PAOLA DI BELLO


CITIZENS (1988 - 2006)

CURATED BY FRANCESCO ZANOT

24 September  - 6 November 2020
Private view: 22 - 23 September 2020 (11 am - 9 pm)
Special Event “A Day with the Artist”: 26 September 2020 (11 am - 6 pm)

 Download here the Press Release




Ph. Bruno Bani


Galleria Bianconi opens its 2020-2021 upcoming season with Citizens (1988 – 2006), an anthological exhibition curated by Francesco Zanot and dedicated to the great Italian artist and photographer Paola Di Bello (Naples, 1961). The exhibition focuses on the theme of “community”, or rather of “citizens”, as the title itself suggests, thus an advanced community finding its definition through mutual relations of rights and duties within an organized society. A theme being not only necessary in our dramatic times, but fundamental within Paola Di Bello’s artistic research which, by taking root in the experiences of the conceptualism and of social sciences, mirrors the artist’s civil commitment.


Photographs and videos by Paola Di Bello are as neutral, cynical, and brutal as Science is. Yet, just like science, they bear an intrinsic harmony within themselves. “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together”: this famous statement by writer and astrophysicist Carl Saganperfectly describes the charm and essence of the works on display. The eight cycles of selected works, many of which consist of one-offs or vintage prints being unrepeatable in their technical-physical features, give life to an exhibition itinerary that, starting from the concept of “radicalism” seen as an attitude of continuous and constant deepening of the object of attention, divides itself taking two ways: the first is represented by the series created through a process of participation of the subjects / citizens, the second by the works created through the pure observation of the subjects themselves.


The exhibited projects belonging to the first way include cycles such as Lucciole (1988–1991) in which Paola Di Bello has partly entrusted herself to chance, self-imposing the limit of documenting the behavior of a family of insects on the film; La disparition (1995), representing the subway in Paris through the relationship between travelers and its map; Bildung (1995–2003) and Framing the Community(2006–2014) in which the Artist has collected with the rigor of an entomologist information on distinct social groups (students and metropolitan inhabitants respectively). The second way includes series such as Rischiano pene molto severe (1998) and Video-Stadio (1997), with which Paola Di Bello engages herself in documenting and at the same time transforming reality through simple gestures: in Rischiano pene molto severe she turns homeless people lying on sidewalks into standing subjects by rotating their portraits vertically; in Video-Stadio, on the other hand, she uses the movement of supporters to simulate the hypnotic rotation of one of San Siro Stadium towers. Also to the second way belong works such as Sao Paulo(2002), a video made with Armin Linke, a slow pilgrimage in the maze of Brazilian favelas, or Mirafiori (2002) which proposes an exploration of the homonymous Turin district, caught in its moment of change through a series of unexpected categories of objects.

The result is the complex and articulated investigation of an artistic path and a fundamental ethno-anthropological concept, both in constant change and revolution. A path accomplished also through a continuous hybridization between photography and other media, leading Paola Di Bello on the one hand to highlight the porous nature of this medium, and on the other to investigate its language both from a historical and grammatical point of view.

The exhibition, accompanied by a catalogue edited by Francesco Zanot, will be visible at Galleria Bianconi until November 6, 2020.


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