The story of Nina by Valerio Berruti

The solo exhibition “La storia di Nina” (Nina’s story), curated by Arturo Galansino, describes the creation of Berruti’s new film work “La giostra di Nina” (Nina’s carousel), a work that again combines his light touch with animation by sequencing some 3,000 drawings so that they become frames of a video.

Berruti is an artist known for his very basic images inspired by the suspended world of childhood, the moment in life when everything has yet to happen. The artist uses various techniques from fresco to sculpture via video animation consisting of drawings put together in sequence.

Unlike previous animations, which were presented in a loop, the new animated short has an articulate script, based on a short story by Filippo Bessone. The protagonists of the animated short are Nina, a young carny forced to work by her grumpy grandfather, and Geppo, a big boy with a childlike soul who causes havoc among the customers of the village carousel. Provincialism, resignation and fear of what is different are turned into a desire for revenge in this little piece of poetry.

La Storia di Nina di Valerio Berruti

«This is the first time Sky Arte has launched itself into the production of an animated film. – says Sky Arte director Roberto Pisoni – What persuaded us from the very first meeting with Valerio Berruti was the agreement on the overall artistic project: starting from a small story, rooted in the local area, and making it grow towards unexpected directions. “Nina’s Carousel” is both an artist’s film and a wild sweet fairytale, an animation that rejects digital software and an apologue on the contemporary world, a public sculpture and a series of potentially endless performances».

Music, the only sound element in this wordless short film, is a key feature. It is up to Ludovico Einaudi – an extraordinary composer beloved by Berruti and involved by the artist since the drafting of the project – to combine movement and harmony and to stress the animation’s highlights.

«When Valerio first showed me the sketch of the project, I was immediately spellbound by its poetic power and instantly began to fantasise. – says Ludovico Einaudi – The carousel is a very strong image in symbolic terms and also a great form of creative inspiration. I pictured giving it a musical soul with a circular theme as if it were a never-ending spiral».

To draw the frames that form the animation, Berruti created a work of art, inspired by typical carousel rides, with a diameter of 7 metres and personally moulded each component, sculpting and frescoing every detail. “Nina’s carousel is essentially a story about freedom: I thought of portraying little birds rather than the usual horses because, somehow, each of the protagonists will manage to take flight”. – says Valerio Berruti and adds: “For the first time, children are not my favourite subject, but one of the main symbols of childhood. This exhibition allows all kids to become an integral part of my work by climbing on the birds and thus completing my installation with a performative act”.

The Alba exhibition features the large installation ” Nina’s carousel”, as well as some of the stills that are part of the short film, an art video taken from the animated short, and an excerpt from the documentary created by Francesca Priori for Sky Arte that narrates the whole project. Sky Arte has in fact followed this project from the very beginning, also producing an in-depth documentary where the narration is entrusted to the voice of Berruti himself, who will retrace the intricate genesis of the film, starting from the creation of “Nina’s carousel”, the monumental work that kicked off this original, elaborate and time-consuming artistic project. Also starring in the documentary are musician Ludovico Einaudi, author of the short film’s soundtrack, and art historian and curator Arturo Galansino.

«Valerio’s work is able to speak to the whole world while keeping its feet planted in the Langhe. – commented the curator and Director General since 2015 of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Arturo Galansino – With Nina’s Story the massive Gothic naves of San Domenico will be pervaded by the lightness of a fairytale and the joy of the public invited to be part of it. I am happy to contribute to this poetic cultural project that will enrich an international event as important for the area as the International Alba White Truffle Fair».

To mark the occasion, a book was published by Gallucci Editore entitled La storia di Nina (Nina’s Story) featuring a critical review by Arturo Galansino, a contribution by Roberto Pisoni, a text by Francesca Priori and the manuscript of Ludovico Einaudi’s score.

The exhibition is promoted and organised by Città di Alba, Ente Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, Ente Turismo Alba Bra Langhe e Roero with the support of Regione Piemonte, Lavazza and Film Commission. The installation is set up with the precious collaboration of Capellino design & partners. The video shown during the exhibition is devised and curated by Francesca Priori and produced by Studio Roundabout for Sky Arte with the collaboration of Paolo Gai for the videos and Tino Gerbaldo for the photographs.