Andrea Bianconi
Curated by Alice Zannoni
In collaboration with Barbara Davis Gallery Houston – Texas and with the support of Casa Testori
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 Casa Testori, 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.

Download here the initiative leaflet.

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Posted on: 29 October 2021, by : Alessandro Ulleri