You find yourself ploughing an art-rich soil:
Il campo di grano dell’ Agricola Cornelia Spa.
1973 a young, fairly established artist, coming out of the ’60 social upheaval, tired and disillusioned for what came next (the political terrorism years of Italy) bought a farm on the outskirts of Rome.
Enough land to have a quite new beginning, and a rethinking of directions.
He set off to accomplish artworks as a farmer would.
Starting from duchampian rhetorics he elected farm produce as bona-fide artworks with which reconsider the materiality of art.
Baruchello was indeed quite familiar with Duchamp’s work, as a close friend who regularly discussed art matters while cross-referencing his work with him.
And so Agricola Cornelia was born, an experiment in elevating live mater to the status of ready-made Art.
Sugar beet crops became object of art, so did wheat and sheep, soil and landscape.
Famous experimental films of a crop field made it into the realm of accepted art production, while encounters with beehives made material for investigation about human-nature relationships, and sites for metaphorical reasoning.
At a time when environmental art was entrenched in earthmoving exercises, see Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, such a revolutionary take was regarded as odd to say the least, and was mostly ignored by the art community of Italy in love at the time with Arte Povera and Transavanguardia.
Regardless Baruchello went on, spending 10 years in near isolation, while exhibiting sporadically in France and Germany drawings and assemblages, a more ‘digestible’ practice.
The eclectic artist also made name for himself in the realm of experimental films, widely regarded nowadays as a pioneer of the medium with films like Verification Uncertain.
His writings have been published widely, embracing poetry, philosophy, anthropology and even archeology, in an eclectic mish-mash of ideas, concepts, details, reflections, colours and sounds, animals and plants, traditional knowledge and scientific research.
You are now in -what was- Agricola Cornelia, now donated and reborn as a Foundation devoted at fostering new directions and research about the relationship between society and nature, here to pursue your own investigation, into the work of Baruchello.
The man himself is over 80, yet extremely lucid and witty, a source for endless questions no doubt.
While in this residency you will also relate with a number of fellow researchers unravelling a series of issues, and getting to know the basics of what art and environment means nowadays, in this global urgency to ‘adapt or perish under our own doings’..
You will photograph, you will talk, you will take full advantage of an impressive library, you will listen to the birds and to the soil, you will walk and you will forage, you will get to know what is what here, and at the same time offer what you know yourself.
Finally, you will FaceBook, highjaking the everpresent social network site and, in blatant defiance of the limits of the medium, open profiles for a number of species, the most common ones, the ones you reader know for sure, they are the one which grow in your parks, along the roads, by the creeks, in your garden, the one which don’t need planting.
Nature’s spontaneous answer to us, our concrete and our need to address disconnection, look down reader, nature is there, it’s ready-made.