Franca Ghitti. Altri alfabeti

Gallerie d’Italia, Milan

“By Altri Alfabeti I mean the inventory of signs, notches, knots and cup marks I use in my sculptures, aware that they form an alternative language to the alphabet and were used by sawyers, blacksmiths, carpenters, forge workers, millers, shepherds and farmers for centuries. This language defines a marginal, non-metropolitan civilisation and indicates a range of intercontinental correlations.”

Franca Ghitti’s poetic declaration, part of a book published to mark her show at New York’s OK Harris Gallery in 2000, is a fundamental passage in the artist’s conscience, a transversal reinterpretation of her sculptural journey.

The current restaging of the Franca Ghitti. Altri Alfabeti is set in an enclosed space where the artworks communicate with one another and the audience as if in a small universe of their own. Accompanying Vicinia. La tavola degli antenati n. 1 (1976) and Tondo from the 1980s, recently acquired by the Gallerie d’Italia as some of the most important artistic expressions of the 20th century, are a wealth of sculptures and installations epitomising Franca Ghitti’s career.

The artistic process inspiring the layout of the exhibition fits perfectly with the artist’s oeuvre: she uses the traces and material fragments of an ancient land to bring them back to life through her conceptual approach.
In her ever-changing compositions, the memory of the past takes on creative depth expressed through the use of scraps. They are the pieces of iron left behind when turning metal into farm tools and equipment – hoes, pickaxes, spades, shovels, bill hooks, plough irons, plough blades – the material that falls from the anvil or hammering board and is re-used by Ghitti in her sculptures and installations. The scraps are the result of an inner design inspired by the culture of tool-making, the anthropology of homo faber, the legacy of the farming culture that civilised Europe, and, in the hands of the artist, the poetic communication of a disciplinary theory.

Ghitti’s work reveals the dimension of the language of art, the transfer of a gesture that not only speaks of the ancient ritual linked to the passing of time and the alternating seasons, but also the ability to make a mark that questions the contemporary, an archetype filled with every possible restart, passing from the fragmentation of objects to the restoration of the whole.

Franca Ghitti speaks through objects to communicate with people, with the experience of communities or Vicinie, people linked by ties of mutual solidarity with glimpses of the place to which they once belonged. In the artist’s work, however, existence does not refer to itself but rather seeks another way, a need to find a language that helps us think and understand what we see. In her artistic process, the material and all its specific weight becomes part of an immaterial culture, the expression of a visual culture where hands, gestures and signs convey what words cannot say, what the mind cannot understand. This broadening makes it possible to “inhabit” her art, to perceive its mysterious bearing, to converse with other disciplines, to contend with places of learning and knowledge, the universities, right up to her later works (Pagine chiodate and Libri chiodati), ones which turn pain into a universal experience.



from 16.01.2019 to 17.02.2019
Opening hours
from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm.
Thursday: until 10:30 pm

Last admission: 1 hour before closing.
Closed on Mondays.

Combined tickets valid for the exhibitions and permanent collections may be purchased directly from the ticket office and online at TicketOne:
– open ticket for the Gallerie d’Italia: €11.00
– open ticket for the Gallerie d’Italia and Poldi Pezzoli Museum: €14.00

Ticket prices:
– full-price: €10.00
Also available online from TicketOne.
– reduced: €7.00
– special reduction: €5.00