The ballad of forgotten places
by Botto & Bruno

Opening: April 9, 7pm
Display: April 11 - May 5, 2019

Tickets: 3

Athens: EMST – National Museum of Contemporary Art 
December 4, 2018 – January 20, 2019

Lisboa: Centro Cultural Carpintarias de São Lázaro
April 9 – May 5, 2019

Followed by:
Nice: Le109. Pôle De Cultures Contemporaines

Final and permanent display:
Turin: Musei Reali de Torino

Botto & Bruno
Botto and Bruno Botto are an Italian artistic duo from Turin: Gianfranco Botto (1963) and Roberta Bruno (1966). Present in the art scene since the 90's, they work mainly in photography, video and installation. From the beginning, they drew attention to their work with their visions of desolate suburbs, gray skies, abandoned and decaying buildings that together create an atmosphere of melancholy and despair. Most of the time they use large format wallpaper to cover the walls and floors of the exhibition spaces, creating installations on an almost life-size scale. Botto and Bruno's works of art present existential conditions that lie between misery and beauty, anxiety and hope. Cinema and the imagination of contemporary music have an important place in his work, sometimes explicitly citing references such as films by Gus van Sant or the music of Sonic Youth, among others. Their works have been exhibited in several museums and galleries: such as 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. In 2001, they were also invited to Venice Biennale with a project for the entrance of Cordoarias with the title “House Where Nobody Lives”. Among the most important prizes the duo received are: “Premio Torino meets… Art”, promoted by ArteGiovane de Turin; the artistic residency at the Récollets Convent, Paris, and the international award for the realization of a work of art for the new Citadel of Justice in Venice.

Botto & Bruno: The ballad of forgotten places

This is an exhibition promoted by Fondazione Merz and the winning project of the Italian Council 3rd edition (2018), a competition designed by DGAAP - Directorate General for Art and Contemporary architecture and urban peripheries of MIBAC (Ministry for Cultural Goods and Activities) that promotes the circulation of italian contemporary art around the world.

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

The project suggests a profound reflection on contemporaneity and on the role of art, not only as a factor in the reading society and constructing its narrative, but also as an indispensable element of the aesthetic transformation of the present.

Fondazione Merz, the organization behind this exhibition, has been long supporting italian artists internationally and has always worked on building dialogues and relationships between people and cultures. Among these, one of the most significant cases, from a cultural and social point of view, concerns the countries of the Mediterranean basin which, that also for geopolitical reasons, have for some time been the protagonists of a wide cultural and artistic debate.

The differences and divisions between countries of an Union are an interesting area of reflection that some well-known artists are analyzing and bringing it to their work. Much of the media is, for obvious reasons, concentrated on Middle Eastern countries. However, Fondazione Merz firmly believes that taking care of places and communities must also start from the peripheries of Europe. You cannot, in fact, imagine a hospitable, capable and environmentalist Europe, without considering the analysis of inequalities that fragment. Thus, Fondazione Merz has identified artists Botto & Bruno as the ideal interlocutors for a new proposal.

As the building of the Carpintarias de São Lázaro is almost a century old, and itself an intensely lived space, which almost disappeared after a violent fire in the beginning of the 20st century, which transformed it into a forgotten ruin for some years, it now makes perfect sense to host this exhibition , considering its theme, in a space that basically reversed this very forgetting process, through its structural recovery and its new, cultural function, where, in addition to creating its new history, it recovers and preserves the memory of its previous existence, giving it continuity.

Coordination: Fondazione Merz Partners: CSL, EMST, Le109, Fondazione Merz, Musei Reali de Torino.
Institutional Support: DGAAP e MIBAC.
Partner: Istituto di Cultura Italiano, Lisboa

For more information: http://www.fondazionemerz.org/en/exhibitions/bottobruno-the-ballad-of-forgotten-places-a-project-winner-of-italian-council/

Carpintarias de São Lázaro
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1150-199 Lisbon, Portugal

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