Giovanni Scotti’s Unsustainable Visions in M...

Giovanni Scotti’s Unsustainable Visions in Milan

Innobiliare Sud Ovest. Visioni Insostenibili is the exhibition by Giovanni Scotti, curated by Lara Gaeta, on display in Milan until 21 December 2023, at Studio Lombard DCA / BBS-Lombard Milano in Viale Premuda, in collaboration with R&P Contemporary Art and with the support of MLab Group.

Giovanni Scotti, Nuova Luce GS 011, 2015, print on Hahnemühle Photorag Baryta fine art paper, dibond, white lime frame, float glass, 80×100 cm, courtesy of the artist

Through the gaze of the Neapolitan artist, a new perspective of the Campania capital is presented: the protagonist is the Bagnoli district, which Scotti defines as “the universal capital of dequalification”. From this assertion the Innobiliare Sud Ovest. Visioni Insostenibili project came to life, from the acronym ISO, “innobiliare” agency, which with a temporary headquarters in Milan, offers real estate for sale, trying to make them attractive: the former NATO base, a Cold War radar-missile defense center active until 2008, the former Italsider steelworks, one of the most important steelmaking centers in Europe until 1990 and the Sports Park, a public property recently built but never inaugurated and currently under judicial seizure, which no longer play a central role within the territory, but have become a symbol of decadence and abandonment. As it is reported in the critical text by Lara Gaeta, entitled Dialectic of Apparition: “The artist depicts Bagnoli as a border landscape, where urban, peri-urban and nature mix. It is a middle ground founded on dualisms: the inhabited and the uninhabited, wealth and the sense of precariousness, building speculation and tourist development, the flourishing industrial past and the illusory and uncertain present”.

Giovanni Scotti, ISO UN-Real Estate AD 07, Giclée fine art print on Backlight film, plexiglass, LED system, white wooden frame, 29×46 cm, courtesy of the artist

Unsustainable visions, therefore, those that the artist proposes to the spectator, who observing the works comes across apparently unreal, but real, truly existing, truly existed scenarios, which however are portrayed in such a way as to highlight the details, albeit in the contrast between architecture and nature, monumentality and silence, in order to denounce the state of degradation and abandonment with an ironic but at the same time critical approach. Irony is also expressed in the titles of some works containing the descriptions of the “innoble” advertisements: starting from the stylistic analogies of the “Real Estate Opportunities” (1970) by the American photographer Edward Ruscha, in Scotti the works become UN Real Estate Opportunities, giving voice to real estate that has lost any type of attractiveness from any point of view, especially the economic one, being offered at a purchase price of €0.00. The presence of the announcements created by the artist represents a further peculiarity of the works: it is, as it is indicated by Lara Gaeta, “an artistic conceptual operation that combines photography with writing”. Despite everything, the artist addresses an invitation to citizens: to “buy” those places so as not to forget them, to appropriate them again by giving them a new life, a new identity, despite the fact that they have long since ceased to be places of identification.

Giovanni Scotti, ISO UN-Real Estate AD 08, 2021, Giclée fine art print on Backlight film, plexiglass, LED system, white wooden frame, 29×46 cm, courtesy of the artist

The landmarks present in Scotti’s works characterize the landscape not only from an architectural point of view, but also from a naturalistic one, reproducing peculiarities of the represented territory. A further element characterizing the works is the apparent absence of the human being, who is however present, albeit imperceptible, a silent spectator of the condition in which the Bagnoli neighborhood finds itself. In the critical text, Lara Gaeta states: “In the work ISO the investment that ennobles man 001, for example, an urban landscape rich in details is depicted. Among the residential buildings with clear outlines and the trails of cars speeding along the road, there is a detail that is difficult to grasp: a solitary man who places a hand on his forehead to protect himself from the sun and observe the horizon. It stops just long enough to be imprinted on the photographic film. It is natural to wonder what he is observing. This banal and simple gesture, reported in the context of Bagnoli, becomes absolute: the human being is therefore there, he exists, even in this environment in which the sense of degradation seems to prevail. Indeed, the human being has a specific role: he is a witness to the changing landscape. Scotti’s photography, in his works and advertisements, is transformed into a trace of what is invisible to the naked eye, as it happens with the writing “Napoli” in the work Nuova Luce GS 011, which suddenly becomes legible on the external wall of one of the technical offices of the former Italsider steelworks”.

Giovanni Scotti, Cinnamon heart 043, 2017, print on Hahnemühle Photorag Baryta fine art paper, dibond, white lime frame, float glass, 60×75 cm, courtesy of the artist

Art, therefore, becomes a stimulus for reflection, a means for observing and communicating, a starting point for change and to this end, the project will also continue in other areas of Italy, characterized by the same critical issues highlighted for the Neapolitan territory. Accompanying the exhibition is the Innobiliare Sud Ovest – Speciale Bagnoli catalogue, published by Felici Editore and created thanks to the support of the Alfieri Group. The artist’s photographs also accompany issue 12 of the magazine ÆS Arts+Economics, a free publication presented during the opening, promoted by the BBS-Lombard studio, which explores the theme of the economic sustainability of cultural organizations through the contribution of experts in these fields.


Giovanni Scotti. Innobiliare Sud Ovest. Visioni Insostenibili
a cura di Lara Gaeta
5/10/2023 – 21/12/2023
Studio Lombard DCA / BBS-Lombard Milano
Viale Premuda 46, 20129 Milano


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