Intellettuale (1975)

The performance Intellettuale [Intellectual] is realised for the opening of the new Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna in Bologna in 1975 with the participation of Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of Fabio Mauri’s closest friends.

The performance takes place on the stairs outside the Galleria. An exhibition on the Dada Movement curated by Franco Solmi – a movement that Mauri admires but in which he does not take part - is on display inside the gallery. Mauri, on the other hand, prefers to stage his performance outside the building. He asks Pasolini to sit on a chair, and the poet is then transformed into a “living screen”: the film The Gospel According to St. Matthew is projected on his body. The sound, too loud compared to the small dimension of the image, increases the confusion that the performance creates in the audience and in Pasolini himself. The photographer Antonio Masotti sits in the audience and takes 15 shots of the performance: these images will become famous worldwide.

The choice of projecting the film on the author himself is, according to Mauri, a way for the author of the film to become objectively responsible for his work, the effects of which he now experiences first hand. The audience was made up of Mauri’s and Pasolini’s childhood and school friends who, as the two authors, became professors, publishers, essayists -  Pasolini, afraid of possible displays of affection, did not acknowledge any of them. (Dora Aceto)


Exhibition dates and venues


1975 – Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, curated by Franco Solmi

1978 – Galleria Arco di Alibert, Rome

1985 – Mercati Traianei, Rome

1986 – La forma dello sguardo [The structure of the gaze], Pordenone, curated by Laura Betti

1987 – Intellettuale [Intellectual], Bruxelles

1988 – Cinema as poetry at the Sri Fort Auditorium of New Delhi

– Cinéma Italien rencontres dAnnecy, Espace Exposition Cac Bonlieu, Annency

– 10 journées cinématographiques, Orléans

1989 – Shaar Zion Beth Ariela Library, Tel Aviv

1990 – Harvard University, Boston

– 43rd Edinburgh International Film Festival, St. Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh

– P.P.Pasolini: the eyes of a poet, New York

1991 – Pasolini. Las formas de la poesia, Barcelona

– Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles

1992 – Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome

– Italian Institute of Culture, Lyon

– La coscienza che non perdona [Unforgiving conscience], Circolo Aurora, Arezzo

1993 – Una disperata vitalità [A desperate vitality], Teatro Nicolini, Florence

– Le cinéma dun poète, Maison de la Cultura Ibn Khaldoun, Tunis

– Il sogno di una cosa [Dreaming about a thing], ‘La città del Sole’ bookshop, Turin

– P.P.Pasolini un cinema di poesia [P.P.Pasolini - Poetry cinema], Italian Cultural Institute, Mexico City

– The eyes of a poet, Castro Theatre, San Francisco

– The Filmuseum, Amsterdam

– P.P.Pasolinicon le armi della poesia [P.P.Pasolini... with the weapons of poetry], Arengario, Milan

– Italian Cultural Institute, Thessaloniki

– Akademie der Künste, Berlin

–  Retrospective Fabio Mauri. Opere e Azioni 1954 - 1994 [Fabio Mauri. Works and Actions 1954 - 1994], National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome, curated by Carolyn Christov Bakargiev, supervised by Augusta Monferini

2003 -  LEcran Mental: A Retrospective, Studio Nacional des Arts Contemporains, Le Fresnoy Lille, curated by Dominique Païni

2005 – Pasolini e noi-Relazioni tra arte e cinema [We and Pasolini - Relationships between art and cinema], Archivio di Stato, Turin, curated by Laura Cherubini

2007 – Pasolini, Callas and Medea, Cineteca, Bologna

2008 – 1988: vent'anni prima, vent'anni dopo, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, a cura di Marco Bazzini

2011 – Il Caos 3 i conflitti Omaggio a Fabio Mauri [Chaos No 3 - Conflicts], San Servolo Island, 54° Venice Biennale, curated by Raffaele Gavarro

2012 – Fabio Mauri, THE END, Royal Palace of Milan, curated by Francesca Alfano Miglietti

– Pier Paolo Pasolini: A RetrospectiveMOMA/PS1, New York, curated by Jenny Schlenzka

2016 – Fabio Mauri Retrospettiva a luce solida, Museo MADRE, Napoli, a cura di Laura Cherubini e Andrea Viliani

Intellettuale 1985

Intellectual 1985*  “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” by/on Pier Paolo Pasolini. “The film (the work) represents every work. The author represents every author (every intellectual). In the[...]

Intellectual 1985*

 “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” by/on Pier Paolo Pasolini. “The film (the work) represents every work. The author represents every author (every intellectual). In the entirety that every work, even the most hideous, always simulates, the work of art is a completed form of verticality thrown out of time and exempt from the wear of duration. The work is always liberation, and the political or ideological work is twice as liberation, because it takes for known, if not for solved, the problems it dealt with. In this station, everything the author hoped he had left behind is sadistically thrown back at him. The film (the work) is projected onto the body of the director: his chest, dressed in a white shirt, is the screen. His chest becomes a mirror, an x-ray of the intellectual subjectivity of the artist and of his conscience”.


Alberto Boatto, Intellectual, Rome, 1975.

What Alberto Boatto wrote about Intellectual well captures the essence of the performance with Pier Paolo Pasolini which was presented at the Galleria Comunale in Bologna in 1975. I only wrote brief theoretical essays on these “Projections”, since the surplus of identity of the “action” itself has always prevented me from talking extensively about it. The viewers are bewildered by what they are witnessing, by this action conceived in the laboratory and its violent implications. The projection creates a unique effect: it physically reveals the birth of the “intellectual sign inside” the body of the author, and it has the technical precision of an x-ray of the spirit. There is more: the superimposition of one of the author’s passions upon the author himself, who seems to become physically responsible for what he created. The film violently pierces its function and bends into a complex form of image. The viewer is disoriented by the unusual scene and by the added value of the presence of the author himself, who doesn’t stop meaningfully interfering during the whole narration. Pier Paolo Pasolini, as previously done by Miklòs Jancsò, agreed to take part in the project and was immediately engrossed in it: he dived into the effort of remembering, little by little, what was being projected on him, the images and the forms. He is compelled by that “spiritual exercise” to go back to the primary reasons behind the creation of the work, which, apart from some minimal variations of shadow and light, he could not verify with his own eyes. Being illuminated by the projection of his film, Pasolini seemed to become responsible for the real contents of his imagination: as if, instead of seeing them, he had to fight their backlash. Furthermore, words, onomatopoeic sounds and music become the protagonists and coordinated signs which help the artist reconstruct the images which had become, for him, invisible. Coincidentally, something else happens: the identity of the author becomes materially clear and confirms itself in a simple yet effective way. Author and work create a solid sculpture of flesh and light; thanks to the power of a “vision”, they prove to be one. At a time of conceptual debates, the aim of my performance was both analytical (I treated the performance as an experiment of physics) and ideological. Through that ritual I wanted to recall something obvious: that the forms of expression were nothing else but “real” meanings, in the sense that they were implicit to the “moral” universe of man. This was, to me, encompassed in the word “intellectual”. For the followers of the different schools of thought of the time, this truth was not as self-evident as it seems. I wanted to create (outside the conceptual tautology which, as a matter of fact, excluded it) a physical bond between poetry and world by recalling through different means and from “un-realist” perspectives the essential concept of truth, which for Pasolini was always central and that he never forgot. Thanks to the emotions that the action provoked and that the superimposition on the author doubled, I wanted to reiterate the idea that art cannot help but creating a very uncontemporary system - the basic system of values. This was the necessary function of language, and it was almost impossible to elude the demonstrative eloquence of art, as proved by the seductive force of that action. The performance presented on 31 May 1975 and with Pier Paolo Pasolini was an additional display of our friendship and life, especially of mine. It was as if, as a wind that finally ceases to blow, the agitation of our passions had stopped and made way for a clear landscape where everything, even the past and the dangers we miraculously escaped, fit in a wise order that made us become what we had been during that “intellectual” endeavour: survived, friends, calm after all and respected for the ideals of poetry and art to which we had been, beyond any personal achievement, faithful. This was shortly before Pier Paolo Pasolini died. That night in Bologna, so crucial because so final and clear, is to me a demonstration of the sweet firmness of poetry, that captures our world and everything in it so that they exist. Or to explain them and, fatally, clarify them.

*Pier Paolo Pasolini. A future life. The form of the gaze. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Trajan’s Market in Rome in 1985

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