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Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est? / Quam raptim ad sublimia, 1969

GPE-0004

Letterpress on card stock, envelope

Card stock 7 x 10.5 cm

No inscriptions

No numbering

100 unnumbered copies of each version

One hundred copies feature the question “Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?” and one hundred other copies the phrase “Quam raptim ad sublimia”.

Self-produced by the artist

The edition can be set up on a support surface or else on a plinth, if necessary protected by a plexiglas case large enough to allow some breathing space all around it. The card (or both versions of the edition) must be placed on top of the envelope or partially inserted inside it, so that they are staggered with relation to each other.

The white card in the shape of a calling card bears the artist's name, followed by a Latin phrase that acts as his “profession” or, broadly speaking, his elective title. One of the two variants offers the phrase Quam raptim ad sublimia (As soon as possible towards the sublime), etched in the floor of a room of the Vatican Museums in Rome, while the other reproduces the question Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est? (And what shall I love if not the enigma?) written by Giorgio de Chirico at the bottom of his self-portrait of 1911. “The transcriptions are pronouncements, professions of faith, but also the awareness of their unrepeatability, confined as they are in an ancient language, distant from all possible verification or reappropriation”,1 Paolini remarks, as concerns his choice of Latin phrases. Often installed together with an envelope of the kind used for a letter – emphasizing an intimate, reserved dimension – the calling card qualifies the metaphysical vocation of the author's poetics, akin to his attitude of waiting for and interrogating the work of art and its enigmatic nature.
The artist used the same Latin phrases in two large-format works from the same year, where they are featured on cloth banners (GPO-0183, GPO-0184), as well as in some works on paper (cf. GPC-0172, GPC-0173).
In 1975 Paolini chose the phrase “Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?” as the epigraph to his anthology of works and texts titled Idem (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore).

1 G. Paolini in conversation with M. Disch (2003), in M. Disch, Giulio Paolini. Catalogo ragionato 1960-1999, vol. 1 (Milan: Skira editore, 2008), cat. no. 183 p. 198.

Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?: quotation from Giorgio de Chirico, Portrait de l’artiste par lui-même, 1910-11, oil on canvas, 72.5 x 55 cm, Private collection.
Quam raptim ad sublimia: quotation from the Latin phrase engraved in the marble floor of Room VIII of the new Pinacoteca Vaticana at the Vatican Museums, Vatican City State.

1970 Modena, Galleria della Sala di Cultura, Arte e Critica 70, 14 November - 15 December, not repr.
1971 Andover, Massachusetts, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Formulation. 10 European Artists, 8 January - 14 February, repr. n. pag.; version Quam raptim ad sublimia.
1971 Innsbruck, Galerie im Taxipalais, Situation concepts, 9 February - 4 March, repr. n. pag.; version Quam raptim ad sublimia.
1982 Villeurbanne, Le Nouveau Musée, Giulio Paolini. Une introduction à l’œuvre de Giulio Paolini 1960/70. Artiste invité de l'année, 16 September - 31 October, no catalogue.
1992 Bonn, Bonner Kunstverein, Giulio Paolini. Impressions graphiques. Das graphische Werk 1967-1992, 24 February - 29 March (catalogue Impressions graphiques. L’opera grafica 1967-1992 di Giulio Paolini [Turin: Marco Noire Editore, 1992], cat. no. 4).
1993 Winterthur, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Giulio Paolini. Impressions graphiques. Das druckgraphische Werk 1967-1992, 16 January - 7 March (catalogue Impressions graphiques. L’opera grafica 1967-1992 di Giulio Paolini [Turin: Marco Noire Editore, 1992], cat. no. 4).
1995 Lisbon, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian / Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão, Giulio Paolini. Impressions graphiques. Múltiplos e Obra Gráfica 1969-1995, 16 March - 28 May, repr. in the exhibition brochure (version Quam raptim ad sublimia) (catalogue Impressions graphiques. L’opera grafica 1967-1992 di Giulio Paolini [Turin: Marco Noire Editore, 1992], cat. no. 4).
1996 Apolda, Kunsthaus Apolda Avantgarde, Giulio Paolini. Impressions graphiques, 27 September - 27 October (catalogue Impressions graphiques. L’opera grafica 1967-1992 di Giulio Paolini [Turin: Marco Noire Editore, 1992], cat. no. 4).
1997 Göppingen, Kunsthalle, Giulio Paolini. Impressions graphiques. Das graphische Druckwerk 1967-1995, 9 March - 13 April (catalogue Impressions graphiques. L’opera grafica 1967-1992 di Giulio Paolini [Turin: Marco Noire Editore, 1992], cat. no. 4).
2003 Milan, Fondazione Prada, Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, 29 October - 18 December, cited in the checklist of exhibited works p. 402, repr. p. 271 (version Quam raptim ad sublimia); exhibited version Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?.
2011 Venice, Padiglione Italia, Arsenale di Venezia, La Biennale di Venezia: 54. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte. L'arte non è Cosa Nostra, 4 June - 27 November, mentioned as exhibited p. 472, not repr. (reproduced as part of the work Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?, 1969-70, GPC-0172, p. 473), referred to in the text by M. Vallora pp. 46, 48; version Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?.
G. Paolini in the interview with J. Lageira, “Ni le soleil ni la mort”, in Digraphe 48 (Paris), June, 1989, p. 132, in French; republished in Giulio Paolini. La voce del pittore – Scritti e interviste 1965-1995, edited by M. Disch (Lugano: ADV Publishing House, 1995), pp. 252-253, in Italian.
G. Paolini in the interview with M. Disch (1995), in Giulio Paolini. La voce del pittore, op. cit. (Lugano: 1995), pp. 296-297.
Didattica, exhibition catalogue, Modigliana, Ente Premio Silvestro Lega (Modigliana: Accademia degli Incamminati, 1975), repr. n. pag. (version Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?).
Impressions graphiques. L’opera grafica 1967-1992 di Giulio Paolini (Turin: Marco Noire Editore, 1992), cat. no. 4, repr. (version Quam raptim ad sublimia, erroneously titled “Giulio Paolini”).
M. Disch, Giulio Paolini. Catalogo ragionato 1960-1999, vol. 1 (Milan: Skira editore, 2008), cat. no. 183 p. 198, not repr.
M. Minini, Scritti (Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2021), p. 155, not repr.
P. Repetto, ”Oltre il visibile”, in Giulio Paolini. O.D.E., exhibition catalogue, Monforte d’Alba, Castello di Perno (Alba: Fondazione Mancini Carini, 2022), p. 26, not repr.
G. Schiavon, O.D.E.: genesi dell’opera, ibid., p. 66.
S. Smets, “Looking at Latin 1911–1965–2019”, in Jolcel 8 (Ghent), biannual online journal, 2023, pp. 117-118, repr. p. 117 (version Quam raptim ad sublimia).
Entry by Bettina Della Casa and Maddalena Disch, 14/06/2024