Noble Material – Remember Not to Forget

by Maura Banfo


Maura Banfo has encapsulated in posters, scattered between Roccasparvera, Moiola, and Gaiola, the oral stories of the Stura Valley, which are rich in words and images. These evocations link the past and memory to universal values and teachings, condensing them into iconic words. Her fundamental encounters with chestnut grower Remo Degiovanni and the active elderly group ‘Insieme diamoci una mano odv’ (‘Let’s help each other out – volunteer organisation’) were pivotal.

The artist listened to and collected these stories and memories passed down from generation to generation – a tradition in which culture, work, and an economy tied to the land and its products are interwoven.

The chestnut is a visual and iconic focal element; its spiny shell appears as an ideal nest, guardian of difficult and painful labour in harvesting and processing, yet a golden material that guarantees subsistence. The chestnut tree was, in fact, referred to as the bread tree. Thus, the chestnut becomes an alchemical element containing a poetic collective memory (the title also evokes the figure of Nuto Revelli (1919–2004), writer, officer, and partisan native to Cuneo, who made these areas an active landscape of many of his stories, as in ‘The World of the Defeated’ in 1977). From this, the artist extracts key words and turns them into magical images in the project ‘Noble Material – Remember Not to Forget’.

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Maura Banfo

Her work has marked important milestones in the Italian contemporary art scene from the nineties to the present and enjoys significant international recognition. Maura Banfo has always been captivated by material: in her decades-long research, marked by exhibitions, artist residencies, and numerous accolades, she has meticulously investigated reality, starting from the objects that surrounded her and opting to represent them through photography (and more) as new entities devoid of their original meaning, architectures to be explored, entities to be observed from unprecedented perspectives to imbue them with new codes of meaning.

Her strength lies in maintaining a recognisable creative signature and poetic approach yet continually discovering new facets and perspectives. Although she favours photography, she also works masterfully with video and installations. Her works are housed in many private and public collections.