Gianni Motti
Cosmic Storm, Cern

Gianni Motti, Cosmic Storm, Cern, video, 30’, sound, 2006

Gianni Motti’s work reveals the hidden facets of the political system, and of the state of the world more generally. The artist likes to consider “that which escapes the gaze,” beyond appearances and consciousness, such as paranormal and anticipation phenomena, sectarian movements, primitive instincts and conspiracy theories.

Gianni Motti’s works are neither sculptures nor installations, nor even ready-mades, or perhaps assisted ready-mades, sometimes multiples, rarely unique pieces, but foremost witness accounts – texts, photographs, films – of actions. Gestures to be considered “as is,” “as in life,” but which on closer inspection subvert and challenge their primary function and meaning, be it social, political or symbolic. Gianni Motti likes to demystify beliefs, morals and consensuses by reinvesting them with a new meaning, an offbeat and unexpected stance or a denunciation which is often ironic and critical.

Gianni Motti’s method of subversion seems akin to attempts at circumvention, or even sleights of hand: he died on July 29th, 1989, organised his own burial in Vigo (Entierro n°1) and gave himself the freedom to rise again, to become someone else and to choose his identity. The management of his retrospective in 2004 at the Migros Museum in Zurich (Plausible Deniability) was even more significant. The space was entirely divided up by plywood partitions, reconstructing an empty labyrinthine path that relentlessly directed the viewer towards the museum’s back courtyard. The absent works were replaced by a commentary, undertaken by several guides responsible for presenting the important stages of Gianni Motti’s work. The artist thereby substituted reality with narration; a means of organising and controlling his own posterity, proposing a narrative, constructing a legend and definitively conferring a fictional status on his artistic practice.

For the Videos: new and revisited project, and this first series of screenings, we present Gianni Motti’s video entitled Cosmic Storm, Cern, which was made at CERN using the infra-red technique. It recounts Gianni Motti’s experience, made possible thanks to a group of scientists who discovered the existence of neutrinos, invisible and evanescent particles derived from the nuclear reaction of the heart of the sun. Enclosed in a kind of box, Motti is repeatedly struck by these neutrinos whose trajectories can be visualised thanks to a system of detectors. These inframince particles continuously strike all bodies, human or otherwise, and are constantly present in our environment, without us ever seeing or perceiving them. They can travel miles to hit mountains or land at the bottom of oceans.

This video is an edition produced by the CEC for Gianni Motti’s solo exhibition, Perpetual Channel, which took place in November 2006, presenting his immersion for several days in the very closed world of CERN and its researchers.

Gianni Motti (1958, Sondrio) lives and works in Geneva. His work has been presented in various solo exhibitions, such as EX-POSITION21, Galerie Mezzanin, Geneva (2021); Ex-position at the Helmhaus, Zurich (2018). He has also taken part in numerous group exhibitions: Vertrauen at the Helmhaus Zurich, Zurich (2022); Acquisitions 2021 at the Fonds d’art contemporain de la Ville de Genève (2022).
This project is sponsored by the Federal Office of Culture and the Republic and the Canton of Geneva.