Pollution 1972 – Per una nuova estetica dell’inquinamento

In 1972 in Piazza Santo Stefano in Bologna, the Iris Ceramica Foundation and its artistic director Gianni Sassi invited 26 artists to participate in an exhibition titled Pollution: a revolutionary artistic event that aims to raise awareness and foster thought on the issue of pollution.


For the occasion, the square was paved in 33 x 33 cm ceramics, each reproducing a lump of earth: the same image was also on the cover of the record Pollution by Franco Battiato, released in the same year, and the Italian singer performed there on the last day of the exhibition.


On this “artificial field”, the artists were asked to propose ideas and ways of managing a “mutant nature”, deformed by pollution and human action.


The theory behind the exhibition came from the debate around the capitalist model, the thoughts on the consequences of a sick system and the first awareness of what pollution was triggering.


Gianni Sassi called for support for the organisation from art historians Daniela Palazzoli and Luca Maria Venturi and architect Carlo Burkhart, examining a specific aspect of the discussion, concerning the ecological swindle, starting from Sassi’s own theoretical framework, in relation to which he asked the invited artists to intervene critically. 

Together with Ableo, Vincenzo Agnetti, Agostino Bonalumi, Mario Ceroli, Federico Chiecchi, Lucio Del Pezzo, Amalia Del Ponte, Bruno Gambone, Piero Gilardi, Ugo La Pietra, Armando Marrocco, Mambor, Gino Marotta, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Antonio Paradiso, Gianfranco Pardi, Claudio Parmiggiani, Andrea Raccagni, Piero Raffaelli, Gianni Ruffi, Gianni-Emilio Simonetti, Ufo and Concetto Pozzati, Laura Grisi also participated in the project with Sound-Cassette (1971) magnetic tapes collecting a series of sound recordings of various microsounds of nature.


The sound is used as documentation of a physical reality: the natural elements are explored through the recording of a particular sonic moment. The research is a study on the variations in resemblance, and on the processes of mathematical measurement that contain a constant and a variable, in this case focusing on the minimum differences between sounds produced by an identical element under different conditions.


Laura Grisi’s research (Rodi, 1939 – Roma, 2017) existed outside the categories and definitions of her time. Though her work reveals affinities with the optical investigations of Kinetic Art, with Pop Art, the industrial materials and geometry of American Minimal Art, and with Arte Povera, she shaped an independent position for herself, whose nomadism is now the central focus of a rediscovery.


The exhibition Cosmogonie (Cosmogonies) gravitates around the work of Laura Grisi, observing it from a contemporary perspective, also thanks to the juxtaposition with works by artists such as Leonor Antunes, Nancy Holt and Liliane Lijn.