by Damian Killeen – pics ©ourtesy of Tablet2.0 + G.G.P.
Journey to the center of the Visual Arts at the MamBo in Bologna
If Bologna has always been recognized in some sense as a comfort zone of Italian culture, living with the oldest artistic tradition, it is also due to the city’s ability to transform spaces once used as factories for food or other commercial products into veritable multicultural centers where almost everything is still possible to see and maybe even to live, day to day.
Despite a certain propensity for experimentation and, why deny it, a period of evolutionary standstill, surely due to a total absence of artistic movements drawn from art history, the city does not give up on going forward, especially in the creation or conversion of new structures, ready and open to all.
Take an old oven almost gargantuan in size, from which the proprietor, a generous soul of that time, was working and churning out bread in sufficient quantities to feed for free the population, victims of a post-war crisis; returned to beauty, pure white and aseptic, where volumes, heights, ravines, transparencies and facilities suggested by post-modern environments, open another visionary century, strongly desired by the municipal administration which still intends Bologna to be one of the most evocative non-places, versatile and characteristic of Italian culture, in which past-present-future can and must communicate. Albeit in a difficult moment in history, like the present one, every cult for every possible aesthetic practice and exercise of intimate beauty, just for our personal pleasure, always requires a new temple; so MamBo (Bologna Museum of Modern Art), is a new Mecca where arts and history, but also stories of the different creative periods, can still continue to talk to each other and interact, especially with the public.
The open and airy spaces of the building rise from the heights of the central block, full of light, immersing visitors in an almost ascetic atmosphere that correlates-space-works-audience, into a single and metaphysical whole that doesn't create any kind of distance between the concept of the exhibition and every possible barrier that unites fans or experts accustomed to a certain artistic panorama that is still not too accessible. Because as you know, there's always someone who wants the contemporary visual arts scene to be classist and elitist and not always actually too democratic and accessible to everyone.
From the entrance lobby-reception of MamBo, we enter a structure that offers spontaneous intimacy and confidence, without necessarily experiencing yet another gap between knowledge and perceptions, not necessarily linked to factors and analytical skills and know-how. Because the art, real art, is not intends to create distance.
Better than other exhibition locations offered during our visit in Italy, MamBo encourages visitors-just like in a emotional workshop- to pause spontaneously, to take the time to look around, then up, to establish a first contact (visual) with a multiform and transparent suspended sculpture, which seems almost to hypnotize each visitor within the staircase adjoining the hall, to purify them from any previous experience and to prepare them to participate in others such as the Museo Morandi, a master of the Bologna area who helped mark and rewrite, some of the most important pages in the history of Italian and international Art. The section of the permanent collection explores in different periods, styles, and languages, the most representative views of contemporary and avant-garde art by Italian and foreign artists. It is particularly interesting in this wing of the MamBo, to explore the relationships between the art of the sixties and action art, Arte Povera, informal art, but also other expressions that still define the importance and topicality of the most significant legacy to the latest creative trends and movements.
Even the lounge bar below the MamBo, "Le Bar Dès Heroes" promises cool atmosphere and radical style where, even if only for half an hour, you can taste excellent drinks and delicacies made in Bologna to complete the multi-sensory experience of your visit, including the sounds from a rather refined and sophisticated playlist.
The main event in the MamBo is a retrospective of the work of an internationally recognised Chinese artist and creative politician: Lin SonSong, whose exhibition Historical Materialism, will remain until the end of August 2015. Li SonSong has reviewed for us by Damian Killeen.