What importance, value, meaning can a space and activities like those headed by Palazzo Vizzani in Bologna, headquarters of the Alchemilla association, have for young artists? To get an idea, just read the introductory text by Kenny Alexander Laurence, curator of the exhibition Tu mi chiami a compiere un atto d’amore (You call me to make an act of love, promoted by Alchemilla in collaboration with Slug. Indeed, in this text, overflowing with philosophical references and impregnated with invectives against the contemporary world, the frustrated commitment of a young generation appears in all its justified vehemence, leaning towards an absent if not dystopian future, where hope would seem definitively mortified, if it weren’t precisely for the occasions made possible by realities such as Palazzo Vizzani and Alchemilla, celebrated almost like two welcoming and stimulating oases, a refuge for the much currently mistreated creativity, intelligence and empathetic sharing.
The invitation to visit this exhibition is therefore also presented as the offer of an opportunity for the viewer to find comfort and commonality in order to rise above the arid, alienating and even more fearsome atmosphere of our times. Wandering among the fascinating and large rooms of this building, one can appreciate the works of these new presences on the contemporary art scene: works ranging from sculptural installations, to audio-video, to performance. Although convergences can be traced between the approaches and gestures thus attested, each author maintains his distinct singularity.
Nicola Bianco (1993) is a poet and performer: it is to him that the exhibition Tu mi chiami a compiere un atto d’amore owes an intervention where a transparent and vermilion material is scattered in expanses of sharp points arranged on a dark floor and hit by a cold grazing light. The observer is advised not to be enchanted by the fascinating contrast between the lucore and the penumbra, in order to avoid the risk of running into the fraught threat.
On the other hand, by Riccardo De Biasi (2000), illustrator, photographer and fashion designer, with interests ranging between cultural anthropology and archeology, one can see enigmatic ceramics depicting an improbable and elegant table football and pretty esoteric story, while next to it the gaze can be captured by a container with a human head and a winged body coming from who knows what mental excavation. Somewhere then the intentionally disturbing writing appears surprisingly: “Apocalypse”.
In the same exhibition, the observer was then able to witness the passionate performance by Camilla De Siati (1997) centered on the torment of the female body, now contracted in a self-protective posture inside a sort of den dug inside a pile of salt, now exposed to the precarious search for an unspecified and fearsome elsewhere, all immersed in a more or less thick fog and a distant musical echo, both disorienting.
As for the aforementioned curator Kenny Alexander Laurence, born in Martinique in 1998, curator and essayist, as well as co-founder of the curatorial collective Slug, he makes creole, Caribbean history and postcolonial studies an important node of his interests. At Palazzo Vizzani they are expressed in a group of symbolic figures with a sprawling shape that evoke, depending on the angle chosen by the gaze, stranded and bloodless marine figures or symbols from ancestral rituals, while maintaining an indecipherable amplitude to the semantic halo thus triggered.
A true passion for tulle is instead the hallmark that distinguishes the work and performances of Rebecca Momoli (2000), ranging from drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and writing, which for the Palazzo Vizzani exhibition covered the floor of a room with a sort of oversized skirt made of graceful and tender tulle, which seems destined for a hopefully happy ceremony with a black and pointed obelisk in the centre, one might say cruel, with a marble appearance. Some critical reference to the phallocratic theme probably cannot be excluded.
Finally by Marco Resta (1997) we should mention the simple yet effective gesture, in the vaguely horror style congenial to him: an intense red light behind an eighteenth-century door ajar, almost waiting for some victim that the spectator might be afraid to embody. As he approaches and curiosity drives him to see what’s behind, he can’t help but resound the fateful: “Don’t open that door!”. Anyone who still persists and dares to hope in the union of contemporary art and young people cannot therefore miss the exhibition, where it is possible to find abundant material with which to test both prejudices and judgment abilities.
Tu mi chiami a compiere un atto d’amore
Artisti: Nicola Bianco – Riccardo De Biasi – Camilla De Siati – Kenny Alexander Laurence – Rebecca Momoli – Marco Resta
curated by Kenny Alexander Laurence
5 – 28/05/2023
Alchemilla, Palazzo Vizzani
Via Santo Stefano 43, Bologna
Valerio Romitelli (born in Bologna in 1948) taught, researched and lectured in Italy and abroad. His disciplines: History of political doctrines, History of political movements and parties, Methodology of the social sciences. Among his latest publications: L’amore della politica (2014), La felicità dei partigiani e la nostra (2017), L’enigma dell’Ottobre ‘17 (2017), L’emancipazione a venire. Dopo la fine della storia (2022).