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  • Exhibition
  • 14 March 2017 - 23 July 2017

Drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Marcella Beccaria, Elena Volpato, Elif Kamisli
Scientific consultation by Vittorio Gallese, Michael Taussig


“For as long as we live, we’re alive. Color is life.”
(Etel Adnan, September 29, 2016)

GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea


March 14 – July 23, 2017

The exhibition L’emozione dei COLORI nell’arte will be presented in the Manica Lunga of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea and at the GAM Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Turin. The public display includes an extraordinary collection of over 400 works by 125 artists and other practitioners from around the world, dating from the late 17th century to today.

“Over the past century, numerous exhibitions on color have been organized, starting from perception theories that became popular in the 1960s. This type of approach is derived from a universalistic notion of perception and its presumed objective value, quite distant from today’s awareness of the complexity of meanings inherent to color which is closer to Goethe than to Newton,” states Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.

The exhibition investigates the use of color in art through artistic movements and research that stand apart from canonical histories on color and abstraction, with multiple accounts relating to memory, politics, spirituality, storytelling, psychology and synesthesia. Artworks come from museum collections such as the Reina Sofia in Madrid, MNAM Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Paul Klee Zentrum in Bern, Munchmuseet in Oslo, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Tate Britain in London, and the Dia Foundation in New York, as well as from the collections of both the GAM-Torino and the Castello di Rivoli, and numerous private collections.

The precedents of modern abstract art are investigated through works by the followers of Hindu Tantric art (17th century) and the Theosophists (19th century) who used forms-color as sources for meditating and the immaterial transmission of thought. The starting point of theosophical abstraction is tied to the story of Annie Besant (1847–1933), who, circa 1904, wrote, “…to paint in earth’s dull colors the forms clothed in the living light of other worlds is a hard and thankless task; so much the more gratitude is due to those who have attempted it. They needed colored fire, and had only ground earths.”

By analyzing the different color theories that gradually took shape in the turbulent socio-political context that characterized the 20th century, L’emozione dei COLORI nell’arte reflects on a perspective that considers light, its vibrations and the world of emotions, while challenging the standardization of the use of color in the modern age (synthetic colors) and the digital era (RGB colors offered by various online palettes), a leveling that considerably reduces our ability to distinguish colors in the real world.

The group exhibition covers the history, inventions, experience and use of color in modern and contemporary Western art and non-Western cultures present in today’s world. Through a multitude of accounts and presentations of important works of art, the use of color from various points of view is explored, including philosophical, biological, anthropological and neuroscientific perspectives.

On display works by:  Anonymous Tantra drawings, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, William Turner, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, Michel Eugène Chevreul, Antonio Mancini, Édouard Manet, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Annie Besant, Lea Porsager, Erin Hayden, Stanislao Lepri, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Piet Mondrian, Gabriele Münter, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Edvard Munch, Hans Richter, Henri Matisse, Leo Gestel, Luigi Russolo, František Kupka, Giacomo Balla, Hilma af Klint, Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Fortunato Depero, Sonia Delaunay, Oskar Fischinger, Francis Picabia, Alexander Calder, Josef Albers, Mario Nigro, Giulio Turcato, Nicolas De Staël, Hans Hofmann, Mark Rothko, Pinot Gallizio, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Paul Guiragossian, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Atsuko Tanaka, Shōzō Shimamoto, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Enrico Castellani, Piero Dorazio, Carla Accardi, Victor Vasarely, Tancredi Parmeggiani, Giulio Paolini, Mario Schifano, Alejandro Puente, Sergio Lombardo, Estuardo Maldonado, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Luis Tomasello, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Kenny Williams Tjampitjinpa, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Arman, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Alighiero Boetti, Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, James Turrell, Jordan Belson, James Whitney, John Latham, Pietro Caracciolo / Agata Marta Soccini / Ruben Spini, Gustav Metzger, Claude Bellegarde, Gruppo MID, Rupprecht Geiger, Piero Gilardi, Pino Pascali, Helio Oiticica, Raymundo Amado, André Cadere, Franz Erhard Walther, Bas Jan Ader, Lawrence Weiner, Gilberto Zorio, Giovanni Anselmo, Lothar Baumgarten, Mel Bochner, John Baldessari, Robert Barry, Sigmar Polke, Gotthard Graubner, Giorgio Griffa, Channa Horwitz, Nicola De Maria, Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Ettore Spalletti, Haim Steinbach, Wolfgang Laib, Katharina Fritsch, David Hammons, Irma Blank, Thomas Ruff, Damien Hirst, Liam Gillick, Jim Lambie, Arturo Herrera, Olafur Eliasson, Walid Raad & The Atlas Group, Edi Rama, Anri Sala, Ryan Gander, Ed Atkins, Hito Steyerl, Theaster Gates, Etel Adnan, Eugénie Paultre, Giuliano Dal Molin, Cheyney Thompson, Ye Xianyan, Maria Morganti, Mika Tajima, Basim Magdy, Rose Shakinovsky, Simon Starling, Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Lara Favaretto, Liu Wei, Kerstin Brätsch, Camille Henrot, Heather Phillipson, Otobong Nkanga, Bracha Ettinger, Vittorio Gallese & Martina Ardizzi / Università di Parma.


tel. +39 011.4429518 – +39 011.4436907 email:

Opening hours: tuesday - sunday: 10.00-18.00 closed monday
Tickets: Full price 10,00€ Reduced price 8,00€ Reduced for Castello di Rivoli ticket holders 8,00€
Free admission: Abbonamento Musei e Torino Card


CASTELLO DI RIVOLI - MUSEO D’ARTE CONTEMPORANEA - Piazza Mafalda di Savoia - 10098 Rivoli (Torino)
tel. +39 011.9565222 - 280 fax +39 011.9565230 email:
Opening hours: tuesday- friday: 10.00-17.00 saturday - sunday: 10.00-19.00 closed monday
Tickets: Full price 8,50€ Reduced 6,50€ Reduced for GAM ticket holders 6,50€
Free admission only tuesday and Abbonamento Musei e Torino Card