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Alberto Garutti

Alberto Garutti

11.09 - 06.11.2021

We cannot look the other way. I really love this “show”, which takes place – finds its place, I daresay its haven-, in Galleria (Minini) as in a natural harbour where we can drop anchor once again. The show has my total partisan support. So much so that when we take it down in two months’ time we will be singing Bella ciao!

Alberto set sail from this pier with his first exhibition in 1976; he later went around the world, docking briefly every now and then to stock up on water and flour, then off he went looking for new adventures.

Of his stopovers, seven of course -as in the Seven Samurai, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Seven Against Thebes, the Seven Hills of Rome- I particularly remember that of 1985… Alberto was left “stranded” in the gallery for a long time due to a memorable snowfall that the Gods of Weather had decided to send our way. The door could not be opened: the snowdrift, over one meter high, had frozen over forcing Garutti to set up a temporary studio while waiting for it to thaw. We had plenty of time to talk about this and that: work, projects, life, personal choices, books, even pipes and the best way to pack them. At the time, we were both happy smokers, carelessly ignoring the dangers of nicotine. Once the ice melted, Alberto set sail almost immediately to make up for lost time, though it was obvious he would have willingly stayed a little longer.

Perhaps as a result of the long “cohabitation”, who knows, we did not see or hear from each other for ages, as if the imprisonment had neutralised the need to be together. Besides, he and his work were going through a time of change: from being intimate, pictorial, secret, it was becoming a large, colder, objective work. Prof. Garutti, one of the young pillars of Brera, was taking over Alberto, preparing a Public Art season that would soon explode with works by Zegna, at Villa Manin, with Tiscali, etc: a new approach to the artwork addressed to the general public.


After a long time, I meet Alberto in Milano and we resume our talk on how to keep a pipe lit. But things are not the same, our lungs are starting to hurt and we hear warning bells that it is time to quit.

Time is truly flying by. I could say the game is virtually over. And yet, he puts forward a project for an exhibition revolving around the present, a series of frames that reflect on the artwork as a critical device for looking at reality, a continuous succession of present moments.

“What are you going to exhibit in the gallery, Alberto?”

The central work of the exhibition is a painting in soft colours, the long canvas turning on rollers and moving very slowly; it takes almost 24 hours to go back to how it was at the beginning. We should put a sofa in front of it, some books, a bottle, a glass, and why not, a pipe; just sit there and think. Think of what? “Of past and future, what’s to be done?” as Mario Merz used to say quoting Lenin; Garutti, on the other hand, suggests “Entering the present”.

After all, many are the questions that an apparently simple job poses. What can be said of a painting with alternating (dark) blue and white stripes? What are we supposed to focus on? Dwell on the optical effects? On how you painted it? The white is smooth and applied horizontally, whereas the blue seems to show more obvious vertical brushstrokes, so much so that we can see the invisible lines left by the bristles. An imperceptible trick perhaps conceived to see who is attentive and who is not?

As a matter of fact, Alberto’s work is an abstract and pictorial device that affords the viewer the experience of the gaze: a few seconds of blinding glare.