IO SEGNO: Ruben Montini gives voice to the queer c...

IO SEGNO: Ruben Montini gives voice to the queer community

Ruben Montini lands again in Bologna, at the CAR gallery in via Azzo Gardino, and shows for the first time the preparatory drawings of his performative actions, from 2007 to today. In fact, despite his pictorial background, the artist has focused his artistic research on performance art since the beginning of his career, a practice with which he manages to bring out and talk about the most vivid critical issues of our society.

Ruben Montini, “Io segno”, exhibition view, 2024, courtesy CAR gallery, Bologna

As the critical text suggests: «Ruben uses his body as a radical political instrument and employs it in performative actions, often extreme, such as tattooing “FROCIO” (FAGGOT) on his left leg and then continuing to permanently decorate his skin over time with homophobic writings and insults. The lifeblood from which he draws his explosive strength is exactly the coincidence of art and life in his approach, in which two equally strong components merge: on the one hand, the denunciation of the violence generated by prejudice through actions in which his body becomes a vivid catalyst of suffering, on the other a tender and sensitive vein that reveals the emotional repercussions of social brutality».

Ruben Montini, “Io segno”, exhibition view, 2024, courtesy CAR gallery, Bologna

In the exhibition, IO SEGNO, Montini also reveals to the public his more intimate (as well as political) streak: that is, his drawings and all those creations that take place before he can stage his performative actions of great physical and social impact. A political and intimate journey, strong and disturbing. As we look along the walls of the CAR gallery, we can therefore notice the preparatory drafts of many of the artist’s well-known performances; such as Carne da Macello from 2023, a performance created ad hoc in the Dumbo spacesin Bologna and which also saw the participation of Porpora Marcasciano. On display at CAR Montini also presents his latest video performance, entitled Le mura del manicomio and created together with his assistant, the artist writer Mattia Ozzy B. In the filming, carried out inside his studio in Turin, Montini is the protagonist of five emblematic situations of freedom from gender discrimination in which the artist’s action is completed by a mural drawing created in real time by his assistant.

Ruben Montini feat Mattia Ozzy B., “Le mura del manicomio”, 2024, video performance, courtesy CAR gallery, Bologna

«It was a great challenge» explains Mattia «A performance never rehearsed, done in freestyle, imagined and conceived in the studio for about a month. We thought we’d put it into practice in the anteroom of Ruben’s studio, where we usually hold exhibitions. We decided to exploit its entire architecture to create the five different image sequences from which it is composed. The novelty of this performance is the fact that it was not designed to be performed live, in front of the audience, but on video. The filming is by Giulia Lenzi, a videomaker who has been following us for years. The five scenes show as many situations that Ruben would like to experience, but that Italian society still continues to prevent and for this reason a jet of black paint “off screen” violently erases his body and my drawing at the end of each scene. Furthermore, the five stations are an escalation, we start from more everyday scenes arriving at more complicated and colorful ones!».

Ruben Montini, “Vorrei che questo fosse una canzone d’amore”, 2021-2024, embroidery on fabric, Sardinian brocade, jeans, metallic threads. Acrylic and markers on plexiglass, 72x72x4 cm, courtesy CAR gallery, Bologna

Ruben Montini proves himself to be a great artist, capable of making his art truly political in the most transfeminist way possible. With his performances, we can finally go back to talking about the problems that devastate our hetero-normed and homophobic society from birth. Ruben’s performances, liberating and disturbing, carry within them political works, words and pains of many historical militancy, from the Nemesiache of Naples to Mario Mieli. Thanks Ruben, from an art-loving fagot.


Ruben Montini. IO SEGNO
6/05/2024 – 11/05/2024
CAR gallery
Via Azzo Gardino 14/A, Bologna


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