Ships that pass in the night - Maurizio Nannucci

Maurizio Nannucci Ships that pass in the night

site specific installation
4 June – 30 August 2022

For Hypermaremma, Maurizio Nannucci conceived ‘Ships that pass in the night’, an unprecedented neon work that, from the façade of the historic Rocca Aldobrandesca in Talamone, mirrors the proximity of terrestrial space and the vastness of both sea and sky. At night, the sea sinks into darkness, allowing us to glimpse the luminous flashes of ships passing offshore: real ships sailing towards distant ports, or fantastical ships passing through the night with no destination? Through his poetic work, Nannucci invites the viewer to turn his gaze between sea and land, telling the universal story of the happiness of sailors in re-encountering their land, their home.


Maurizio Nannucci (Florence 1939) lives and works in Florence and Südbaden (Germany). One of the most relevant figures on the international art scene of the last decades, he has placed at the core of his work a conspicuous series of creative practices, ranging from artist’s books to multiples, sound works, photography and posters, as well as several editions realised in collaboration with other artists. From the mid-1960s to the present day, through the constant practice of multiple expressive languages, he has extended his field of research beyond all disciplinary boundaries.


In the mid-1960s Nannucci began to explore the multiple interrelationships between language, writing and images, drawing on concepts and ideas from linguistics, and using a wide range of media: photography, video, artists’ books, publications and sound installations. In his research Nannucci has developed an inter-disciplinary approach by opening a network of collaborations in the fields of art, architecture and poetry. In addition to language, his interest is strongly focused on colour in all its manifestations. As early as 1967 he created his first neon ‘writings’, enriching his work with an additional dimension of meaning.


His coloured light installations spread word-images in a liquid circuit that flows between colour, sign and meaning. The artist uses coloured glass tubes and fluorescent light to induce a refinement of visual perception. The variety of light configurations stimulates the viewer to see and interpret both language and the spatial context in which it interacts in a new way.
The documentation of linguistic research and experiences with colour are the basis of a constant writing activity that Nannucci has collected in an Anthology of blue neon texts still in progress (1967-2020…).


From 1974 to 1985 he promoted the activities of the Zona non-profit art space in Florence and in 1998 was among the founders of Base / Progetti per l’arte. Nannucci carries out an intense editorial activity with the Exempla, Recorthings and Zona Archives editions, and has curated numerous exhibitions in museums, libraries and public institutions. In the early 1990s, he started collaborating with architects such as Fritz Auer, Mario Botta, Stephan Braunfels, Massimiliano Fuksas, Nicholas Grimshaw, Renzo Piano and realised several projects for museums and public buildings. Maurizio Nannucci has been invited several times to the Venice Biennale, Documenta in Kassel and the biennials of São Paulo, Sydney, Istanbul and Valencia. His works have been presented in more than three hundred museums and galleries, and have been acquired by collections all over the world, including the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice, the Staedtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich, the Berliner Museen and the Kunstsammlung des Deutschen Bundestages in Berlin, the Maxxi in Rome, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Centre Georges Pompidou and CNAP in Paris, Palazzo della Pilotta, Parma, City Life, Milan.


Critical text by Lorenzo Bruni


Realized with the support and patronage by Comune di Orbetello




Press release