EXHIBITIONS Primo Levi’s Worlds

primo leviBy Ada Treves

The Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi (International Primo Levi Studies Centre) offers yet another occasion to deepen the knowledge of the Piedmontese writer: opening on Thursday in Turin, the exhibition “I mondi di Primo Levi” (Primo Levi’s worlds) is devoted to enlighten his life from a peculiar point of view. As he was able relate with the same clarity to extremely different experiences, from lager to poetry, from science fiction to sculpture the curators – Fabio Levi, director of the Centro Primo Levi, and Peppino Ortoleva – have organized the exhibition so that it will contain few texts but many documents, images, videos, objects, in a modular path.

The visual appeal is going to be very strong already outside of Palazzo Madama, in Turin, where the exhibit will stay for a few months: a wagon – very similar if not identical to those that were used to transport the prisoners in the camps – will welcome visitors, and inside the various themes will be accompanied by large explanatory panels, vintage items, video installations, and also by some images encoded with QRcode, to allow visitors to obtain additional documentation, to see, read or listen to. The visit starts with the story of a carbon atom, described in one of the most famous stories of “Il sistema periodico” (The Periodic Table), to than explore the journey to Auschwitz and back, shown on a large map, which visually reconstructs the experience. The narrator and worlds-maker, who choose to challenge himself with science fiction, as the meeting point among scientific research, invention and human adaptation to the new environment of artificial life. Chemistry, the cognitive weapon of speech and the differences and similarities between the work of the writer and that of the chemist are part of the genesis of the periodic system, to get to globalization, seen through the eyes of the worker Tino Faussone of “La chiave a stella” (The Monkey’s Wrench).

A concert on the evening before the opening of the exhibition, when the music that Primo Levi in a radio interview has indicated as important for his life will be performed will open he long list of appointments related to the exhibition. There will be, for example, readings of the book by Ernesto Ferrero, “Ranocchi sulla luna” (Einaudi), which collects the texts written by Primo Levi on animals, and the presentation of “Così fu Auschwitz” – edited for Einaudi by Domenico Scarpa and Fabio Levi – , that collects texts by Primo Levi and the report on Auschwitz he wrote with Leonardo De Benedetti.