Fabrizio Bellanca was born in Rome in 1968. He received his diploma in 1987 from the G. Terragni High School Specialising in Artistic Education in Como. He graduated from the Graphic Design Program at the Istituto Superiore di Grafica Pubblicitaria del Castello Sforzesco, in Milan, in 1991. In his first artistic research, starting in 1989, he applied techniques deriving from metropolitan graffiti and writing onto canvas. They are characterised by strong colours and abstract forms. His love of experimentation and of new materials led him to use resin in his work and applied liberally it created an extremely shiny, wet look that exalted the colours. Towards the end of the 1990s the artist began his investigation into action painting, working with oil paint on textured surfaces. His works ranged from figurative to abstract, but the true revolution in his work came in 2004 when he “discovered” steel plates as a medium; he began working on this new material with a Dremel™ miniature rotary tool, utilising stone and diamond-wheel accessories, creating effects that are surprisingly similar to those of a pencil. His subjects are people, places and buildings, almost always on a large scale.
His continual experimentation carried on into music when he accompanied the group Blue Silk in artistic/musical performances in which the sound of the rotary tool engraving the steel plate, accompanied by harp and electric guitar, created melodies. Presently, the artist continues his work on steel and aluminium plate, applying printing inks over colours for glass and Letraset™ transferable elements. Fabrizio Bellanca lives and works in Como, where he is the owner of the graphic design studio “Fab”, a company focusing on corporate identity, graphics for print and website design.
– Never Been Here/ Jamais été ici
personale presso Museo Castel Baradello, a cura di Federica Dell’Oca. Como
– Libero Arbitrio – Collettiva Teatro Sociale Como
– Artresti domiciliari / Contagio leale – Mostra progetto di 7 artisti – Spazio Art Company Como
– Collaborazione con Axrt Gallery Avellino opere in permanenza
– Interference – Mostra internazionale – San Pietro in Atrio a cura di Roberta Gonella – Como
– ” Virtualoid – Jump Back in the Future ” – Personale – Torino – Galleria Paola Meliga
– Virtual VS Real LOVE Bi-personale con Marcello Grassi presso IAGA Gallery – Cluj Napoca – Romania
– Opere in permanenza presso Galleria Urban Art – Tourrettes sur Loup – France
– Vision Urbaines/ Urban Visions Bi-personale con Pietro Bellanca – Espace Rose de Mai – La Colle sur Loup – France
– “Ragione e Sentimento” – Collettiva – Catalogo – Lenno (CO)
– Virtualoid/Soulscape – Personale presso “The Art Company” – Como – Video
– Gallery sweet Gallery “#naturaistantanea” partecipazione con Roberta Marone con una installazione specific site – Catalogo a cura di Elena Isella
– Anime urbane – Bi-personale con Marcella Chirico – Villa Sormani – Mariano Comense ( Co) – Catalogo
– Partecipazione alla Berlin Maker Faire – 30 settembre/1 ottobre Berlino – Germania
– Personale “YOUrban Soul / Anima Urbana” a cura di Elena Isella – Ex Chiesa di San PIetro in Atrio, Como – Catalogo e Video
Progetto “Open artelier”First Edition – 34 atelier open from 1st may to 31st october in Como – Map realized in 55.000 copies- Project, concept and realization by Fabrizio Bellanca. Patrocinio di Padiglione Italia Expo 2015, Sistema Como, Canto della Terra, lago di Como.
– Urbanscapes – Blendage Gallery – Como
– Affordable Art Fair – Singapore 20/23 Nov 2014 – Villa del Arte Gallery Barcelona
– Asia Contemporary Art Fair – Hong Kong oct 2014 – Amstel Gallery London
– Boston – Como “Boston-Como More than an Art Exchange” 18luglio/18 agosto 2013 – Broletto/ San Pietro in atrio/ Spazio Natta/ Camera di Commercio/ Galleria Lopez/ Galleria Lietti – Como
– Catalogo. A cura di James Hull e Carolina Lio
– Galerie Angle3 – Quimper (France)
– The Beat Goes On – Collettiva- Centro Congressi Medioevo – Olgiate Comasco
– Collettiva “7 Seven -Lussuria-(LUXURY) 25 maggio al 30 giugno – Ex Convento dei Francescani Neri – Specchia (Lecce)
– Urbanscapes in Venice – Venezia 30 maggio/28 giugno – catalogo
– Collettiva “7 Seven -Avarizia”-Museo Arcos Benevento
– fino al 28 febbraio – 54° Biennale di Venezia – Torino – Palazzo delle Esposizioni a cura di Vittorio Sgarbi – Catalogo
– 54° Biennale di Venezia – Torino – Palazzo delle Esposizioni a cura di Vittorio Sgarbi – Collettiva “7 Seven -Superbia (PRIDE) Museo Arcos Benevento – Catalogo
– “Imaginafiera” Reggio Emilia con Amstel Gallery
– ”Boston Vienna 2ways” Collettiva – Boston (USA) – Laconia Gallery
– “NY 13 x 13 “ Bellanca/Galvano – Collettiva – Ponte Tresa (Svizzera)
– Collettiva “7 Seven – L’accidia (SLOTH)” Villa Vannucchi – San Giorgio a Cremano (NA) – a cura di Roberto Ronca – catalogo
– “URBANSCAPES” – testi a cura di Luigi Cavadini – Wien (Austria)– Area53 Gallery
– Grand Opening AMSTEL GALLERY London
– ArteCremona Fiera 26-28 febbraio – Galleria AMSTEL GALLERY
– BAF – Bergamo arte Fiera 14-17 gennaio – Galleria AMSTEL GALLERY
– Collettiva “7 Seven” Villa Vannucchi – San Giorgio a Cremano (NA) – a cura di Roberto Ronca – catalogo
– Collettiva HUMAN RIGHTS – a cura di Roberto Ronca – Rovereto (TN)
– Collettiva “Tie ART” Spazio Fitzcarraldo – Milano–
– “All ALuminium Art” – galleria IL TRAMITE – Como – Catalogo
– Passo Carrabile – a cura di Julia Allerstorfer – Wien – Area53 Gallery “
– “Tie ART” progetto pubblico per Como
– Collettiva “Architettura e stati d’animo – a cura di Luigi Cavadini – Villa Imbonati – Cavallasca (Como)
– “Le stanze dell’Arte” caserme de Cristoforis – Como
– Collettiva con il gruppo quartodecimo “Expo-2” – Villa Imbonati – Cavallasca (Como)
– Mostra Personale in San Pietro in Atrio- “Riflessioni dell’Anima” 1-15 Agosto 2008 – Como / realizzazione della stessa su piattaforma virtuale “Second life” in contemporanea
– Performance con i Blue Silk – Guitar Master Festival – Galliate (NO)
– Collettiva “IstantaneaMente” con il gruppo “Quartodecimo” presso “Ex-Ateneo” – Bergamo
– Personale “Centro Russo Ecumenico” – Marzo 2008 – Roma
– diverse Personali e Collettive realizzate su “Second Life” in diverse gallerie virtuali
– Performance “Fab2-the last two” Viaggi Onirici Lievemente Organizzati – Roma
– Collettiva “Revolver” presso Centro Diurno del San Anna – Como
– Collettiva “DIN DON D’ARTE” – Galbiate (LC)
– Collettiva “linguaggi contemporanei” – Cesano maderno MI
– Collettiva “Obsession o…” Centro Diurno del San Anna Como
– Personali realizzate su “Second Life” in diverse gallerie virtuali: “ Double face”, “Okkupazione artistica” “Ticosa 2006
Collettiva presso “Max Trezzi Arte” Lissone – Milano
– Performance con i blue silk “Contemporanea IV” como
– Personale presso “Spazio ESP” Como – Catalogo in Galleria – performance con i blue silk – Ligornetto – Svizzera – MUSEO VELA
– Performances con i Blue Silk “ARTISTI MISTI” – Monza
– Personale “Ex Ateneo” Bergamo Alta – Catalogo in Mostra
– Mostra Collettiva – Palazzo Cesi – Acquasparta – Terni
– Mostra Collettiva – Fondazione Castellini
– Mostra Collettiva – Galleria Kamaver Kunsthaus – Lecco – “NEO ICONICA” – catalogo in galleria
– Mostra personale in San Pietro in Atrio- “98/03 rewind/fast forward” Como
– Mostra personale Galleria Lopez – Como
– Partecipazione alla 2° Biennale di Tashkent – Uzbekistan
– Mostra Collettiva – Ontinyent – Valençia – Spagna
– Realizzazione Tondo per “Collezione Duilio Zanni”, esposta presso Broletto
– Mostra personale presso “Marcellus Club” Circolo Culturale Asso – Como
– Mostra personale presso “031” Pub Artistico – Como
– Partecipazione rassegna internazionale “Miniartextil ‘98”
– Mostra col gruppo “Nova Configurazione” presso San Pietro in Atrio “Amor Sacro Amor profano puttiniputtanepuntinipuntini” giugno-luglio 98
– Partecipazione al Concorso Internazionale per la progettazione di un manifesto per la Lega Italiana Lotta Contro i Tumori, Mantova – Palazzo Ducale (aprile 98) – Esposizione personale nell’ambito della manifestazione, all’interno del Palazzo Ducale – Mantova
– Partecipazione alla Rassegna internazionale “Miniartextil ‘97”
– Rassegna artistica con il gruppo “Nova Configurazione” Pro-Vocation, Provocazione per Vocazione presso il Chiostro di S. Maria- Cantù (Co)
– Personale presso Chiostrino di S. Eufemia- Como “Rassegna Artegiovane ‘95”
– Personale presso l’Associazione ludico-culturale ”Baratelli”- Cantù (Co)
One needs to have a garden, a day out, a second home, a vegetable garden, fresh air… all of this in order to escape from the metropolis you live in. True, and yet, big cities still seem necessary. Le Corbusier described the city as: “the point of contact for the active elements of the world” (Urbanisme, 1925), because the exchanges, comparisons and stimuli which present themselves in a big city are experiences which are certainly influential in one’s character development. The metropolises that Fabrizio Bellanca loves are New York, Boston, London, Barcelona and Milan, among others. First he observes them with a photographer’s eye, and then from the point of view of an artist. Bellanca’s works, revealing his past practise in typography and graphic design, move effortlessly between photography and painting, creating an identity of their own. The modern city, and large urban areas in particular, are the main protagonists in his work. He represents glimpses of details, architecture and the people who live in these metropolises. The strength of his works lies in their ability to be perfectly in tune with the eye of the viewer, regardless of his specific history, past or visual experience: the immediacy of communication is the trump card of Bellanca’s artwork. The shapes, superimpositions and small details create movement, which results in a kind of musical score in the entire composition. This is turn creates surprising and forceful effects, especially in the images with only a few colours, or even in those without colour, in which the subject is rendered exclusively in the play between black and silver, positive and negative.
Italo Calvino described the imaginary city of Zora like this: “a city that no one, having seen it, can forget. But not because, like other memorable cities, it leaves an unusual image in your recollections. Zora has the quality of remaining in your memory point by point, in its succession of streets, of houses along the street, and of the doors and windows in the houses, though nothing in them possesses a special beauty or rarity. Zora’s secret lies in the way your gaze runs over patterns following one another as in a musical score where not one note can be altered or displaced” (Invisible Cities, 1972). This pattern similar to a musical score is Zora’s secret – just like in Fabrizio Bellanca’s cities.
Si ha bisogno del giardino, della gita fuoriporta, della seconda casa, dell’orto, dell’aria più leggera… tutto nell’ottica di fuggire dalla metropoli. Vero, ma la Grande Città sembra ancora essere necessaria. Le Corbusier la definiva “il luogo di contatto degli elementi attivi del mondo” (Urbanistica, 1925), già perché gli scambi, i confronti, le sollecitazioni che possono nascere nelle metropoli sono senz’altro esperienze che formano e modellano una personalità.
Le grandi città che ama Fabrizio Bellanca sono, tra le altre, New York, Boston, Londra, Barcellona, Milano che vengono osservate, prima dall’occhio del fotografo, e poi da quello dell’artista. I lavori di Bellanca, dalla prassi esecutiva che ha le proprie radici nel mondo della produzione tipografica e della grafica pubblicitaria, sanno infatti agevolmente muoversi tra la fotografia e la pittura, creando una loro netta identità.
La città contemporanea, soprattutto metropolitana, i suoi scorci, le sue architetture e le persone che la vivono sono protagonisti assoluti delle sue opere. La loro forza sta in particolare nella capacità di sintonizzarsi perfettamente con lo sguardo dell’osservatore, qualsiasi sia la sua storia, il suo trascorso, la sua esperienza visiva: l’immediatezza della comunicazione è la carta vincente delle opere di Bellanca. Le forme, le sovrapposizioni, gli incastri e di conseguenza i movimenti che ne scaturiscono creano una partitura interessante della composizione, che raggiunge effetti sorprendenti e di grande impatto soprattutto nelle tavole con pochi colori o addirittura completamente prive di cromatismo, in cui la resa del soggetto è tutta giocata nel rapporto tra bianco e argento, positivo e negativo.
Italo Calvino racconta così la città immaginaria di Zora: “città che chi l’ha vista una volta non può più dimenticare.
Ma non perché essa lasci come altre città memorabili un’immagine fuor del comune nei ricordi. Zora ha la proprietà di restare nella memoria punto per punto, nella successione delle vie, e delle case lungo le vie, e delle porte e delle finestre nelle case, pur non mostrando in esse bellezze o rarità particolari. Il suo segreto è il modo in cui la vista scorre su figure che si succedono come in una partitura musicale nella quale non si può cambiare o spostare nessuna nota” (Le città invisibili, 1972).
La partitura è il segreto di Zora, come lo è delle città di Bellanca.
I’m not sure if Fabrizio Bellanca was ever part of a group of graffiti artists, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had registered some experience on Como’s city wall or on the walls of other cities. The way in which images were constructed in that specific time – now surpassed – was a source for the artist in developing of his original approach to painting. But, not without looking backwards. Because he was able to concentrate on the experiences and gains that have come out of Pop Art, and primarily upon the creations by Andy Warhol, a master who surpassed painting while remaining fully in it at the same time, who was innovative without inventing anything new, and who provided a totally fresh direction to the narrative aspect of art.
In the first place, both the materials and their support are interesting: instead of canvas, Fab uses sheets of aluminium that have already been used in typographic printing and are now recycled; and for colours he uses offset printing inks, both dense and transparent at the same time; and adds transferable characters by Letraset (letters, numbers and pictograms) used in the past by graphic artists and architectural studios.
With these tools he takes on the two approaches he favours in his artistic research: architecture and people. He looks for true genius in architecture, the building that embodies an innovative spirit and that is able to communicate, on its own, its expressive surfaces, volumes and voids, and the poetry that permeates it. It is here that he “plays with colours”, the colours that define the image and often render it absolute, displacing it from any known location, emphasising it for what it is and not for the space it is in. In the people he encounters he finds stimuli for a portrait that comes to life systematically, in which the figure is never betrayed, but rather scrutinised and rendered even more unique. Read and often built up like terrain – almost a topographic map made from contour lines – the figure vibrates and in its insubstantiality (or, sometimes contrarily, in its absolute physicality) it manages to be even more alive and intriguing than the subject it refers to. The “drawing” made by applying spatulas of colour, carefully and with restraint, define grids, sometimes wide, sometimes dense, that leave the spaces that are colour-free a descriptive-narrative function. The presence of what seem to be letters, numbers and words, add something, though still remaining abstract, like a distant voice, becoming coloured in the same way that colour becomes language, in an interesting cross-reference that breaks tradition with customary imagery.
The resulting images turn out to be so composite that they could get lost. But in the end, after close consideration, one realises that Bellanca entrusts the typographical inks with the same function that watercolourists assign to their watercolours. The image is formed bit by bit, with reservation, giving definition to, surprisingly, not the full areas, but the areas that are free of colour. This happens in those parts of the aluminium surface that remain clean, strong in their material nature and due to their reflectivity, which, spurred on by the coloured areas is able to render the plastic value of a work of architecture, or a face or body.
What can be said about themes that range over the world, from Como to Boston, to New York? They are a sign of the globalisation that renders everything the same, but also distinctly different, and that affects an artist in different ways (as can be seen in the different approaches to imagery) underlining once again the freedom that allows him to respond – also autonomously from himself – to the influences and stimuli of the times he is living in.
Como, September 2010
During a time when art transcends national borders and when artists become cosmopolitan
explorers of culture. I am proud to announce that Fabrizio Bellanca of Rome is the founder of
the exhibition “Boston-Vienna 2ways”. This journey into the heart of contemporary art of Boston
and Vienna is an exchange between Europe and the United States that offers the opportunity
to think about different identities and cultural heritages.
Bellanca’s work represents Italy’s experimental side, one for all the world to see. Many paintings
portray cities like Boston, New York and Vienna, where the foundation of their architecture and
the physiognomy of their people become a source of inspiration for the artist. He uses a combination
of art and technology; in his works, metallic shadows and brushes of color give new
birth to the consistency of reality.
The Consulate General of Italy in Boston supports this project, with the hope that contemporary
Italian art will assume even a larger role in the international level. We will continue to promote
new initiatives that strengthen the dynamic and innovative image of our country. I hope
that the public will appreciate the exhibition and I would like to take the chance to give a warm
welcome to all the artists that are participating.
Console Generale d’Italia a Boston
In a world increasingly divided between East and West and in which people often speak of a real cold war between the two economies, it is interesting to investigate what really are the homogeneities and the strong points within the Western culture, that is the economic and social block consisting mainly from Europe and the United States. Is this cohesion a merely economic issue or, actually,does it exist one shared culture, one lifestyle and one imagination that sharply identify the West Probably, is the economic crisis we are
experiencing just a reflection of a social collapse? In this project we assembled a group of nearly 40 artists, half Italian and half American, who talk to each other in search of a line of continuity between two intellectual visions. The aim of this exhibition is to find points of agreement and disagreement between the experiences and the sensitivities of artists chosen to represent different generations and different ideas, also expressed in all the media that the today’s contemporary art has at its disposal. Painting, sculpture, photography,
but also video, performance, site-specific installations, active involvements of the public and guided tours through the city will introduce the audience to a reflection on the Western system, developed in a deeper way than the already usual reflections of a economical nature. Indeed, the research is based on three fundamental points: the historical heritage, the urban vision and the representation of contemporary man. These topics are not accidentally chosen and the idea of conceiving the exchange project with this reasoning as main guideline, is born when I moved to the East, specifically in Hong Kong, and I started to see the Western world from the outside.
At that time, in October 2012, I was just contacted by Fabrizio Bellanca for working together in an exchange project between Como
and Boston, where he was in contact with James Hull. The show was supposed to have a single site by city, less than half of the artists
and no specific guidances regarding the topics. But I knew it would become something more. I began to think about the sense of doing a cultural exchange between the two cities, a statement of reasons not solely based on the “passing around” of the artists in order
to procure visibility. Having just arrived in Hong Kong, very rich city that lives the China’s economic boom combining it to the benefits of the European cultural heritage left by the British, I was lucky enough to view my western world from the outside and to notice a few things just in time to let the Boston-Como project grow as a real research project.
Contrary to what I expected, what floored me by the East, especially in Hong Kong and in China, were not the differences with Europe,but the lack of a real detachment. Once arrived, what struck me most of all was the height of the city, the reflecting skyscrapers, thelights of the night, but I soon realized that it was the same kind of fascination that an Italian has got arriving in New York or even in the
newest neighborhoods of London and Berlin. Of course, on Hong Kong there was an impressive concentration of buildings, placed
against each other as a matter of practical lack of building land. The skyrocketing prices were the cause of small apartments, tight
spaces, and they forced people to be sacrificed in their own intimate spaces. For this reason, people were pouring out the streets of
Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, especially from six o’clock to midnight, going from one shop to another, exercising the second thing that
struck me most of the city: the shopping. An exaggerated, compulsive, neurotic shopping, a consumption as I had never seen before.
The city was comparable to one open-air shopping mall. No, not really. Because from a shopping mall one could get into another one,
walking on pedestrian closed bridges built in mid-air that hung over the streets by ensuring that the city was walkable without ever
leaving the labyrinthine mechanism of the shops and of the commercial offers overwhelming as in a luxury fair. It was in front of this
consumerist regality that I wondered what was left of the romantic cultural heritage that identifies in the East an alternative lifestyle
based on a spirituality of other times.
From our own house, we idealize calm melodies of flutes that form the background to flowered gardens in which are hidden blue and
red Chinese pavilions, tile roofs as yellow as those of the Forbidden City, branches, rocks and streams, quiet paths where elderly men
meditate in the shade, and prudish and minute young women dressed by their silk chaongsam decorated with golden petals, slowly
move their own fans. But this vision is broken by the contact with a reality made by crowded, very noisy streets, characterized by a
pressing and urgent fashion. Businessmen move quickly between a stream of beautiful women who like to show themselves on high
heels and skimpy cutting-edge dresses, many times coated with Italian brands. Pop music comes out from the taxis moving slowly in
traffic, from the shops, from the cafes where they are taking place discussions about the financial market. A new New York in its heyday
fills the eyes of Westerners who travel to Central in Hong Kong looking for a trace of the disappeared East which still persists only in
the peripheries and in the Chinese villages, but agonizing, pushed away from the construction of new skyscrapers and subway lines.
The feeling is of being in a world more west than ours, where the negative values we are used to claim – consumerism, plutocracy, superficiality,
haste, external appearance – are even more present and where the positive ones are growing with a continuous awareness campaign,
a brilliant optimism and the idea of a possibilities and an accessibility that hovers in the air, as if the “American Dream” had been
moved to a new house and had inhabited a new land where every morning one can wake up thinking that everything can happen.
Then, what do we have to couple with the “Western” lifestyle, thought for a long time in relation to the consumer society, to the fast
pace of life, to the strongest economic markets, the industrialization, the scientific advancement, as well as to the cultural progress
and to the social values ??of tolerance and liberalism? What does it distinguish us as a western society? What does it harmonize us as
the people? Why if we talk about Europe and the United States the eastern world does not make a great distinction and is inclined to
identify us with one single “western world” that does not have vast differences in life-style between the old and the new continent?
For Europeans, the American dream is still recent, distant only one century, when in the families of each of us at least someone emigrated
to America on a ship full of people in search of hope and well-being. At that time, Europe and America had very little in common,
Europe was a land destroyed by war and was preparing for a new economic boom that would take place only as a corollary of
the American one. Drived from the States, we reassembled our cities – first of all Berlin, the symbol of the European twentieth century
rebuilt looking in part to the U.S. Gigantism; we then invented a more democratic and liberal society with such a social leveling that
allowed everyone to have certain rights to equality protection, expression and education; we established the consumerism developing
brands on a large scale with a mass target; and we sped up our pace, focusing on the production and on the offer of goods that
became needs through the communication. But now this assimilation phenomenon, the European-American osmosis, has become a
global phenomenon. I then thought, what the Orientals mean talking about “western world”? That respect and fascination they pay
to Europe, are actually directed to which aspect that still acts as a gap between us and them, constituting a diversification and then a
wealth within the era of the global flattening?
Few weeks after that first trip to Hong Kong, I went back to Europe to meet again Fabrizio Bellanca in Como in order to continue to
talk about this project and to hold meetings with the Assessor Cavadini of the Municipality of Como and with our private supporters.
By reviewing Italy with a new glance, the difference that I had expected in the east and that I had not found, it struck me just returned
home. I remembered the verse by Pascoli: “There is something new under the sun, or rather something old: I live elsewhere”, and I saw
with a totally unknown eye the, at the same time, old and new towns, roads, paths that led me to from Malpensa Airport to the center
of Como to discuss a project that I had finally seen in its importance, because I finally figured out the real caliber that the Western world
still retains, exceeding the phenomenon of globalization on a unappealable field: history. Within a few days the project became much
larger, I spoke with Fabrizio about my ideas, we asked the Municipality of Como to give us the use of three public venues instead of
only one, we involved the Chamber of Commerce of Como and looked for the support of several private spaces, including the gallery
of Roberta Lietti, and along with James Hull we increased the number of artists invited to more than double. It was a brave action – not
to say reckless – because the time to seek more sponsors were very tight and many sponsors, rather than give more support, withdrew.
With a budget thinner than planned we had to handle an event at least tripled as amount of effort, work, energy and objective costs.
What has emerged is a somehow “poor” exhibition, with a catalog that should have been much more burly but that was unable to be,
a communication very professional but not widespread as we wanted, with very little facilities for the artists who, however, have attended
with undiminished passion and confidence in the project. The few available means have not weighed on the quality of an idea,
on the enthusiasm of those who have worked on it, on the skill of the artists. Contrary, I dare say that they have given to the project an
additional testimony of one of the main points to which the reflection of the exhibition develops: the crisis of the Western world.
The great economic crisis that we are experiencing is due to the market entry of new forces more vigorous, competitive, often more
potent since ruled by ruthless expansionist logics, just as happens in many areas of Asia. But perhaps it is also due to a severe crisis
of identity that has affected our society like a disease when it has been forced into an unnatural definition. The forced aggregation
that has joined the United States to Europe after the world wars and the creation of a limping European Union, were fast and coercive
mechanisms designed to create a power pole, a “western world” defending the interests of a very nebulous supposed common mentality
that characterizes us compared to other areas of the world. But we were not ready yet. It ‘s true, there is a unitary point of origin
in Western thought, a historical root that acts as a connecting line and that starts from the greek-roman world carrying out certain
values ??and systems. But have they developed in a uniform manner? Or at least enough uniform to justify at deep-level the division
of the world between East and West?
In the essay “Orientalism”, published in 1978 by Edward Said, the West is basically described as a creation that is opposed to a vague
“oriental” identity in order to legitimize the imperialist and colonial domains. Therefore, the creation of the two blocks would be a pure
invention for political purposes as well as forced would be a Westernness built from countries so different as we are. For this reason I
asked Fabrizio Bellanca, James Hull and all the invited artists for a testament of their vision and for a comparison, site by site, between
the Italian artists and the American one, working together on the same subjects but without substantial agreement, without demanding
the defense or the opposition to any particular thesis. I want to say that the artists themselves were quite unaware of the projectual
work that was behind the exchange “Boston-Como”, so as not to force and guide their work. If they had known, suspected and conceptualized
the underlying theme, their research would probably have been not spontaneous, but tendentious. Instead, I tried to have a
natural reconnaissance dividing the artists on show into three macro-specific issues, meeting their work and exposing their own line
of research, rather than ask them to work in favor of a thesis of mine. Just so the audience can see today a real cross section into the
Italian/European vision and the American one, giving the possibility of a direct and spontaneous comparison highlighting similarities
and differences between the two imaginations.
In the former church of San Pietro in Atrio they are explored natural and urban vision of the world, the division of space, architecture
and the environment; Spazio Natta hosts a reflection on the representation of contemporary man in his emotional and social aspects
according to the models of today’s society; while in the former Palazzo Broletto there are works that examine historical heritage of
Western culture, from mythology to a reworking of the classic codes accordingly to a perspective both ethical and aesthetical. To these
three topics must be added performing operations and site-specific installations in various areas of the city, a little research on the
contemporary abstraction in Chamber of Commerce and a parenthesis related to the boundary between art and design at Galleria
Lopez. In each location the artists were left completely free to present their research as well as deepened over the years, spontaneously
putting together their solutions and opening a non-biased comparison between the American and Italian part, proposed always
together, side by side, in order to create a platform for the direct dialogue that will be born from the works themselves and by the
presence on the ground of the artists. These will reach Como from Boston, Milan, Berlin, Hong Kong and other cities where they live
while being all American or Italian. During the exhibition, events, meetings with the public, the performances and the various initiatives
planned, their living together and the daily deal on a human level will create what is the real research that the project aims to do:
a gathering of personal and cultural baggage that converge in a point to meet and discuss.
In this text I will not speak about the specific work of each artist, although it was what I promised to Fabrizio and probably what the artists
expect from me. But in the rear of this catalog there is a brief biography and a brief statement for each one that will surely be more
thorough than what I could in an introductory text like this. I think it was much more interesting to tell the genesis of the show to make
people understand a project in which the artists were free to choose which works to expose and where the set up will be designed
with them directly in exhibition. It is an experiment of extreme freedom, especially for me that in all the important projects have always
tried an absolute control, a perfect planning and the demonstration of a specific thesis. But not in “Boston-Como”. For the first time I do
not want the curatorial vision as an additional conditioning as well as the indispensable selection of artists. I wish that their meeting
offered a spontaneous solution to the questions posed here. It is an exhibition built as a workshop, as a study more human than artistic,
a show that can not be fully explained by a critical description nor by any other kinf of written text.
A dear friend from Hong Kong once explained to me a difference between the west and the east, and concerns the way we work.
He told me that in China when one comes to work is extremely cold and does not become influenced by personal emotions. In our
western world, instead, it is the opposite and the project “Boston-Como”, since he was born, has grown into a huge passion as well as a
big professionalism. Fabrizio, James and I have often saved it from desperate conditions, from discontent seemingly insurmountable,
from economic problems that would have discouraged anyone who was willing to do just business. But not only that. Readers would
be surprised if one could mention how many friendships have been developed working on this project and how many others got into
difficulties, how many dinners were involved in the various parts of the world in order to prepare the show, and how many episodes of love and struggles , betrayal and pain, moments of doubt and frustration, of exaltation and joy, mediations and threats, plots and
solutions are directly or indirectly correlated to the project. Each show is a kind of micro-community with its stories and his plots, but the project “Boston-Como” is one of the most free and full human I’ve ever worked on, developed in nearly one year of meetings, daily and nightly calls, time zones to cross, mentalities to join.
I think the result – as a whole from the method of work to the final works exposed – is really a field of study on Western identity, on its
solid foundation and on its current crisis. And in this the operation was successful. As the show in itself, I want to remind before closing,
that many of the artists involved are already well known and recognized by both the Italian and American side, as evidenced by their
own biography at the end of this catalog. However, the fact remains that seeing this show as a simple exhibition, a canonical project of art, a collection of works, restricts the intent of those who have worked on it and restricts the audience from taking part in a far wider
motor of ideas. Therefore, my plea is to observe the exhibition, the pieces displayed, to get a solution to the issues here discussed from the visual comparison between the American and the Italian works but, above all, to do not stop here: I suggest that you return in the
exhibition, talk with the artists who have attended from around the world specifically to meet you, take part in meetings, come to the concerts, to the dinners, to the performances, stop us in the street, fully live this experience that in the words of Fabrizio Bellanca is “more than an Art exchange” and in my is “much more than an Art show.”