contemporary art / history of art

Art in Autumn 2023: 4 + 1

Summer is over and the new exhibition season has started. In a first tour, we visited five exhibitions, four in Bologna and one in Florence.


Galleria B4: Tamas Podraczky, Giovanni Buffa – Sulla ruota del tempo

Gallleriapiù: Felicity Hammond – Deposits

C2: L’orMa – Opere Esplosive!

CAR DRDE: Alessandro Roma – Il tutto per non traballare troppo

P420: Monika Stricker – Beastly Arboretum


Tamas Podraczky, Giovanni Buffa – Sulla ruota del tempo
Galleria B4, Bologna

14 September – 11 October 2023

Under the fitting title “On the wheel of time” the Galleria B4 exposes two artists in a double personal show. With the works on paper by Giovanni Buffa (1921-2021) one might travel back in art history. Several images remind Paul Klee, but not without the personal touch of the student of Accademia delle Belle Arti of Bologna. Guided by renown artists like V. Guidi, G. Morandi, P. Mandelli and P. Manaresi Giovanni Buffa was also influenced by his journeys to the five continents and his long stays in South Africa and Somalia. An artist who merits to be rediscovered.

Even though more than half a century younger, the in Hungary born Tamas Podraczky (1979), knows the formal language of the classical sculpture. Despite the memory of ancient times, there are abstract and contemporary elements in his clay statuettes, which accompany us into a mystical experience. Both artists carry us off into different times and worlds.

Felicity Hammond – Deposits
Gallleriapiù, Bologna

20 September – 18 November 2023

On the occasion of the third edition of the PhMuseum Days (International Photography Festival in Bologna), the Gallleriapiù invited the British artist Felicity Hammond. Recognised for her combinations of photography and installation, Hammond mounted her pictures in structures, which remind construction or extraction sites. This so created ambiance is suitable to the image content. On view are illustrations reflecting on the impact of exploitation of natural resources and their commercialisation. However, in contrast to the surface mining photos by Josef Koudelka or John Myers, the artist illustrates the consequences in our landscapes and in our lives by digital collages. In doing so, she creates impossible landscapes and creatures from well-known materials, often waste products. Hereby, she generates fantastic worlds, with some elements recalling the devasted landscapes taken by the two renown photographers, like the central outlook in “Screening”, C-print, 2023.

L’orMa – Opere Esplosive!
C2, Florence (in collaboration with Spazio Testoni Project, Bologna)

22 September – 26 October 2023

In the new solo show “Explosive Artworks” the Florentine Gallerie C2, in collaboration with the Bolognese Spazio Testoni Project, presents a selection of works by L’orMa (Lorenzo Mariani). There are older and more recent objects. However, they have all in common that they express a certain ambiguity. This is not surprising, regarding the destabilisations of the last years: financial crises, pandemic and war in Europe, not to forget the climate crisis. Without a direct visual approach, the uncertainties are manifest. There is a harmonic flower meadow with a dandelion turned upside down; in another landscape floats a paper boat, it is cut in two halves; a splendid carriage is drawn by four horses, but in two different directions.

Furthermore, there are works influenced by the digital world: a wonderful peacock named “Selfie” and a porcelain vase, rotating on a base. However, it is more a disc of the middle of the vase. Another piece is inspired by the children’s novel Pinocchio: a chimney in form of the Mangiafuoco (Fire-Eater). In the novel he is portrayed as gruff and imposing and at the same time able to show kindness and compassion. L’orMa’s chimney shows the features of the terrifying puppeteer and is at the same time a source of warmth.

The most irritation object in the exhibition is a castle, freely inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle. The white building is floating in front of a black background. The mountains are turned upside down under the construction like roots. Is the fortress shortly before landing to give us shelter or will it fly away?

Alessandro Roma – Il tutto per non traballare troppo
CAR DRDE, Bologna

23 September – 4 November 2023

Alessandro Roma’s exhibition “This all is for not wobbling too much” at the CAR DRDE Gallery, is much more than a curated accumulation of artworks. In fact, it is a Gesamtkunstwerk, where the artist united his personal forms of expression, where the single pieces intertwine. First, there are the paintings: dreamlike representations, snapshots in form and colour. Beginning with Roma’s predominant technique painting in tempera and acrylic, he adds colour spray and in part pieces in clay. They are joined by ceramics, which adopt to some extent colours or forms of the paintings. Noteworthy is a lamp that combines both techniques: the stand is made of ceramic and the lampshade is a painted fabric.

The ensemble is accentuated by the site-specific wall paintings. These propagate nearly the whole exhibition space and affiliate forms of the other artworks. However, their colour scheme is in pastel shades. Thus, the other pieces with their strong tones are highlighted, but also anchored.

Monika Stricker – Beastly Arboretum
P420, Bologna

23 September – 4 November 2023

Monika Stricker’s Beasty Arboretum also includes paintings and ceramics. Though they are presented in the large white halls of the Gallery P420. At first glance, the ceramics have no relation to the paintings. A closer examination reveals that there is one. There are three oil paintings depicting nudes in cumbersome postures. Even though, the gender is not obvious, one might assume that they are masculine, particularly regarding the artist’s older works, where she represented faceless men with open legs, deprived of a penis. In the recent works, the lack of masculinity is not so obvious, because the posture hides the inguinal region in most cases. Nevertheless, the shortage of male groin is compensated by the ceramics, which represent this special region from different angles and in unrealistic colours.

The other works show – in a relatively classical execution – animals, mostly monkeys and a dog. However, the “Shepherd Dog” has human appeal by its overlong torso. Moreover, there are monkey mothers in intimate situations with their babies: this is another connection to the confidential depictions in cumbersome postures and the male groins in ceramic. The primate “Playmate” reminds the nudes from earlier in the colour shade and the attitude, even though it is only a portrait. Additionally, his face has human features. On the contrary, his conspecific “King of the Road” is by his face a monkey, but his body posture appears very human.

Notwithstanding, the formal connects in Monika Stricker’s Beasty Arboretum are not so obvious like in Alessandro Roma’s exhibition, the single artworks are intertwined with each other and refer to the work of the artist as a whole.