Lavori in situ e situati. Daniel Buren’s installations at Palazzo della Ragione, Bergamo’s

The famous French artist, from the Institutional Critique movement, lands in Bergamo with his latest production, characterized by vertical stripes and optical fiber. A sign of rebirth - starting from culture - for a city that has experienced a health and humanitarian emergency because of Covid-19.

It was the end of the 1960s, when in Europe conceptual artists questioned themselves on the achievement of the zero degree of art. For the Frenchman Daniel Buren, reducing painting to the bone is equivalent to not painting at all, making objects already existing in reality his canvas (or a large tent applied to many supports). In those years were born the stripes that become Buren’s distinctive sign, the same with which in 1969, on the occasion of the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form, spread in the city of Bern, a signage geometry that spoke an unknown language.

More than 50 years after that date, Daniel Buren invades with his “ready-made painting” the Sala delle Capriate in Palazzo della Ragione of Bergamo: Daniel Buren. Illuminare lo spazio, lavori in situ e situati, shows a production that is renewed over time, while always remaining faithful to itself. The artist propose once again his motifs in white and colored vertical bands, each 8.7 cm wide, while exhibiting for the first time in an Italian museum works that employ fiber optics, which allows every single installation to release a light that impacts on the ancient forms of the Palace and on the frescoes preserved in it, reshaping the environments historically intended for the administration and exercise of city justice. Important is also the distinction between the definition “in situ” and “situati” (located): the first defines that meaning usually called “site specific”, that is to elaborate a work specifically for a given context. “Located”, on the other hand, defines installations adapted to the spaces of the great salon, although ideally transferable to other places.

Buren’s work - which developed at Palazzo della Ragione, the city’s most important institutional location - is interpreted as the strong hope for a rebirth of the city for which culture could play a key role, after months of isolation and closure due to the pandemic. “Although I knew Bergamo I never could visit the Palace. I discovered the room through the plants and images I received. For the first time, I had to proceed in an abstract manner”, Buren says in a conversation with the director of the museum GAMeC and exhibition’s curator Lorenzo Giusti, explaining how the last months forced him to work differently. “I am used to it differently and I know well, from experience, that when you are in a place, when you are immersed in it, you see things that photography cannot show. Here I decided to dare, to break my habits. It’s really the first time. It is a new experience dictated by events, but it is, in effect, an 'in situ' experience, even if carried forward at a distance, because the pandemic - and therefore the need for distance - are in those conditions of time and place that my work always takes into account. Not being in Bergamo physically at this moment means for me to be there, to be ‘in the place’ for all intents and purposes”.

Daniel Buren. Illuminare lo spazio, lavori in situ e situati
Daniel Buren
Curated by:
Lorenzo Giusti
Sala delle Capriate, Palazzo della Ragione, Città Alta, Bergamo
9 July – 1 November 2020

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