directed by Mario Ricci
scenes Umberto Bignardi
text by Nanni Balestrini
performer Deborah Hayes, Angela Diana, Claudio Privitera, Marilù Gleyeses, Vivian Lombroso, Tonino Campanelli, Franco Cataldi, Marco Romizi
film by Umberto Bignardi, Giorgio Turi and Roberto Capanna, with the collaboration of Mario Ricci
First performance Rome, Teatro alla Ringhiera, October 26, 1967
Replica Munich Werkraum Theater, 1968
Notes in the margin of a visual and sonic crushing
Illuminazione (‘Illumination’, 1967), directed by Mario Ricci
by Cristina Grazioli
Ricci’s initial impulse to create a performance based on Nanni Balestrini’s text Illuminazione was structurally translated thanks to Umberto Bignardi’s scenographic apparatus; in re-reading the performance now, we should probably consider Bignardi as a co-director of the piece.
The only remaining version we have access to of Balestrini’s text is the version published in Ma Noi Facciamone Un’Altra (Feltrinelli, 1968). Although those present cannot remember with precision how close the theatrical text was to the published one, it’s plausible that the two were not dissimilar. Bignardi recalls that the text had been “crushed” into segments which isolated the single sounds contained in each word. We can imagine that there was a resonance between the process of fragmentation undergone by the text and the process through which the image too appeared fragmented.
Germano Celant observed: “Theatre towards total disappearance, the stroboscopic illumination, the inarticulate language, the mobile scenography, the movements, cut up into pieces, these are all signs which immediately acquire theatrical and visual meaning. Every fragment, moment by moment, becomes the centre of Ricci’s theatrical investigation – the dissolution of the theatre as theatre, the use of rhythmic light as theatre…”1. Ricci himself writes about having never planned to make performances solely with light and sound, and after this performance it appears as if an abstracting tendency was generally abandoned (see our text on Moby Dick).
The collaboration between Mario Ricci andUmberto Bignardi – a sporadic collaboration, by two artists whose work could appear distant in poetics and activities – has its genesis in a convergence between the interests of the two, a convergence already documented in Bignardi’s previous work in 1967. In looking at Bignardi’s works from the following few years, a sense can be gleamed of how essential his collaboration with Ricci was: there is a strong continuity between the stage apparatus of Illuminazione and his later works (and it must be added that more than a stage apparatus, his was a system which structurally determined the piece’s kinetic and visual score).
Documents are published in original language. In case the translation is present, both the original and the translation are published.
The text is not preserved; there is a text by Nanni Balestrini of the same title published the following year (1968). Nanni Balestrini, Lighting / final in Nanni Balestrini, Ma noi facciamone un'altra, Milan, Feltrinelli, 1968, pp. 125-128. Cfr. Altri materiali di contesto. «Illuminazione is really a non-text. It is a matter of placing two different subjects on the column. The first concerns the Cecovian captions of the Cherry Garden. The second is the indications of a booklet concerning chamber gymnastics lessons. Read and recorded in a certain way, the two subjects become the plot for the movements that the actors and props must perform within thirty minutes of the length of the piece», M. Ricci, Il Teatro-Immagine. Spettacoli 1962-1973 Unpublished writing (courtesy of Filippo Ricci). See Focus Mario Ricci.
Germano Celant, Mario Ricci, A partire da zero, «Sipario» December 1970
Umberto Bignardi, Su Illuminazione, in Maurizio Calvesi and Laura Cherubini, Umberto Bignardi. Opere dal 1958 al 1993 Rome, Università degli studi di Roma, 1994
Umberto Bignardi, Laura Cherubini, Intervista, in Maurizio Calvesi and Laura Cherubini, Umberto Bignardi. Opere dal 1958 al 1993 Rome, Università degli studi di Roma, 1994
Laura Cherubini, Umberto Bignardi. Una cronologia ragionata e annotata, in Maurizio Calvesi and Laura Cherubini, Umberto Bignardi. Opere dal 1958 al 1993 Rome, Università degli studi di Roma, 1994
Flaminio Gualdoni, Umberto Bignardi, Una conversazione, in Flaminio Gualdoni, Umberto Bignardi. Opere 1960-2003 Bologna, edizioni Arte & Arte, 2005
Editing of video relating to Illuminazione
from the Umberto Bignardi's historical archive
Rodolfo J. Wilcock, L'ambizione dell'originalità. Illuminazione di Nanni Balestrini, «Sipario», n. 259, 1967
Mario Ricci, Illuminazione. 1967 : Bibliography, edited by Cristina Grazioli
Notes edited by Cristina Grazioli
Nanni Balestrini, Illuminazione/finale, in Nanni Balestrini, Ma noi facciamone un'altra, Milan, Feltrinelli, 1968
Flyer of Umberto Bignardi's exhibition at the “modern art agency”, Naples, Parco Margherita 85 (Lucio Amelio gallery) - Drawings on the movement of man and animals inspired by Muybridge, series started in 1965 in
Umberto Bignardi, Sceet of Motion Vision, in Bruno Di Marino (edited by), Lo sguardo espanso. Cinema d'artista italiano. Un'antologia, DVD + Booklet, Gianluca e Stefano Curti Ediori, Raro video, 2012.
Maurizio Calvesi, Text for the exhibition Lo spazio degli elementi. Fuoco, immagine, acqua terra at the Attic Gallery (June 8, 1967); Bignardi exposes the Rotor, in Germano Celant, em>Identité italienne, Centre Pompidou, 1981
Maurizio Calvesi, Da Giorgione alla pittura al neon, «Quindici», October 1967