2009 – 2015
Thunderstorms (Temporali) is an installation composed of 200 halogen lamps that light up whenever lightning strikes somewhere in Italy.
In order to achieve the work the artist has relied on the consulting of SIRF – CESI (Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano) and – starting from 2020 – of Meteorage, whose sensors detect all the lightning bolts that strike the national territory.
Though the functioning of the work is based on advanced technologies, the installation is not sophisticated in form, but quite basic and essential. The viewer’s attention is thus drawn to the wonder, not to the form but to the event.
First shown in the Cappella delle Gianelline, the former chapel of Fondazione Remotti in Camogli (GE), the work has met with its most extensive installation at the MAXXI in Rome, while the museum was still being completed. In fact, it was the first work to “enter” the museum; the luminous event was visible from the outside, through the glazings. “I imagined the room becoming a sensitive place – the artist says – capable of completely losing its physical dimensions and its relationship with time: it has been transformed into a sort of environment of mediation between sky and city, a device capable of putting Rome into relation with all of Italy”.
The project was communicated to the general public through a caption: “In a room of the new MAXXI museum the lights will vibrate whenever lightning strikes in Italy. This work is dedicated to all those who will think of the sky when they pass there”. The text was published on the first page of the free City newspaper on the opening day of the project, and on a banner hung along the edge of the museum construction site. An integral part of the project, the caption as thus transformed into a device capable of establishing a dense pattern of correspondences between spectator, museum, city and sky.
Finally, a map of thunderstorms could be seen online, showing the movements of the phenomenon in real time.
The work attempts to reveal the generating energy that art shares only with nature. “What counts most in art – the artist says – is the mysterious nature of the visual event, and Temporali speaks the enigmatic language of light and of the primordial forces that cause it to appear”. The museum presents itself, then, as one of the rare contexts in the contemporary city where it is still possible to lose oneself in the contemplation of “mysterious” energies. “With this work, I wanted to construct a narrative – the artist continues – capable of summing up the relationship between art and nature, a restitution of the cultural and ethical function the museum as an institution has had since its birth”.
Temporali was later installed at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, in the form of a chandelier composed of over 1000 bulbs. As happened with the work at the MAXXI, the caption was published on the front page of the Metro free-press newspaper.