Extract from the catalogue - Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli

by Paolo Colombo
In many ways Torino is as far as one can possibly imagine from Los Angeles: it is a foggy, melancholic
city bearing the signs of long-ago royal splendour and more recent industrial wealth. Built on the
foundations of a Roman military camp, with long, perpendicular avenues and large piazzas that
hosted regal parades, it has nothing in common with the democratic urban sprawl, wide open spaces,
and canyons of Los Angeles.
Torino is a northern city – serious as only the North of the South can be; it recalls for me Thessaloniki,
for example, the archetypal city of ghosts.
Even on its most glorious summer days, the sunlight falls diagonally; as a child in Torino I used to think
of it as a ‘sad’ light. I felt my hometown was a city for the winter, at its best cloaked in fog, rain, or
Los Angeles has the sunlight of Greece, white and blinding on sunny days, and vegetation similar to
that of the Mediterranean: hibiscus, cypress, bougainvillea. I remember longing for that light and
vegetation as a child.
One of the first things you told me when I met you was to go and visit the Museum of Jurassic
Technology, in Culver City, not far from where your studio is today.
I did take your advice, and I found a world not so far from Torino’s wonderful small museums: a love
for the unusual, a sharp focus on anthropological issues, and a predilection for material culture. A few
years after seeing a stimulating exhibition on superstition, I still say the words “rabbits, rabbits,
rabbits” before going to sleep the last evening of the month, followed by “hares, hares, hares,” as the
first words of the new month – an invocation that is supposed to bring good luck. (It does.)
I have since been aware of the similarities between the Museum of Jurassic Technology and many of
my favourite hometown institutions. So it made sense to ask you to choose an ideal collection from
Torino’s museums in relation to the recurring themes in your work. I thought you would find
treasures you would like.
July 18, 2015