The “New Space / New Entries” exhibition at Fondazione Venturoli Collegio Artistico presents the works created by Barbara Baroncini, Irene Fenara, Giacomo Gresleri, Simona Paladino and Davide Trabucco during a period they spent there as scholarship recipients of the artistic residency, whose works become part of the College’s collection. But let’s take a step back. For those who do not know the Foundation, it is appropriate to first explain that it was founded way back in 1822 “with the legacy and according to the will of the authoritative Bolognese architect Angelo Venturoli (1749-1821), who gave residence and teaching to young students in the sector of the Arts”. Located in one of the oldest and most strategic areas of Bologna, via Centotrecento, the college has always supported young artists, going through important and difficult historical events, such as the two world wars.
What to say? A great story! Even more incredible, however, was for me to discover and then explore the spaces of the College for the first time a few weeks ago. In fact, in addition to currently hosting the “New Spaces / New Entries” exhibition, the building is presented to the public restored and regenerated thanks to Nicola Melinelli’s intervention, aimed at enhancing and preserving the soul of the place, which contains years of history, changes and infinite art works. “The first work was the garden” he explains to me during our meeting “it was in an almost abandoned situation and so I started from there, from scratch, apart from the trees, which were already present. Here, today, there are many varieties of plants”. What appears before me, in fact, is a real work on biodiversity. Some plants are already rooted, while others only time will tell us what movements they will acquire. Then we moved inside the College, first crossing the space that now hosts the exhibition. As Nicola explains to me, it is a place originally used for the conservation of plaster casts, which have currently found a location in another room in the area. “The objective we set ourselves during the works was to respect as much as possible atmosphere of the environment and the attempt to recover and preserve some of the history of the College. For example, there are three different floor levels. I tried to preserve them all by creating this sort of unique geography where I could”.
The room which today we can define as a plaster cast gallery, is in close dialogue with the garden and its light, which is filtered by the enormous glass window that separates the two places. Here too, at an exhibition level, it has been chosen to currently show only part of the college’s vast collection. The tour continues, between rooms with Austrian frescoes and ancient statues. The president also joined us, and he told me other secrets that I will not reveal here, otherwise I would take away the most beautiful part of being able to physically visit such a sacred place. Collegio Venturoli is therefore a unique, renovated and rich location that hosts one of the most interesting and engaging exhibitions in Bologna.
Returning to the exhibition, finally, among the works that most struck me we certainly find the photographic documentation of Barbara Baroncini‘s 2014 work, Contare sulle persone. This is an installation generated by a system that projected a number onto the architecture of the College as each visitor entered the courtyard. The facade was filled with a pattern of numbers as a representation of each person’s presence. The public was the protagonist and entrusted with the creation of the work, having the possibility of redefining the place and feeling part of it.
Continuing we meet one of the now best-known Bolognese artists, namely Irene Fenara, present with her work Supervisione (2023). It is the altered super vision of a machine that sees the world around it autonomously, also through the physical presence of its lens. Acid colors and giant pixels are just one of the ways they see surveillance cameras, environmental control tools accessible remotely using standard security codes never changed by the owners.
Finally Senza titolo by Simona Paladino, a work-book from 2012 which collects some of the artist’s graphic research on paper. “Each page constitutes a variation on the concept of the dot, which has been traced, imprinted or drawn with different tools. The point is a dimensionless geometric entity, barely perceptible. As a punctuation mark it indicates a pause, a moment of silence. The dot is the graphic sign that comes closest to degree zero, to absence. The pages were perforated, engraved, punched: actions that generate light thicknesses on the paper, just a few millimetres, but sufficient to alter the two-dimensionality of the sheet. From flat and abstract surfaces, the pages become like very thin sculptures, where a sliver of shadow reveals the pattern of signs that are imprinted on them”.
NEW SPACES | NEW ENTRIES
Barbara Baroncini, Irene Fenara, Giacomo Gresleri, Simona Paladino, Davide Trabucco
Fondazione Collegio Artistico Venturoli
Via Centotrecento 4, Bologna
21/10/2023 – 15/12/2023
www.fondazionecollegioventuroli.org / email@example.com
She was born in Genoa but currently lives in Bologna, the city where she graduated from CITEM with a thesis on video art. She works in the world of events in the production sector and is an assistant professor of Visual Studies at UNIBO.