Gianfranco Baruchello (1924) is a wide-ranging experimenter involved in numerous artistic projects. In 1973 he founded ‘Agricola Cornelia S.p.A.’, a normally registered company, situated in via di Santa Cornelia in the countryside outside Rome, with the declared aim of ‘working the land’. This long-lasting activity – reappraising the myths and traditions of agriculture – was designed to investigate the value of use and the value of exchange of the artwork when compared to agricultural produce. As stated in the volume of the same name “a middle-aged European painter goes with his family to live in the country not far from the capital with the idea of reappraising certain myths, producing basic foodstuffs, raising animals, farming the LAND and, obviously, continuing his work as an artist in such a way that each of these experiments might be simultaneous, interchangeable with and overlap into the others.”[1] It was in this period that he produced heterogeneous and experimental works linked to the above-mentioned themes. Il grano, 1975 (16 mm, black and white, silent, 8’/loop; Fondazione Baruchello, Rome; courtesy Massimo De Carlo, Milano / Londra / Hong Kong) is part of a group of films drawing on his observation of farm work and nature. The film is characterised by a fixed film camera and the total elimination of narration. For a month, from May to June 1975, for a minute every day, Baruchello documented the various stages of growth, transformation and ripening of the wheat, observing the weather conditions and their consequences on the crop. The film focuses on the life cycles of nature, their time and duration; it also records what always seems identical or irrelevant yet which actually changes and transforms constantly, following the slow cycles of nature. For these reasons, The Shit Museum considers Gianfranco Baruchello one of the artists most in harmony with the philosophy of the Museum and its founder, Gianantonio Locatelli.

Gaspare Luigi Marcone (October 2017)


[1] Cf. G. Baruchello, Agricola Cornelia S.p.A. 1973-81, Exit Edizioni, s.l., 1981, p. 10.

Courtesy Fondazione Baruchello, Rome / Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong