Nobel Lab
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Enigma of Nobel, Le Murate. Progetti Arte Contemporanea, curated by Valentina Gensini, Firenze.
March 2016


Nobel’s passion for plants” the artist said “was every bit as intense as his work […] in Avenue Malakoff (now Avenue Raymond  Poincaré) in Paris, which led to numerous patents. He had a winter garden where he cultivated his orchids, and his explosives research went on right next door. […] He had this contradictory relationship with the production of explosives, for use both in wars and big civil works, at the same time as his philanthropy towards pacifist organisations. He was particularly generous to the pacifist association of his one time secretary, Bertha von Suttner.[…] the loud explosions his experiments with nitroglycerine produced, so hated by his neighbours, are in sharp contrast with the almost religious care he took of the plants in his greenhouses. The peace generated by his interest in plants and his intense research into unstable materials are two sides of the scales. The Enigma of Nobel installation, a laboratory/greenhouse, aimed to trigger such synergies in a timeless reconstruction. Every object within it, though far from its original place and significance, could create a short circuit generator of  interesting inventions; could recreate in the viewer the conflicting sensations felt by Nobel.

Robert Pettena

© Robert Pettena 2018