Mauro Maffezzoni has taken art history as his starting point and reinterpreted what already exists, giving it a new interpretation. In this case, the artist has been nourished by the work of Romanino, a Brescian master at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who left many signs in Valle Camonica. Maffezzoni looks at local authors, interweaving events and drawing parallels, for example between the images of Romanino in Pisogne and those of Cremona Cathedral, where the artist lives. With a fresh, quick and light brushstroke, Maffezzoni has made a return to tradition, studying the history of art and, a little, his own, recovering his family’s Camunian origins.
Untitled, 2016, oil on canvas, 80×100 cm Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 150×100 cm Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 80×100 cm Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 80×100 cm Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 100×100 cm Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 70×100 cm Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 70×70 cm
The town is in the eye of the viewer at least as much as the inhabitant. Sending a photographer to look for “his/her” Edolo means expecting an unexpected portrait of those same villages, faces and streets. Marina Lorusso has not failed to live up to expectations and in this gallery of shots she has been able to participate in each place with the overbearing immediacy that has always characterised her investigative work. These are photos of great character, in which the author threw herself into an unsparing battle in search of the timeless truth of these stones. The result has been a gallery seemingly at the antipodes of the postcard, yet no less elegiac. These are images that sink into the ancestral truth of these houses and that, for this reason, do not fear time.
Dozens of little cloud-headed men silhouetted against the Edolo sky. They are part of Mangiamonetutti (Eat them all), an installation by Andrea Bianconi already presented in 2015 in Arezzo on the occasion of Icastica. These colourful silhouettes, hung between one building and another like flags during a village festival, invited passers-by to raise their eyes: there is not only the ground, the artist argues, people also need to nourish their mind, their spirit. Culture thus becomes the fundamental food, from which derives the paraphrase of the evangelical warning that gives the title to the intervention and that becomes an intellectual imperative.
The three oversized rocking horses made of iron – her preferred material – by Anna Turina summarise her poetics in which the world of childhood is analysed with sarcasm and disenchantment. Often in her work, in fact, the artist re-proposes in sculpture games that evoke children’s pastimes, but inserting a deformed element. In the Dondoli, the lanky structure prevents them from being used and the anthracite colour eliminates any childish references. Their oscillation, therefore, is not the exaltation of a reassuring cradle, but a prefiguration of the uncertainty and instability of adulthood.
Blocks of coloured clay emerge from the River Oglio. Wedges against the current stand out motionless in the river, which they cannot stop. The incessant water relentlessly erodes the surface, dragging fragments of earth with it. It dilutes the colour, which descends into the valley, losing its traces until it is no longer distinguishable among the waves.
They are Cervantesque archetypes, originating in the observation of the progressive erasure of all memory, all signs of time, all ugliness. Whatever has happened, whatever history has unfolded there, the houses are plastered over, the rubble removed. A coat of paint, to forget the past.
Curated by Giuseppe Frangi Castello Oldofredi, Calcio (BG) 22 April – 20 May 2018
An unexpected exhibition in a surprising place. We are in Calcio, the last strip of Bergamo territory before the border of the Oglio river. Here, in the historic Castello Oldofredi, a beautiful building with a long history that has come down to us in its eighteenth-century configuration, lives a community of Passionist nuns who welcome foreign girls. And it is here that the municipal administration, led by the mayor Elena Comendulli, wanted to organise the Culture Week. At the centre of the Week was an exhibition curated by Casa Testorithat took its cue from a beautiful verse by Alda Merini, “Tra le tue braccia non invecchia il cuore” (In your arms the heart does not grow old). Merini was linked to Calcio, because her first husband and father of her four daughters, Ettore Carniti, was from here. In this crossroads marked by a sum of female presences, the idea was to invite seven women artists to work starting from the suggestion contained in Alda Merini’s verse. A verse that also recalls the human dimension of a place where embracing and welcoming is a daily experience. In the right wing of the building, the beautiful rooms were “occupied” by seven artists who accepted Casa Testori’s invitation with a great sense of participation. They were Fatima Bianchi, Marica Fasoli, Adriana Albertini, Elena Vavaro, Michela Pomaro, Fulvia Mendini and Julia Krahn. The exhibition logo was designed by Chiara Riva.
Curated by Giuseppe Frangi Castello Oldofredi, Calcio (BG) 16 March – 7 April 2019
ANOTHER SPRING Giuseppe Frangi
It will be a clear face. Roads will open on the pine hills Cesare Pavese
A delicate, ancient sun is rising over Castello Oldofredi on the occasion of this new spring. It was embroidered by Paola Sala, one of the ten artists who accepted the invitation to take part in this new edition of Culture Week. It is a simple artefact, reminiscent of the homes of grandparents in the past, when drawers were opened by stealth and the most extraordinary magic came out. In this case, however, there is something bizarre and unexpected about the magic: the blue rays are not very obedient to an order and in the centre the writing seems to have appeared clandestinely on a wall. The charm of art is to surprise with the ability to reinvent and reinvent itself. Thus the old sewing becomes something that communicates the advent of something new.
In this case, what is new is the spring, that ‘clear face’ of the world sung by Pavese which is linked with wonderful regularity, but which each time fills us with wonder because it goes beyond the expected measure. With a certain healthy presumption, art does not want to and cannot be less. It must always have within it a “new” and must go beyond expectations. The proposal that Casa Testori has launched to the artists on the occasion of this new edition of the appointment at Castello Oldofredi is therefore not only to poetically escort the arrival of “another spring”, but to be with their works an experience of a “spring”: precisely of “another spring”.
This year the family of artists has grown: there are ten artists in this edition, with an inevitable majority female component, because we are in a place deeply permeated by the presence of women, the Passionist nuns and the girls they take in.
Calcio and its territory have an ancient heart, but they have been crossed, and in some ways even wounded, by the irruption of modernity. The landscape to which this new spring gives new life is therefore a landscape that we sometimes struggle to recognise, as if its beauty had been stolen from us. In the exhibition you can see how the artists have sometimes intercepted this sensation of a tear that has occurred, this yearning for a treasure that could slip from our hands and from our sight. And now we begin our journey.
Following the success of the previous edition, the Municipality of Calcio has once again entrusted Casa Testori with the curatorship of the exhibition held at Castello Oldofredi on the occasion of Culture Week 2019 (16-24 March). A rebirth, a new look, a change of perspective, which not only concerns nature, but also involves those who live in this world: 10 artists were invited to document with their poetic ability that happy passage in the calendar that is the beginning of spring. The exhibition, full of surprises, aimed to investigate how the artists were able to interpret this dimension of rebirth involving the landscape, the sky, nature and man, as a miracle that is faithfully renewed every spring. The approach was not only descriptive and naturalistic, but also meditative and conceptual, making the visitor not a mere spectator, but a participant in a ritual, an experience.
Irene Balia, Andrea Bruschi, Emma Ciceri, Tamara Ferioli, Marco Grimaldi, Manuel Grosso, Paola Marzoli, Giulia Pellegrini, Marco Rossi, Paola Sala
Andrea Bianconi Curated by Alice Zannoni In collaboration with Barbara Davis Gallery Houston – Texas and with the support of Casa Testori Bologna 23-26 January 2020
«Do you want to have an idea? Do you want to have an idea?» Andrea Bianconi presented his latest project A Bologna. Sit Down to Have an Idea, through a short video with a pounding rhythm to announce that from 23 to 26 January 2020, in Bologna, twenty-four armchairs in twenty-four different places in the city would be available for the public to sit down, reflect and, why not? Have an idea. Andrea Bianconi, one of the most appreciated and brilliant artists of the new contemporary generation, has conceived an event – curated by Alice Zannoni – promoted within ART CITY Segnala 2020, an institutional review of performances, exhibitions and special initiatives held in concomitance with Arte Fiera Bologna and coordinated by the Modern and Contemporary Art Area | Istituzione Bologna Musei. «A project open to the whole city and deliberately inclusive, inviting everyone, absolutely everyone, without distinction, to stop, sit down, take a break and reflect while waiting for an idea in an unusual place and at an unusual time» states Bianconi. «My art always looks at others. I love to involve the public, to make them interact with my creations, to encourage reflection and ideas, and this is what stimulates me most about my work». Realised in collaboration with Barbara Davis Gallery (Houston) and with the support of CasaTestori, the project A Bologna. Sit Down to Have an Idea focused on man, a creature capable of thinking wherever he is. Hence the universality of this performance in which the artist and art itself went to meet people and not the other way around, and reached them in the most disparate places, from the bus station to the bakery, from the restaurant to the school, even the hospital, “universal places”, places for everyone and for everyone, different places, places in which art can meet people and sow a seed for tomorrow (ideas), no matter what the colour or the area of pertinence. The inspiration came from Andrea Bianconi’s studio, where the artist keeps his “armchair of ideas”. «Every time someone comes to see me, they want to sit in my chair thinking they will be inspired. So I said to myself: why not give everyone the chance to sit down, reflect and have an idea? Having ceased to be an object that encourages idleness, the armchairs I have customised with the slogan Sit Down to Have an Idea will become a sort of ideas incubator for the duration of the event. A chair for everyone is an idea for everyone». Bologna has thus become a symbolic living room offering hospitality to ideas. Not a specific venue, therefore, but 24 exceptional and “common” places distributed throughout the city, which hosted as many armchairs, from the Duse Theatre to the post office, from the Portico di San Luca to the Feltrinelli Bookshop, from the Bus station hall to the bakery, from the Ospedale Maggiore to squares and schools. Sitting on the armchairs placed in these places meant having the courage to stop, in a historical moment in which everything runs too fast and personal value seems to be directly proportional to extreme productivity. Through his work, Bianconi instead wanted to offer time for reflection, inviting people to stop and transform the moments of waiting that fill everyday life into ideas. A gesture of generosity that configured the possibility of an intervention in tomorrow, since ideas are the embryo of the future. In the simplicity of the operation, the armchair became a privileged place of observation on the present and the future, towards oneself, towards the surrounding space and towards what is contained in this space. It is no coincidence that the etymology of the word “idea” leads back to the word “vedere” (to see), linked to that of vision, of image, of mental representation that can correspond to an object or an external reality, or can be anticipatory, intuitive of an external reality (as in the case of discoveries or inventions) or, again, can be pure fantasy, a scenario of a possible reality that does not exist in the present. In all cases, it is an expression of that extraordinary human capacity to think, to be conscious and self-aware.
On Saturday 24 January 2020, on the occasion of the Art City White Night, the rock band Control Rum performed a touring concert through the streets of the city, repeatedly performing the song created especially for A Bologna. Sit Down to Have an Idea.
Andrea Bianconi Curated by Giuseppe Frangi Cima Carega 5 July 2020
Andrea Bianconi’s artistic performance is the result of thoughts pondered during the lockdown: the search for a denied but much sought-after freedom, the desire to escape from the four walls of one’s home and go upstairs to admire the world from above. Andrea Bianconi’s latest artistic idea matured during the period in which most of humanity was forced to remain isolated: to bring art into a boundless space and from there to contaminate it in the most absolute silence. This is how the idea materialized on Sunday 5 July 2020: to take an armchair from the Sit Down to Have an Idea project to the top of a mountain, the highest peak in the small Dolomites. Spedizione Cima Carega is the new performance designed by Andrea Bianconi in collaboration with CasaTestori and the Fondazione Coppola. Together with the artist, the protagonists were a group of runners who, in 10-minute shifts, carried the armchair from Revolto refuge (1,336 metres) to Cima Carega at 2,259 metres (with a difference in altitude of 1,000 metres). A mountain far from everything, but from where one can admire a landscape that touches three different regions: Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The project is a dream come true for Andrea Bianconi. As curator Giuseppe Frangi writes in his critical text «It is a physical landscape that has probably also become a mental landscape: we can imagine that in Bianconi’s childhood dreams as a child, that mountain was the scene of who knows what kind of adventures. Given that an artist always remains a child, Andrea’s dreams today are not very different. And perhaps one of his dreams was to make the mountain an extension of his usual spaces… He has now imagined this upgrade: to take the armchair up as if it were a celebratory rite. Handing it over to the rarefied space of the mountain for safekeeping and so that, from up there, it can radiate the air below with its generous, positive emissions». One of the chairs, after invading the city of Bologna in every corner – squares, monuments, public offices, schools, restaurants – has arrived on the Cima Carega thanks to the collaboration of the Durona Teamrunners who created the Durona Trail, an extreme race from the Chiampo Valley to the Little Dolomites and the Lessinia Natural Park, with a difference in altitude of 2,800 metres. There it will remain forever, on the summit that embraces the three regions, available to those who wish to venture up to the summit and enjoy the extraordinary panorama from there. The work will be taken care of by the Fraccaroli Refuge, which has been run by the Baschera family for over 50 years. The arrival and departure point for most of the excursions in the chain, the Mario Fraccaroli Refuge (2,239 metres) is located just below Cima Carega (2,259 metres) in the municipality of Ala (province of Trento). Built in 1952, the refuge is surrounded by a panoramic terrace that sweeps over most of the Eastern Alps, from the Dolomites and the Pale di San Martino to the Brenta Dolomites, and as far as Venice and the Adriatic Sea on exceptionally clear days. Andrea Bianconi’s project has opened up spaces for new forms of art enjoyment, reaching up to the peaks where one can arrive, stop, meditate and enjoy a work of art framed by an extraordinary and infinite natural landscape.
In a summer that is more Italian than ever, Andrea Bianconi’s artistic journey continued with his project Sit Down to Have an Idea, which on 1 August 2020 landed in Tropea, candidate city for Italian Capital of Culture in 2022. The announcement came from Andrea Bianconi and the mayor of Tropea, Giovanni Macrì.
The performance in this Italian gem set on the Costa degli Dei was a sort of propitiatory rite that lit up the dawn light: at 5:15 a.m. on Saturday 1 August, a group of newly graduated students gathered in front of the Liceo Scientifico F.lli Vianeo and set off in procession to carry the armchair to Piazza del Cannone, where the work was installed. A Tropea is the fourth stage of the Sit Down To Have An Idea project by Andrea Bianconi.«A magical place, with a history stretching back thousands of years and a haunting beauty. I decided to bring the ‘armchair of ideas’ to Tropea to rest it in front of the sea» states the artist. «After Cima Carega at an altitude of 2259 metres in the Little Dolomites, I will go to Calabria, to the tip of the boot. Whoever sits in this armchair will overlook the sea, will see only the marvellous sparkle of these waters, will have peace and this feeling of infinity that can make you wish, think, and give birth to new ideas. In this marvellous and magical place, our dreams continue and my work of art has taken on a profound meaning, that of inducing people to stop, sit, reflect, imagine and… Have an idea. Never before has thinking about our future linked us to moments of well-being with nature and everything around us». «I am delighted that Andrea Bianconi wanted to make Tropea the stage for his new performance, a fine sign of attention from the world of culture and a contemporary artist whom I had the opportunity to appreciate even before» states the mayor Giovanni Macrì. «This is a wonderful gift to the city and is part of the promotion of Tropea’s candidature as Italian Capital of Culture for 2022. Tropea is receiving a great deal of international recognition for the excellent work it has done so far. Andrea Bianconi’s attention and gesture is a further sign of the role that this place wants to play in Italy and the world, as a tourist destination that combines art, culture, history and nature».
A Tropea. Sit Down to Have an Idea is an artistic project realised by Andrea Bianconi with the collaboration of Casa Testori and Fondazione Coppola, under the patronage of Regione Calabria, Comune di Tropea, Istituto Superiore Tropea Consulta Associazioni del Territorio, Pro Loco di Tropea, AS.AL.T (Associazioni Albergatori di Tropea) and AssCom Tropea (Associazione commercianti e operatori turistici di Tropea).
The project, the fourth act of Sit Down to Have an Idea, which invaded the urban spaces of Bologna during Arte Fiera, the cultural spaces of the Duse Theatre and the summit of Cima Carega, brings Andrea Bianconi’s chair to the transparent waters of beautiful Tropea. Its journey to the most unexpected and beautiful places in our country brings a profound message of hope and rebirth, of reflection on our future and the ideas we must cultivate for a better world, the need to live in harmony and respect for the planet. «I am convinced of the therapeutic function of art» syas Bianconi. «For me, bringing art into boundless spaces to contaminate them with places and visitors means giving them strong emotions and ideas that are the oxygen of our existence».
The project also pursued its charitable purpose: on the occasion of A Tropea, bandanas made by Bianconi with the inscription “Sit down to Have an Idea” were put on sale, the proceeds from which will be entirely donated to the Fondazione Ricerca Fibrosi Cistica (FFC), for over twenty years Italy’s leading research organisation on cystic fibrosis, the most widespread serious genetic disease in the country. Chaired by Matteo Marzotto, the Fondazione Ricerca Fibrosi Cistica is a non-profit organisation recognised by the MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca) as the National Agency for scientific research into cystic fibrosis, the most widespread serious genetic disease (7,000 people in Italy, 100,000 worldwide) for which there is still no conclusive cure. Cystic fibrosis is a multi-organ disease, but it is the damage to the lungs that eventually leads to no longer being able to breathe. What you are experiencing today because of Covid – masks, social distancing and hygiene precautions – is the everyday life of a cystic fibrosis patient from birth. The Foundation’s primary mission is to promote, select and fund advanced research projects to improve the quality and average lifespan of sufferers and defeat the disease. Alongside research, there is also the fundamental work of raising awareness of the disease, which in Italy has around 2.5 million healthy carriers, often unaware that they are carriers, who may conceive children with cystic fibrosis. Andrea Bianconi’s project will contribute to this and future initiatives.