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Analogy I (2nd version)/Analogía I (2da. versión)

Víctor Grippo, Argentine, 1936 - 2002

Date:
1970-1977

Medium:
Potatoes, zinc and copper electrodes, electrical cable, meter, text, table, chair, soil

Dimensions:
43 5/16 inches × 26 feet 2 15/16 inches (110 × 800 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
2008-229-1a--d

Credit Line:
Joint acquisition by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with funds contributed by the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and The Art Institute of Chicago, through prior gift of Adeline Yates, 2008

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Label:
A leading South American conceptualist of his generation, Argentine artist Víctor Grippo applied his background in chemistry to create works of art that explore the relationship between science and art, religion and society, the factual and the imaginative. In Analogía I, a central work in Grippo's oeuvre, he connects a battery made of potatoes---a humble food of Latin American origin---to electrodes, cables, and a voltmeter that measures the energy it generates when visitors press the button on the meter, which they are encouraged to do. The piece is intended to establish a parallel between electro-chemical energy and consciousness, the life-sustaining energy of the simplest of foods and the power of the mind---and art---to transform itself and its environment.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art Handbook (2014 Edition)

    As a leading South American Conceptual artist, Victor Grippo applied his background in chemistry to create works that explore the relationship between science and art, religion and society, the factual and the imaginative. A central work in Grippo’s oeuvre, Analogy I consists of an organic battery made of potatoes connected through electrodes and cables to a voltmeter that measures the energy generated by the tubers when the meter’s button is pressed. Demonstrating the equivalence between visible matter and invisible energy, this controlled experiment establishes a parallel between an electro-chemical process and consciousness, between the life-sustaining energy of the humblest of foods and the power of the mind to transform itself and its environment. This analogy, clearly expressed by the artist in an accompanying text, places him in the metaphorical position of an alchemist, poetically revealing the redemptive qualities of transforming matter into art. Adelina Vlas, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014, p. 376.