Palazzo Vizzani, headquarters of the Bolognese association Alchemilla, hosts “The Painting Race” until 16 March 2024, an exhibition and performance project curated by Antonio Grulli by the CANEMORTO trio. Promoted by Alchemilla, the exhibition was created as part of ART CITY Bologna, the institutional program of exhibitions and events promoted by the Municipality of Bologna in collaboration with BolognaFiere in coinciding with Arte Fiera. What we can say about it? We can only talk about brilliance and avant-garde every time we chat about the work of CANEMORTO. This time, however, the artists have significantly outdone themselves, creating a real event within the event. Not just artworks, but a real contamination has invaded the rooms of Alchemilla, involving the public.
The exhibition involves the staging of six “radio-controlled paintings” equipped with wheels, arranged within a closed circuit that passes through all the rooms of the exhibition space. The painting rush aims to overturn the common perception of paintings on canvas as precious, static and untouchable objects that normally should be admired without physical contact. Inside the exhibition, on the contrary, the paintings become mobile works, available to the public to be driven along the route that winds through the suggestive Alchemilla eighteenth-century building. The circuit, which visually evokes a brutalist and minimal sculpture, is counterbalanced by a series of works in bleach-painted fabric tailor-made to fit in inside the mirrors already present on the walls of the rooms. Through this playful and participatory dimension, “The Painting Race” cancels the canonical distances between works and visitors and ironizes on the highly competitive dynamics that characterize the context of art fairs. The public, in these cases, generally relegated to the role of passive spectator, become protagonists within the exhibition, guiding the works alone or challenging other visitors in a “painting on wheels” competition.
As the curator Antonio Grulli specified to me during our meeting: «There is always a precise concept behind each of their projects. In this case they decided to work on radio-controlled cars which refer to multiple elements. It is the week of the fair and therefore it touches on the idea of competitiveness. The second concept that emerges is the competition between pictorial genres, in fact each toy car is linked to one specific pictorial school. A competitiveness, this too, which is extremely high in the art world». A reversal of use, therefore, today more necessary than ever to be able to dialogue with the public. The satirical references, then, are multiple, starting from the ploy of reducing art to a “game”, or the element of the paintings challenge-competition as an element of criticism of its commodification and finally the desacralization of the place, a historic building now contaminated by an immense track for racing cars.
«There are obviously various pictorial references that CANEMORTO has internalized» Antonio explained to me during our tour among the tapestries created by the artists «one of these is futurism, with the idea of competition, of speed, of the car but also the recognition of a clear moment where the painters from the time asked themselves how to go beyond the frame, to reunite with the life. A bit like what CANEMORTO does. The second great reference is certainly Scarpitta, who created wonderful car sculptures with which he competed on real circuits». Needless to say, I have clearly tested the cars and failed miserably at every turn, having to operate the reverse gear several times. Curva Casadio, especially, was a real torture, so be careful in the next few days when you test the track! The important is foresight and not speed! If you don’t end up like me, block at every obstacle! To conclude, therefore, the CANEMORTO’s great success is more than deserved, and their art is confirmed once again contemporary and contingent. Definitely one of the most beautiful exhibitions of ART CITY 2024. If you have still have a few points on your license, I highly recommend you to go and lose them all here, within the walls of Alchemilla.
CANEMORTO. The Painting Race
curated by Antonio Grulli
26/01 – 16/03/2024
Hours: Friday and Saturday, 4pm>7pm. Wednesday by appointment.
Alchemilla, Palazzo Vizzani
Via Santo Stefano 43, Bologna
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.