fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Linda Gazzera
La Biennale di Venezia

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Linda Gazzera

1890, Italy – 1942, Brazil

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

When Linda Gazzera was just twenty-one, Turin psychologist Enrico Imoda concluded that she was the greatest Italian medium of her generation. With Imoda’s endorsement, Gazzera spent 1908 and 1909 performing in esoteric circles throughout Europe. To ward off doubts, she would change in the presence of her hostess and allow other guests to prepare the “spirit cabinet,” an area marked off by drapery where the apparitions manifested. Gazzera would then go into a trance, taking instructions from her spirit guide: a cavalry officer named “Vincenzo,” who would tell stories of other souls, orchestrate their appearances, and order the taking of photos that were treated as clinical evidence for many years, sparking strong reactions from international scientists. The nineteen prints in the so-called Imoda Album (1909) were assembled by Gazzera’s mentor as a gift for the well-known doctor and anthropologist Cesare Lombroso. The medium appears surrounded by a series of “ectoplasms:” flat silhouettes of hands, flowers, or faces surrounded by voluminous drapery. Rather than currents of occult energy, they look like cutouts painted by some skilled hand. Rather than backing up Imoda’s pseudo-scientific claims, these photos are now traces of a fascinating hoax, showing how the body could become a very convincing theatre of magic. 

Stefano Mudu


Enrico Imoda, Album, 1909. Contains photographs of seances held in Turin between 1908 and 1909 with the medium Linda Gazzera. Eighteen gelatin silver prints and one albumen print, in different sizes, inserted in a cardboard album, 14 × 19 × 2 cm. Donated to Cesare Lombroso by the physician Enrico Imoda. Archive of the “Cesare Lombroso” Museum of Criminal Anthropology, University of Turin. © “Cesare Lombroso” Museum  

Central Pavilion
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