The art of Gabriella Benedini, born in Cremona in 1932, is soaked with memories and suggestions: the themes of the journey, both physical and spiritual, the interrogation of the stars, the transmutation of matter and the elements, and the thirst for knowledge are central to her work. This is also revealed by the title of the exhibition, Athanor, which brings to mind the world of alchemy and is taken from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, The Rose of Paracelsus, whose main character is an inscrutable 16h century German doctor/scientist.
Alongside 24 works by the artist, also on display at Gallerie d’Italia is Library, a compact, airtight, Gris de Payne-coloured body notable for its enigmatic and looming presence. Three hundred sixty “books” (in reality unknown containers), on the outside all the same, are tidily positioned on the shelves. Not just any old containers, of course, but special containers all of the same dimensions: two covers which, when opened, unleash inconceivable, surprising worlds that remain hidden from the observer. Just one, wide open, is positioned on a bookrest.