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The ballad of forgotten places :: Botto & Botto


The ballad of forgotten places :: BOTTO & BRUNO

Opening: 09.04.2019, Tuesday | 7pm
Exhibition: 11.04-05.05.2019

Exhibition Itinerary:
04.12.2018 - 20.01.2019
Athens: EMST - National Museum of Contemporary Art

09.04. - 05.05.2019
Lisbon: Carpintarias de São Lázaro Cultural Center

Nice: Le109. Pôle De Cultures Contemporaines

Final stop - permanent:
Turin: Musei Reali de Torino

The ballad of forgotten places is a large installation recalling a contemporary ruin that has become the memory of fragile and lost places. It is conceived as a large area covered by images, both on the walls and on the floor, with a suburban landscape in 360°, full of oxidation, traces, stains and artifacts as if time had transformed the landscape into a kind of daguerreotype.

The project suggests a deep reflection on the contemporary and on the role of art as an important agent not only in society's interpretation or narrative, but also as an indispensable element in the aesthetic transformation of the present.

Fondazione Merz, the organization behind this exhibition, is known for its international support of young Italian art and has been working to build dialogues and relationships between people and cultures. One of the most significant examples, from a cultural and social point of view, concerns the Mediterranean basin countries that, because of geopolitical issues and other, have been the protagonists of a vast cultural and artistic debate for some time.
"The differences between the Union countries themselves, are an interesting area of reflection that a number of well-known artists are exploring and bringing into their work. A large part of the media is, for obvious reasons, focused on the Middle Eastern countries. However, Fondazione Merz firmly believes that caring about places and communities must start from Europe's outskirts as well. Indeed, one cannot imagine a welcoming, capable and environmentalist Europe without considering the analysis of the inequalities that increasingly fragment it. For this purpose, the Foundation has identified the artists Botto & Bruno as the ideal speakers for a new proposal," as stated by the Fondazione Merz about Botto & Bruno's work.

Carpintarias de São Lázaro's building is almost one hundred years old, and is an intensely lived space, which almost disappeared after a violent fire at the beginning of the 21st century, turning it into a forgotten ruin for a few years. Therefore, it makes all sense for this exhibition to be held here, due to its subject matter. This space has reversed that very process of oblivion through its structural recovery and its new cultural function, where it creates a new history while recovering and preserving the memory of its former existence, continuing it.

Organized by: Fondazione Merz Partnership with CSL, EMST, Le109, Fondazione Merz, Musei Reali de Torino.
Institutional support: DGAAP and MIBAC. Partner: Istituto di Cultura Italiano, Lisbon

Short bio:

Botto and Bruno are an Italian artistic duo from Turin: Gianfranco Botto (1963) and Roberta Bruno (1966).
Present on the art scene since the 90s, they work mainly in photography, video and installation.
They have been drawing attention to their work from the very beginning with their visions of desolate suburbs, grey skies, abandoned and decaying buildings which together create an atmosphere of melancholy and despair.
They often use large-format wallpaper to cover up their exhibition's walls and floors, bringing their installations to a life-size scale. Botto and Bruno's artworks present existential conditions that lie between misery and beauty, anxiety and hope. Cinema and contemporary music have played an important role in their work, sometimes explicitly quoting references such as Gus van Sant's films or the Sonic Youth's music, among others.
Their works have been exhibited in several museums and galleries: Papesse Palace, Siena; Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome; Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; The Palace of Arts, Naples; Manifesta 7, Bolzano; CaixaForum Fundacio "la Caixa", Barcelona; MAMCO, Geneva; 8th Shanghai Biennial - Act 3: Rehearsal, Shanghai to name a few. In the 2001 Venice Biennale they were invited to present a project for the Cordoaria's entrance, entitled "House Where Nobody Lives".
Some of the most important awards they have received include the "Premio Torino meets ... Art", promoted by ArteGiovane of Turin; the Artistic Residence in the Convent of Récollets, Paris, and the International Prize for an artwork to be created for the new Citadel of Justice in Venice.

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