Foto: Lorenzo Palmieri. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano.

High School

Thematic Activities: Infinite transformations

“....the Illuminating Gas” by Cerith Wyn Evans

Runs from 31 October 2019 to 26 July 2020

Introduction
“.…the Illuminating Gas” is the largest exhibition ever set up by the Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans (born 1958 in Llanelli, Wales, United Kingdom; lives and works in London), whose installations employ a wide variety of different materials – mirrors, neon lights, plants, fireworks, projectors, strobe lighting—to create works of either tangible or ephemeral nature devised to prompt reflections on the evocative power of art and its capacity to generate clashes between different meanings, and to raise questions on the borders between the visible and the invisible, between material and immaterial. His works inquire into the phenomenon of synesthesia, and dovetail visual with aural stimuli coupled with movement, often tapping into a repertoire of cultural references that span the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and cover literature, music, philosophy, photography, poetry, art history, astronomy, and science. The outcome is a complex stratification of meanings, associations and interpretations that challenge the observer to decipher the dynamic system before them: Evans’s creations generate multiple scenarios, short-circuits, and juxtapositions of meaning that open new perspectives on our concepts of reality.

Focus areas
• Art history
• Sciences

Activities
The entire excursion takes place in the installation itself and will draw the students’ attention to numerous quotes and cross-references to other works by Cerith Wyn Evans—some evident, some less obvious—so as to highlight the complex overlapping meanings, associations, and interpretation that criss-cross through the exhibition, in both its underlying design and its layout.
Among the key figures from the last century’s art world are Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) and Marcel Broodthaers (1924–76), Morse Code, Noh theatre and Japanes culture in general, whereas movies and astronomy are among the various areas of study that visitors are invited to investigate during their excursion.

Thematic Activities: Anselm Kiefer and Multi-material Painting

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
Five large paintings from between 2009 and 2013, on display for the first time, enrich and expand The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, the permanent work by Anselm Kiefer, bringing new meaning to it by creating an interaction between the installation and the new paintings. An in-depth analysis of Anselm Kiefer’s artistic practice reflects on the core aspects of his work, including the relationship between man and nature, and references to the history of ideas and Western philosophy.

Focus Areas

• History of Art
• Italian and Foreign Literature
• History
• Religion

Activities
The course will consist of two parts: the first in the form of a brief face-to-face lesson, with images showing the use of materials in Anselm Kiefer’s art from the 1970s onwards. In the second, the children will be accompanied by the arts tutors around the exhibition to observe and analyse the five paintings in relation to the Heavenly Palaces. At the end of the activity, they will be given a small fascicle with the key notions explained during the lecture.

One, No One, a Hundred Thousand

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
In The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 Anselm Kiefer uses several objects imbued with a value that goes beyond what they represent: the tower, the book, the ship and numbered glass shards. The latter help us discover the star, the recurrent element in our daily life, geographical and political history, and – above all – religions. We will see how a seemingly commonplace image can hold countless meanings that are universal and subjective, immediate and hidden, shared and personal.
We will learn that each object can invoke an invisible world that goes beyond its mere representation: form and content, significant and significance, do not always coincide. The symbol is something different from what it appears to be, the visible part of that which is not present.

Focus Areas

• History
• Italian
• Religion
• History of art
• Philosophy

Educational Objectives
The young people will be asked to reflect on the multiplicity of senses that an image contains, learning to go beyond appearance to glean the true value that is concealed behind forms. They will understand the difference between sign and symbol, and the fact that, at times, they can be universal and shared by all, whereas at other times they are strictly subjective.

Activities
Starting with the recognition and interpretation of the symbols in The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, they will ponder the broader concept of symbols and the contexts in which they are used. Therefore, starting from the assumption that any daily object can remain such, but can also acquire a myriad of meanings, the young people will be asked to choose an object, form, fruit or word that best represents them, to which they will attribute a content and meaning that will make them their own personal symbol, on a strictly subjective level.