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Artist, 02 October 2018

Occupying the land 1/2
Gianfranco Baruchello

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Summary

At a time when many of us are discovering the radical occupation of zones à defendre (ZAD) in recent months, more and more exhibitions, from London (Raven Row) to Trente (Mart) and Nice (Villa Arson), feature pieces by Gianfranco Baruchello, an unconventional artist whose most original work of art was to occupy several hectares of land not far from Rome between 1973 and 1981. There he founded an agricultural company called Agricola Cornelia S.p.A, which was, for him, a work of art in its own right. Conceived and established during the Years of Lead, a time of radical political violence and upheaval in Italy, Baruchello makes a case for the “right to squat and cultivate”. And yet, this did not stand in the way of his developing more traditional works of art on the side (paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs or videos) inspired by his farm life. Agricola Cornelia still resounds today as an artwork rich with esthetic meaning and political dedication, one that brings particular attention to our immediate surroundings.

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