Luci d’Artista, a Superb Open-Air Contemporary Art Exhibition in Turin


Luci d’Artista, a Superb Open-Air Contemporary Art Exhibition in Turin

What a surprising city, Turin. In November and December, it becomes an open-air exhibition for contemporary art

Torino Luci d'Artista - Valerio Berruti - Ancora Una Volta

Torino Luci d’Artista. Valerio Berruti, Ancora Una Volta

Turin… A surprising city. From early November to the beginning of January, the main centre of Piedmont and former Italian capital (until 1870, when the capital city of Italy was moved to Rome) becomes an open air museum of superb contemporary art with the Luci d’Artista exhibition. Throughout the city, 19 installations by important Italian and international artists offer a beautiful decor to the wide boulevards and the wonderful squares, mixing up old historical buildings and contemporary art in what is often a perfect balance. Light is fascinating, as is the creativity displayed by the artists in the creation of their works.

Luci d’Artista dates back to 1998 and since then, beautiful and scenic lighting sculptures and installations have warmed the coldest months of the year in Turin.
The approach from the different artists in the interaction between art and the urban landscape is extremely interesting, as is the research in the possibilities offered by the latest technologies in lighting.
Torino Luci d'Artista - Daniel Buren - Tappeto Volante

Torino Luci d’Artista. Daniel Buren, Tappeto Volante

In some cases, the results are impressive, like in “Tappeto Volante” (Floating Carpet, photo above) by the French artist Daniel Buren, my favorite installation and one of the most popular. The fascination created by this floating blue, red and white floating carpet is powerful and the way the light installation blends in the surrounding scenery is just beautiful.

The Luci d’Artista installations showcase very interesting examples of interaction between art and the urban landscape

Another work that deeply impressed me is ‘Ancora una Volta’ (meaning ‘Once again’), by Valerio Berruti (photo on top of the page). Created with eco-sustainable materials and energy savings lightings, the installation showcases a child  appearing and disappearing in a constant rotation, playing with the public ‘once again’.

Torino Luci d'Artista - Luigi Mainolfi - Luì e L'Arte di Andare nel Bosco

Torino Luci d’Artista. Luigi Mainolfi, Luì e L’Arte di Andare nel Bosco

Luci d’Artista is a wonderful and creative story-telling, like in “Luì e l’arte di andare nel bosco” (Luì, and the art of going in the woods). The lighting sculpture goes through the history of the madman Luì, a symbol of the artist’s alter-ego, able to find children who have gone lost in the silent woods. Piece by piece, the installation reminds of the tale by Italian novelist Guido Quarzo.

Torino Luci d'Artista - Luigi Nervo - Vento Solare

Torino Luci d’Artista. Luigi Nervo , Vento Solare

Vento Solare, by Luigi Nervo, is one of the most photographed Turin installations, located at Porta Palatina which used to be the main gate to  Turin at the time of the Romans.

Together with ‘Ancora una volta’, the other new entry to the 2012 edition on Luci d’Artista is “Luci in Bici” (Lights on bikes) by Martino Gamper. Interestingly, it’s an ambivalent work of art. While part of the installations is fixed, another one is moving, thanks to the collaboration with ToBike (the Bike Sharing service in Torino).

Torino Luci d'Artista - Martino Gamper - Luci in Bici

Torino Luci d’Artista. Martino Gamper, Luci in Bici

Anyone can rent (upon reservation) the special “Luci d’Artista bikes” and become an actor of the 2012 Exhibition. I had the privilege of trying a bike during a night tour and I can tell you that people in the streets were stopping us all the time, fascinated by the lights drawings and asking information about these ‘magic bicycles’. What’s a pity is that the ToBike website provides information on the Luci d’Artista bikes only upon registration, which is maybe not the most user-friendly approach. But believe me, it’s a lot of fun strolling around whether you’re alone, with a group of friends or with family and kids.

Torino Luci d'Artista - Michelangelo Pistoletto - Amare le Differenze

Torino Luci d’Artista. Michelangelo Pistoletto, Amare le Differenze

It’s during the night bike tour that I got to see “Amare le Differenze” (Love Difference) by Michelangelo Pistoletto, an important message of tolerance towards the  current political, religious and social contrasts. Once again, the proof that art can embrace a universal language.

Overall, Luci d’Artista is a fascinating open-air exhibition that anyone loving contemporary or street art will deeply enjoy.


Note: A big thank you goes to Turismo Torino for the lovely invitation to discover this beautiful city. However,  my passion for art has roots dating back to the years when I was a teenager (and it was long time ago :-))


More reading: The Mole Antonelliana, Landmark and Symbol of Turin


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  • Emily Wilson
    Posted at 17:17h, 29 November Reply

    Beautiful photos, Simon. Hoping to have my article up asap!

    • Simon
      Posted at 11:00h, 23 February Reply

      Thanks, Emily. Indeed, the open-air exhibition is much more beautiful than it come out from the photos 🙂

  • Becky Padmore
    Posted at 09:10h, 29 November Reply

    Beautiful photos Simon, you captured these displays perfectly!

    • Simon
      Posted at 09:13h, 29 November Reply

      How kind of you, Becky. I’m curious to see your photos, now 🙂

  • Christina
    Posted at 05:46h, 29 November Reply

    These are really great photographs, thanks for sharing! I love when contemporary art pushes not only the definition of “Art” but also challenges what materials can be used to make art. I think decorative lights are beautiful (even the typical holiday decorative lights!).

    I wish we had this kind of art exhibit in Boston. Right now it’s pitch black by 4:30pm! That would leave plenty of time for strolling, fancy light biking and enjoying the exhibit.

    • Simon
      Posted at 08:39h, 29 November Reply

      I’m so glad you share my love for art, Christina. I also wish more cities would sponsor a project like that. It would make life in the city in Winter so more pleasant.

  • Heather on her travels
    Posted at 22:35h, 28 November Reply

    I love these kind of light installations in the run up to Christmas – when the weather is dull we need somethign colourful to lighten the mood

    • Simon
      Posted at 22:51h, 28 November Reply

      You’re right. There’s nothing like light, color and beauty to brighten up a winter night!

  • Turin Educational Consortium
    Posted at 21:35h, 28 November Reply

    Great post and pictures!!

    • Simon
      Posted at 21:43h, 28 November Reply

      Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it. I had a lovely time in Turin and was really impressed by how much the city has to offer.

  • Lesley Peterson
    Posted at 23:31h, 27 November Reply

    LOVE this post and the festival’s idea! Would love to rent one of those light bikes and become part of the magical scene. Wish Toronto would get some colorful lighting up over the winter; those skimpy wire and white-blueish lights they use for ‘holiday’ lighting just make the city look colder than it already is. Kudos to these artists who created all the beauty!

    • Simon
      Posted at 23:34h, 27 November Reply

      Oh… Thanks so much Lesley, I know you’re an art lover and I’m sure you would fall in love with Turin. There’s so much to see (more on that soon…). I agree with you that sometimes the Christmas lightings are terribly sad and cold… which is rather weird.

      Luci d’Artista is truly a wonderful idea, and a great way to favour the encounter between art and the every day life.

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