contemporary art / history of art

Bologna ART CITY 2020 – 13 Proposals

In these days, the Bolognese art week started. Besides the traditional Arte Fiera, Italy’s oldest enduring art fair, there are many collateral events throughout the city and around. This year’s program of the ART CITY is once more larger than in the preceding years. There are 22 main projects and a special one, coordinated by Area Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, the Instituzione Bologna Musei guided by the MAMbo’s artistic director Lorenzo Balbi. Additionally, numerous galleries, associations and other initiatives, including the Cinema Lumière (Fondazione Cineteca) with a rich program of suiting films participate. In consequence, the official guide lists 126 venues.

If this is not enough, there will be a new alternative art fair, the first edition of BOOMing and the restructured SetUp will be no longer a tradeshow, but an exhibition featuring artists of its expo past. To be expected are many other initiatives by single artists and art lovers or cooperations. All these activities will find their highlight in the White Night, on Saturday 25th January, when the venues stay open until midnight. It’s worth to take the time to stroll through the city, perhaps with the main program as guide, but keep the eyes open to find surprises here and there. To date, we visited some of the early bird exhibitions, to propose our first impressions. Attention: the starred exhibitions are only visible during the time of the Arte Fiera!


Labs Gallery – Partiture illeggibili

Galleria de’Foscherari – Michele Zaza – Segreto Cosmico

Villa delle Rose – Muntadas. Interconnessioni

Galleria d’Arte Maggiore – Vasco Bendini – Historic works

Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna – 3 Body Configurations: Claude Cahun, Valie Export, Ottonella Mocellin

Otto Gallery – Urs Lüthi – Aus der Serie der großen Gefühle

L’Ariete Contemporaneo – Luca Lanzi ‘Layer’

Museo Davia Bargellini – Via libera per volare – Antonello Ghezzi with Luigi Mainolfi

Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica – Donatella Lombardo. Partiture Mute. Note margine

Parco Commerciale Borgo Mascarella / Ristorante IKO – BLOB-OUT*

MAMbo – Sala delle Ciminiere – AGAINandAGAINandAGAINand

VRUMS – WHAT IF – La riproducibilità tecnica nell’epoca dell’opera d’arte*

Autostazione – “Sono ancora qua” – SetUp to be continued*


Partiture illeggibili
Labs Gallery
Via Santo Stefano 28, Bologna

14 December 2019 – 22 February 2020

The first part of the exhibition “Partiture illeggibili” is on view at the gallery; the second part will be visible at the gallery’s booth at the Arte Fiera. Each show is featuring three female artists from different generations, hence with different background and approaches. Nevertheless, the venue in Via Santo Stefano with Nina Carini, Leila Mirzakhani and Greta Schödl is a harmonious poetic ensemble despite the dichotomies.

Michele Zaza – Segreto Cosmico
Galleria de’Foscherari
Via Castiglione 2b, Bologna

14 December 2019 – 14 March 2020

Although composed by single works, Michele Zaza’s cosmic secrets appears as a whole, which lets the visitor immerse into an unknown universe. Elements of the name giving video installation from 2018 are to be found in the older photo series “Universo estrano” from 1976. The exhibition is completed by “Cielo abitato” from 1985, photographic double portraits surrounded by enigmatic forms, which also remind elements from the video installation.

Muntadas. Interconnessioni.
Villa delle Rose
Via Saragozza 228/230, Bologna

18 January – 22 March 2020

Antonio Muntadas establishes in his first solo exhibition in an Italian museum interconnections between not always obvious contexts. Personal sensitive experiences (Subsensory Experiences: actions and activities, installation 1971-73) are juxtaposed to tactile encounters in public space, in particular during trade exchanges (Mercados, Calles, Estaciones, video, 1973-1974). Photographic ensembles unite architectures, interior spaces with gestures, to reveal mechanisms of power (Architektur / Räume / Gesten II, photos, 1988 – 2017). The video projection “On Translation: On View” (2004) is one of three films associated to the “Asian Protocols” showing peoples silhouettes in a public waiting area. Perennial gestures like using the smartphone underline a constantly connected society. At the same time, they present the contrast between public and privacy. There are many other works, which focus on communication, media and globalisation. In doing so, Muntadas reflects on our contemporary society and challenges the visitor to get involved with the artworks. A guideline could be the interrogatives in the entry hall (Project, 9 digital prints, 2007).

Vasco Bendini – Historic works
Galleria d’Arte Maggiore
Via d’Azeglio 15, Bologna

17 January – 16 February 2020

After his studies under Giorgio Morandi and Virgilio Guidi at the Accademia di Belli Arti in Bologna, Vasco Bendini’s figurative elements vanish progressively. As precursor of the Informal in Italy, he was co-initiator of the Arte Povera. The works on view range from the end of the 1950s until the 1970s. However, bright colours appear as well as muted ones, there are pure paintings, canvasses with additives like colour powder or sand and also mixed techniques including other objects at all times.

3 Body Configurations: Claude Cahun, Valie Export, Ottonella Mocellin
Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna
Via delle Donzelle, Bologna

18 January – 18 April 2020

The exhibition “3 Body Configurations” is featuring three female artists. Claude Cahun (France, 1894-1954) questioned gender in her photography in research for her own identity, influenced by surrealism. On view are mostly small format self-portraits. Whereas the photos of her younger colleagues are large-sized. The works by Valie Export (Austria, 1940) in the show are relating body language with the urban ambience and Ottonella Mocellin (Italy, 1966) visualises conflicts, emotions and the dialogue within human relations.

Urs Lüthi – Aus der Serie der großen Gefühle
Otto Gallery
Via d’Azeglio 55, Bologna

18 January – 10 April 2020

In painting and sculpture, the Otto Gallery presents extracts of Urs Lüthi’s series about strong emotions. Older depictions from the 1980s are contrasted by sculptures that are more recent. However, in common is the ironic way. Often, the pictures juxtapose or overlap the female and the masculine, while the statuettes are satirical self-portraits.

Luca Lanzi ‘Layer’
L’Ariete Contemporaneo
Via d’Azeglio 42, Bologna

18 January – 26 February 2020

Also the Gallery Ariete Contemporaneo brings images to sculpture face to face in a solo show. While the monochrome three-dimensional representations are mostly figurative, the pictures are primarily abstract colourful compositions. Thereof results a fortunate interplay, which addresses the perception of beauty.

Via libera per volare – Antonello Ghezzi with Luigi Mainolfi
Museo Davia Bargellini and other venues
Strada Maggiore 44, Bologna

22 January – 1 March 2020

Inspired by the narration “Il semaforo blu” (The blue traffic light) by Gianni Rodari and the Luigi Mainolfi’s installation “Per quelli che volano” (For those who fly) the artist duo Antonello Ghezzi conceived with Luigi Mainolfi a course of installations throughout the city of Bologna. The starting point is in the Museo Davia Bargelli (City Museum of Industrial Art), where the works of the artists communicate with the historic items on view. Pay attention, sometimes the pieces are hidden in-between the main exhibition parts. In the courtyard of the Palazzo d’Accursio at the Piazza Maggiore is an installation of blue traffic lights. Other venues are at the Airport Guglielmo Marconi (Marconi Lounge), in the polyclinic Sant’Orsola (Department of paediatrics) and the Casa della Conoscenza in Casalecchio di Reno.

Donatella Lombardo. Partiture Mute. Note margine.
Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica di Bologna
Strada Maggiore 34, Bologna

22 January – 23 February 2020

With the exhibition, “Mute scores. Side notes.” some of templates of musical notations preserved in the international Music Museum and Library return to this place in form of artworks. Donatella Lombardo reproduced 20 compositions of female composers form the middle ages up to the early 20th century. Printed on upholstered segmental linen arches, these ancient female creations, nowadays often forgotten, are on focus once again. In adding embroidery and wooden bobbins, the artist refers to the mainly female handicrafts, another traditional possibility for women of to express creativity. Additionally to the series “Partiture Mute” from 2016, Donatella created two new series: one where she translates music into embroidery and another one, which makes some of her own compositions visible and palpable.

Parco Commerciale Borgo Mascarella / Ristorante IKO
Via Stalingrado 71, Bologna

22 – 26 January 2020

Like a huge octopus, the monumental installation by Basmati Film and Ditraverso blobs out of the windows of the building of the Japanese Restaurant. Its arms twine to the ground and embrace the house. Even though appearing organic, the air hoses are made of a semi-transparent synthetic cloth. By illuminations and video projections, accentuated by music composed by Pasquale Sorrentino the object seems to be a living organism. This ephemeral artwork is conceived to change the perception of the urban plant. Thereby it reflects the history of the commercial park, once constructed to requalify the quarter and designed as unusual single buildings. Especially during night, the huge installation is impressive and a stop when coming from the Arte Fiera or an excursion to the outskirts of the city might be the occasion to try the delicious sushi inside.

MAMbo – Sala delle Ciminiere
Via Don Minzoni 14, Bologna

23 January – 3 May 2020

In the Modern Art Museum of Bologna, seven international artists deal with repetition. Although in ancient philosophies and some religions the circular worldview is quite common, the western world was characterised by a linear one. Since some years, a change of this paradigm seems to emerge. Not least caused by the technical media revolution. Hence, the MAMbo dedicates a whole exhibition to the eternal loop, where artists approach the theme sociologically, philosophically, religiously and ecologically. While the Greek painter Apostolos Georgiou depict situations where people are captured in the daily live routine, Ragnar Kjartansson from Iceland invites to follow the never changing attempts of an approach between two young people in a French village of the 1950s. “Bonjour” is a huge installation with an ongoing performance of the two actors. In the side halls around, there are other artworks (video and sculpture) pointing to the loop by the British artists Cally Spooner, Susan Philipsz and Ed Atkins, Luca Francesconi (Italy) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand).

WHAT IF – La riproducibilità tecnica nell’epoca dell’opera d’arte*
VRUMS – Virtual Reality Art Rooms
Via Zaccherini Alvisi 8, Bologna

23 – 26 January 2020

For the occasion of Art City, the recently inaugurated museum of virtual reality opens its doors for the public, with free entrance during the days of the Arte Fiera. With the allusion to Walter Benjamin’s historic essay about the artwork in the age of mechanical reproduction, the VRUMS wants to start, where the classical definition of an artwork ends. The visitor is invited to make his/her own experience in the virtual space. There are four proposals to travel in a reality of the past, a projection of the future or in a fantasy world. One voyage brings us into the Casa Malaparte, the mystical villa on the Capri Island, where Brigitte Bardot used to take a sunbath and Alberto Savinio housed his ceramics. Virtual architectures are accessible in the unit of Casa do ut do, where one can walk through designs of 13 famous architects and artists such as Alberto Biagetti, Daniel Libeskind, Renzo Piano and Nanda Vigo. Another expedition is into the labyrinth of Enrico T. De Paris. Here the visitor becomes an active part of the artwork. Moreover, one might fly with Freak Antoni over Bologna, accompanied by the music of Ludovico Einaudi.

“Sono ancora qua” – SetUp to be continued*
Piazza XX Settembre 6, Bologna

24 – 26 January 2020

After the seventh edition of the SetUp Contempory Art Fair in 2019, the director-duo Zannoni-Gavoldi announce that there will be no trade show with this title in 2020. So far so true! Nevertheless, the SetUp comes out in a new guise. After many positive signs of encouragement and support, Alice Zannoni decided to send out an optimistic message for the future, even though the art fair could not continue in its old format, due to financial problems. 24 artists and artists groups donated their artworks to organise an exhibition. Additionally, faithful collectors are backing. Resulting is a sales exhibition in the, for the SetUp historical space of the Autostazione di Bologna. This underlines that the SetUp is still there and goes on to promote and support young emerging artists and galleries.