Gianfranco Baruchello Psicoenciclopedia possibile (Possible psychoencyclopaedia) | Shore Fire Media

CIMAClient Information

1 December, 2021Print

Gianfranco Baruchello Psicoenciclopedia possibile (Possible psychoencyclopaedia)

One Day Conference

Thursday 9th december 2021 from 2pm to 6pm (EST time)

CIMA Center for Italian Modern Art

421 Broome St 4th floor, New York City


Chairs: Massimiliano Gioni and Nicola Lucchi.

With: Maria Alicata, Franco Baldasso, Raffaele Bedarida, Lara Demori, Bracha L. Ettinger, Sarah Hamill, Sharon Hecker, Teresa Kittler and Carla Subrizi.


The Center for Italian Modern Art and the Fondazione Baruchello are pleased to present Gianfranco Baruchello’s Psicoenciclopedia possibile (Possible Psychoencyclopedia) for the first time in the United States.

After two presentations and exhibitions in Geneva at the Centre d’Art Contemporain (September 14 - October – 17, 2021) and in Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou (September 25 - October 24, 2021), the work will be presented at the Center for Italian Modern Art through a rich and varied One Day Conference to be held on December 9th. Invited speakers are: Maria Alicata, Franco Baldasso, Raffaele Bedarida, Lara Demori, Bracha L. Ettinger, Sarah Hamill, Sharon Hecker, Teresa Kittler and Carla Subrizi. 


The One Day Conference is organized in two panels, one moderated by Nicola Lucchi, the other by Massimiliano Gioni. This presentation represents an opportunity for many new directions of study, examining both the process that determined the project for an encyclopedia in the twenty-first century and specific aspects of Baruchello’s work: the archive, composition, as well as painting as a “little” system, as Baruchello habitually describes the development of his own language.


During the One Day Conference, a series of drawings selected for the occasion will allow the public to delve into Baruchello’s complex system of thought, which, by the transversal nature of languages, has experimented with images, objects, installations, cinema and writing.


From the late 1950s and especially from the early 1960s, Baruchello (b. 1924), a painter, writer and filmmaker, has assembled words, images or objects in a constant search for new possibilities of thought and imagination. His works include paintings, boxes/display cases and works on Plexiglas, as well as assemblage of different and sometimes recycled materials, including writing as a form of inquiry. He reduces images, words and newspaper cuttings to a state bordering on illegibility. These are aspects of his oeuvre that made Baruchello one of the most daring and provocative experimenters of the twentieth century.


Baruchello’s work was first presented in the 1960s in New York: from the group exhibition, “New Realists” (1962) to solo shows at Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery (1964, 1966) and the exhibition curated by Lawrence Alloway, “European Drawings at the Guggenheim Museum (1966). His works are in the permanent collections of museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia) and the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Centre Pompidou (Paris), MAXXI and Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna (Rome).


In this monumental and complex project, Baruchello has created a new system. A crossover artist who has used a variety of languages and techniques including painting, objects, installations, and writing, he creates 816 pages of unexpected juxtapositions to connect 1,200 entries (in the first part of the volume) and 200 tables of images (in the second part). The entries are derived from published and unpublished writings, notes and transcriptions of dreams, while the images are the outcome of a long process of selection and assembly utilizing various sources, some of which are pre-existent.


Could it really be possible to extend knowledge to the point that there is nothing else to know? What is the logic underlying the classification that encyclopedias present to us? What are the criteria followed in associating linguistic definitions with illustrated plates? In Psicoenciclopedia possibile, Baruchello looks at these questions and examines the validity of traditional forms of knowledge to create hitherto unseen connections between written and visual language. As an artist, he suggests the exploration of unusual identities, creating new meaning and value for the historical model represented by the encyclopedia. In fact, a characteristic of Baruchello’s practice is the deconstruction of every form of consequential thought and the disconnection from traditional systems of cause and effect. In this work, it is the alphabet that becomes a tool for reshuffling the most consolidated (narrative, visual and semantic) connections. “The Psicoenciclopedia possibile is constructed as if it were a volume in the Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani (Treccani Italian Encyclopaedia), but it isn’t”, says Baruchello.


In this work, politics and history, dreams and the word of the unconscious, nature and the environment, narrative and memory, attain unusual forms of convergence and are given unexpected juxtapositions through Baruchello’s tireless curiosity that led him to develop an interest in every area of knowledge.


The One Day Conference about Psicoenciclopedia possible (Possible psychoencyclopaedia) is promoted by Fondazione Baruchello and produced through support from the Italian Council (VII edition, 2019), a programme by the General Directorate of Contemporary Creativity at the Ministry of Culture for the international promotion of Italian art. The event is part of a cycle of exhibitions and presentations that also involved the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


The 2020 edition of the volume Psicoenciclopedia possibile comprises 250 copies and 15 artist’s proofs. The work is presented in a slipcase together with a print by the artist, which constitutes a sort of “reflection” on one of the plates, n° 128, and the book Note a margine. L’arte come esperimento del sapere (Marginal notes. Art as an experiment in knowledge) by Carla Subrizi, which describes the work’s origin and gives readers some possible keys to its exploration. 1,000 copies of a “pocket” edition of the volume are currently being printed.


The volume will be on display at CIMA and during the One Day Conference. 


Technical information




CONTENTS: CASE + VOLUME + PRINT + BOOK Note a margine. L’arte come esperimento del sapere by Carla Subrizi

PAGES: 816

BOOK FORMAT: 24 x 30.4 cm


GRAPHIC DESIGN: Edoardo Visalli




Fondazione Baruchello

Via di Santa Cornelia 695, 00188, Rome

+39 06 3346000 | e.


Press office

PCM Studio di Paola C. Manfredi

Via Farini, 70 | 20159 Milan |

Francesca Ceriani | | T. +39 340 9182004




After graduating in Jurisprudence (1946), Gianfranco Baruchello experimented with images by means of objects, constructing the first alphabets of motifs used as the foundation for the search for a language that does not abandon the use of figuration, even though this is reinterpreted within the conceptual process. A number of objects, comprising books or newspapers, assembled and sometimes coated with white enamel, were exhibited in 1962 in Paris (Collages et objets) and in New York (New Realists). His first solo show was held in 1963, at the La Tartaruga gallery in Rome. In 1964, on occasion of an exhibition at the Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery in New York, he exhibited works that already represented a significant milestone in his quest: fragmentation, distributing images reduced to their minimal elements on the canvas, the conceptual delocalisation of space, etc. From 1960 he created short films: Molla (Spring, 1960), Il grado zero del paesaggio (The level zero of landscape, 1963), and Verifica incerta (Uncertain assessment, 1964-1965). In 1962 he met Marcel Duchamp, to whom he dedicated his book Why Duchamp (1985). In his experimentation on moving images, Baruchello worked on the precise idea of fragmentation and assembly, concepts that in the same period led him to devise projects such as La quindicesima riga (The fifteenth line, 1966-1968), with lines of text taken from hundreds of books, and the volume Avventure nell’armadio di plexiglass (Adventures in the plexiglass cupboard, 1968). In 1968 he founded a fictitious company named Artiflex whose mission was to “mimic industrial methods” with critical intentions. In 1973 he launched the project Agricola Cornelia S.p.A., an experiment involving art and agriculture, on which he worked for eight years. Writer and poet, he created projects for theatre (Teatro alla Scala, Milan; Teatro dell’Opera, Rome) and in 1998, together with Carla Subrizi, he formed Fondazione Baruchello. He has taken part in the Venice Biennale on several occasions (1976-80, 1988-90, 1993, 2013) and likewise in Documenta, Kassel (1977, 2012). He has had important retrospective exhibitions in Italy and other countries: GNAM, Rome (2011); ZKM, Karlsruhe (2014); Raven Row, London (2017); MART, Rovereto (2018). His works are present in the most important international museums: Guggenheim Museum and MoMA, New York; GNAM, Rome; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; ZKM, Karlsruhe; MAXXI, Rome; MADRE, Naples.

Work is currently proceeding on an Analytical Catalogue of his oeuvre.


Gianfranco Baruchello One Day Conference

In occasion  of the presentation of Psicoenciclopedia possibile


Center for Italian Modern Art, New York

December 9, 2021



Chair: Nicola Lucchi


Carla Subrizi

Why Baruchello Today?


Raffaele Bedarida

The Great Pilgrimage of Baruch


Franco Baldasso

Savinio and Baruchello: An Encyclopedic Conversation


Lara Demori

"Hypothalamic Brainstorming": Le Possible sans le moindre grain d’éthique d’esthétique et de métaphysique






Coffe Break



Chair: Massimiliano Gioni


Sharon Hecker

In the Belly of the Book: Carla Subrizi’s Note a margine to Gianfranco Baruchello’s Psicoenciclopedia possibile


Bracha L. Ettinger

Give Meaning to the Eclipse of Meaning. Artworking as Anamnesis


Sarah Hamill

“Memory is an Archive:” Form, Fragmentation, and Images of Violence in Baruchello’s Psicoenciclopedia Possibile


Teresa Kittler

A Place for Everything


Maria Alicata

A System of Mixed Meanings