When an institution publicly presents an exhibition aiming to frame Italian contemporary art up, the concept of national identity and a sense of belonging changes abruptly, moving ahead despite an initial vision, modifying itself instantly, and becoming, within its own immediacy, overexposed. A shift underlying the limit of a new, small genre extinction, and including an identity crisis. But after all, in these last years, “could we perhaps know which kind of art is allowed to improve Man if we do not know who we are?” (Socrates, Alcibiades Major 128 C – 129 B). A plausible answer to this question, despite the initial premises, could be provided by the multiform collective exhibition entitled “That's IT! On the last generation of Italian artists one meter eighty from the border”, curated by Lorenzo Balbi. Director who recently inaugurated the new era for MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art in Bologna.
Starting from his subtitle, “That's IT!” quotes some verses of “Art and Borders” by Bruno Munari (Codice ovvio, 1971): “In Italy art has to be Italian / in Polish Poland / in Turkish Turkey and if a Turk goes to paint in Poland / what art do you have to do? / and if Poland occupies the Turkey? in Italian and Italian art at one meter eighty from the French border? [...]”
In order to follow the imminence of this statement, Balbi, inside Sala delle Ciminiere, selects 56 artists, who was born between 1980 and 1996. At an early state of the project development, the curator/director selected a nucleus of ten artists in order to capture and nurture an emerging Italian brand new citizenry; a number which has considerably increased, along the last months, reaching a total number of about 40 boys and only 17 girls. A kind of community aiming to transform the concept of Italian identity not properly as a convention, but rather as an identity document. Being Italians, indeed, along the crowded exhibition path at MAMbo, it becomes a sur-real passport, which demagnetizes continuously and has to be replaced by unnecessary ascents connected to identification rules; origins changing every plausible validity, from artwork to artwork, and tracing, albeit with some differences, boasting also foreign artists operating in Italy. The twentieth-century collections belonging to the Bolognese museum, in parallel, while representing a cultural heritage and a testimony in time, seem to create dialogue at a distance, with “That's IT!” (IT as the European Union code identifying Italy) seeming to stare itself watching, namely creating dialectical systems sometimes closed and sometimes open, but still intra-generational.
Although the selection of “That's IT!” propose the most representative works of 56 different artists, who have spontaneously decided how to present themselves, does not create analogies, but on the contrary provokes redundancy, amplifying media entropies and reading keys that make its inner voice incomprehensible, inaudible; finally underlining the multi-individuality of theoretical and thematic trends.
The overall mapped geography composed by the artworks, once installed within high-density spaces, does not allow the visitors a proper, meditative time for themselves. A special visiting experience enhancing, for example, an in-depth research about the projects specifically produced by the museum and conceived for the occasion, enhancing different cultural layers and production processes related to Contemporaneity. Despite a metaphorical visual prism, created by photographs, LED signs, sound interventions, interactive installations, sculptures, performances and works on paper, arranged without barriers, some works describe Italy as a socio-political landscape adhering to it. On an opposite point of view, other artworks more abstract, totally avoid any adherence, as happens for the multivideo intervention presented by Margherita Moscardini (1xUnknown (1942-2018, to Fortress Europe with Love), 2012-2018) dedicated to the Atlantic Wall, a defensive line of 15000 fortifications built along the European Atlantic coast, from the Pyrenees to Norway. This sort of screening flow, were created by the artist as sculptures in themselves and analysed through their spatial presence. How, for example, to identify the last generation of artists in Italy, through monumental bronze works (Margherita Raso, Bianco Miele, 2016), casts of precedents, more courageous installations? Or how framing an upcoming generation, through well-known works such as the three-channel video installation by Danilo Correale (We Are Making History, 2010) or Catch Me When I Fall (2004, M2V, 10'02 "and 2'26") by Invernomuto?
The latest, and pioneering practices are grafted inside very well-coded alter-egos forged by Diego Marcon (ToonsTune (Four Pathetic Movements), 2016) and Beatrice Marchi (Ruffiana la Mafalda, 2017) or evidenced by the Wall Painting (2018) by Ian Tweedy, which manages to dispel the very identity of the grouping. A specimen proof needful for any community: while assuming a consciousness about itself, it slowly and necessarily modifies its awareness, in the course of historical, social, cultural, economic, linguistic and demographic processes in which a totality becomes movement.
- That’s IT! On the last generation of Italian artists one meter eighty from the border
- Opening dates:
- 11 November 2018
- Curated by:
- Lorenzo Balbi
- MAMbo – Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna
- via Don Minzoni 14, Bologna