowledge culminates in the second part of the exhibition, Instruments for Inquiring into the Wind and the Shaking Earth, an imposing installation that occupies the last room formed by neon sculptures of the equations that have changed and revolutionized our understanding of reality, such as Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, the Doppler effect, the Calculus Newtonian equation and others, which produce a labyrinth of illuminated numbers that perfectly fill the exhibition space and describe in detail the symmetry of physical laws.
The two parts of the exhibition are complementary: if on the one hand there is The Subtleties of Elevated Things which is the spokesperson for incompleteness, slowness, a sequence of hardships, uncertainties, failures and sporadic and temporary successes, on the other Instruments for Inquiring into the Wind and the Shaking Earth asserts and monumentalizes the certainties of scientific research, raising a result that becomes a paradigm that illuminates and accelerates. Andrea Galvani’s intent with this monumental work is to honor the power of human knowledge, but at the same time highlight its limits and the constant desire to understand the mysteries that surround us and to decode the abstract, delimiting a perimeter of a very specific action capable of opening up and generating itself.
Giulia De Sanctis
Andrea Galvani. La sottigliezza delle cose elevate
23 July – 25 October 2020
Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4 Roma
For all the images: Andrea Galvani. La sottigliezza delle cose elevate. Mattatoio, Roma; Cover image: Andrea Galvani, Instruments for Inquiring into the Wind and the Shaking Earth, 2019. Audemars Piguet Prize