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Valerio Berruti

Artist 282

Valerio Berruti

La giostra di Nina

Interactive Installation

Valerio Berruti (born 1977) is an Italian artist who specializes painting. He lives and works in the city of Verduno in a deconsecrated church he bought and restored in 1995.

Berruti’s motif is largely constructed around imagery inspired by children. The child is both a metaphor and focal point around which the artist builds a complex structure. His essential images are inspired by the suspended world of childhood, a moment in life when everything has yet to happen. The artist uses different techniques from fresco to sculpture, through video animation made of drawings combined together in sequence.

Today’s focus is on his artwork ‘La giostra di Nina’ which in English is ‘The carousel of Nina’.

The installation and the contains about 3000 hand-made drawings put in sequence with music designed by Ludovico Einaudi.

The work consists of a large carousel, created due to its nature of one of the most pure symbols of childhood. The sculpture has a diameter of 7 meters inspired by carousels, which the artist has personally shaped with the intent that children and adults will be invited to climb.

He personally shaped each component, sculpting and frescoing every detail. The Carousel of Nina instead of the classic horses is composed of birds, a symbol of everyday life and also of freedom, flanked by protagonists destined to take flight.

The protagonists of the animated short film are Nina, a little girl forced to work as a carny by her wicked grandfather, and Geppo, a grown-up boy with a childlike soul who creates confusion in the village among the carousel clients. Hints of provincialism, resignation and fear of what is different are transformed into a desire for revenge in this small collection of poetry.

“Nina’s carousel is essentially a story about freedom: I thought of portraying birds rather than the usual horses because, to some extent, each protagonist will be able to take flight.” Valerio Berrutiand adds, “For the first time kids are not my favourite subject, but it’s rather one of the main symbols of childhood. This exhibition allows all children to become an integral part of my work by climbing the birds and thus completing my installation through a performative action.”

There are no explanations in the film, which leaves the story somewhat open to interpretation. It is not obvious that Nina is the grandchild of the man who runs the carousel, and we only know her name through the title: Geppo’s name is not mentioned in the film itself.

Throughout, the film plays with nostalgia to devastating effect.

Produced by Sky Art, it employs a method that makes use of very little technology. Indeed, Berruti described it as “tech-free.” By using approximately 3000 drawings shown at the rate of 5 photographs a second in a short animation.

The style is purposely unpolished and old-fashioned, adding a traditional air of the film.

The silence of the characters (there is no speech) and the simplistic style of the animation might leave the audience indifferent if done badly, but the roughly-sketched faces are enough to convey and provoke emotion when added to the haunting, evocative soundtrack by Ludovico Einaudi. The same music is played when the real carousel is turning.

It might be questioned who the exhibition is intended for. Although as a story it is in many ways very sad, it is also clearly aimed to be a children’s film. It is a modern-day fairy-tale that recalls many children’s stories.

Indeed, an accompanying pop-up book with a music box included for when it goes on sale.

For Berruti, who described the carousel first as having a juvenile dimension, and then as something with a “timeless soul,” the physical carousel is a work in which living children become the protagonists.

But in its carefully calculated poignancy it appeals to adults too, calling up our memories of childhood. Much of the traditional effect might be more effective on adults than it will be on those too young to know nostalgia.

Reflecting on both childhood and the childlikeness in adults, this installation leads all to recall their own childhoods.

I love the fairy tale elegance of this installation. How it flows and reflects an entire world that Berruti has created.

to see the installation in video follow these links:

the space

being on the carousel

Sources consulted:


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