Giovanni Anselmo (born 1934, Borgofranco d’Ivrea), divides his time between Turin and the volcanic island of Stromboli. It was while walking on Mount Stromboli at dawn in 1965 that he was suddenly struck by the realisation that he was merely a tiny detail in the vast continuum of universal energy.
This epiphany was to inspire his many works investigating the finite and the infinite, the microcosm and the macrocosm, and the elemental laws and forces of nature - gravity, tension, magnetism and energy. A wide range of organic and inorganic materials including vegetables, water, electricity, granite, iron and plastic are brought together in combinations that strikingly demonstrate these forces.
In Torsion, 1968, for example, a leather loop set in a concrete block is tightly twisted and fixed in place with a wooden bar. This work literally traps energy. Similarly, in Untitled, 1967, a large sheet of Perspex is held taut in a curved shape by an iron fastening. Another presentation of tension and gravity is provided by Untitled 1968 – also known as Eating Structure. In this work, a head of lettuce is squashed between a large standing block of granite and a smaller one, secured by a copper wire. If the lettuce is allowed to dry out, the wire will lose tension and the small stone will fall. The sculpture must therefore be constantly ‘fed’ with new lettuces. Anselmo also works with artist’s books, drawings, photography and slide projections.