Alessandra Spranzi’s cedar at P420

A solo exhibition by Alessandra Spranzi is ongoing at P420 in Bologna (Egli rincorre i fatti come un pattinatore principiante, che per di più si esercita dove è vietato), featuring recent works from the last two years from the Esercizi series. The exhibition is accompanied by an artist’s book. At the entrance of the gallery, white and green curtains frame the passage to P420, emitting a scent of twilight and afternoon naps, as it is declared by the artist. The taste of salt is palpable, recalling children wrapped in their towels on beach chairs, awaiting the journey home while their mother washes their toys in the sea. A long breath, an atmosphere of mature summer pervades the room.

Alessandra Spranzi, “Egli rincorre i fatti come un pattinatore principiante, che per di più si esercita dove è vietato”, installation view, 2023, photo Carlo Favero, courtesy P420, Bologna

The visual narrative is marked by the incessant counterpoint of two video installations, Palleggi, where a boy plays in the field, and a girl plays against the wall in the courtyard. On the same wall, the photograph Due mele rosse sul tavolo overlaps, as if the children, tired at the table, had found in the apple’s center the pretext to begin a game. Summer lingers in the air, warm and sultry. On the other wall of the first room, we find the cedar, a fruit that, as children at the market, captivates with its baroque, yellow, and strange nature, often escaping the attention of adults. Similarly, they seem to ignore the passage of a white horse through the city in the video installation Egli. A cavallo.

Alessandra Spranzi, “Agrumi sul tavolo di cemento (Esercizi)”, 2022-2023, color photograph, cm.18.7 x 25.3, ed.3+2AP, photo by Carlo Favero, courtesy of the artist and P420, Bologna

Alessandra’s mastery lies in giving objects a frame, a focus, illuminating them. Each element is not just a still life but, as in Petanque, it tells of a game just concluded, captured in the moment when the movement is still tangible. In other cases, as in Tovaglia al vento, you can even perceive the sound of objects moving or being moved. Alessandra frames them, inviting us to look, making a tablecloth pushed by the wind or the passage of a white horse magnetic. From one room to another, you hear the sound of a girl practicing the piano, still at the first notes, with fingers getting used to the sheet music. A symphony that accompanies Spranzi’s work on the other side of the wall, both engaged in different exercises. A labor, a creation.

Alessandra Spranzi, “Metronomo (non farlo)”, 2023, color digital video and sound, 1’34”, ed.3+2AP, courtesy of the artist and P420, Bologna

Crossing the curtains, you enter the second room. The small cup resonates, tormented by the bored cutlery, in the video installation Metronomo (non farlo). It seems like there are bored kids at the table, playing with cutlery or with the center of gravity, like the Cinque bicchieri sul tavolo, stacked one on top of the other. Always on the edge, like the photographs of chairs teetering. Childish nonchalance, perhaps created by the children themselves, also emerges in Noce in equilibrio nel piatto bianco, where childish genius places a walnut in perfect balance on the plate. A gesture that an adult would hardly perform. Spheres also emerge as a recurring element, a Euclidean will: play balls, Petanque boules, sea potatoes on the beach, oranges on the table. Perhaps it is the perfection sought by Philibert de l’Orme, the desire for everything to close in a circle, for every exercise to find conclusion after a beginning, struggles, and indecision. The sphere gives meaning and logic, avoiding indeterminacy, making us accept that nothing has been done in vain.

Alessandra Spranzi, “Egli rincorre i fatti come un pattinatore principiante”, che per di più si esercita dove è vietato, installation view, 2023, photo Carlo Favero, courtesy P420, Bologna

The exhibition evokes the image of the table, the game of nuts, apples, glasses. It recalls the summer spent with parents, salty skin. Children playing against walls, overheated and alone. Like a piano melody, an exercise that seems like a habit. Bored at grandma’s house, in the garden, and the tablecloth fluttering. An ode to existence in its smallness, often overlooked by our gaze. The invitation is to linger in front of a cedar when the opportunity arises.


Alessandra Spranzi. Egli rincorre i fatti come un pattinatore principiante, che per di più si esercita dove è vietato
11/11/2023 – 20/01/2024
Via Azzo Gardino, 9, Bologna


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