Milan / September 15 —December 17, 2011


On September 15, 2011 Massimo De Carlo opens Basements, a solo show in which Massimo Bartolini presents a new series of works.

As usual, this exhibition talks about the conciliation of the opposites and of the leftovers generated by this operation that should, in the end, hopefully produce meaning.

The show develops in the three rooms of the gallery. In the first room is the bronze sculpture Basement (2011), which gives the name to the entire exhibition. A work that perfectly reflects the artist’s practice, which sees the earth, intended as the root of life and thus linked to the necessity of settling down, as protagonist.

Basement: as well as referring to the base of the sculpture this word also refers to that part of the building where discarded materials and machinery are kept. It is the invisible that supports the rest. Basement is a statue that holds up a statue, it is lifted up ground, it transforms horizontal things into vertical ones, it robbed a portion of landscape to transform it into a cultural tool. Basement is a 40 cm high fragment of a ploughed field with a surface of 4 m2.

For this conciliatory “return trip” between two opposite elements, Massimo Bartolini decides to exhibit La strada di sotto (2011) creating a connection between two different and distant rooms of the gallery. The sculpture in room one is composed of hundreds of lights, typically used in village festivities, laid out on the floor, lighting up intermittently. Their lighting up, switching off and dissolving away is determined by sounds, words and by the pauses in the video shown in room two.

The return trip occurs through La Strada di sotto which operates exactly in the opposite way: the artist takes a cultural utensil, the decoration used during religious festivities, whose verticality is celebrative, and lays it on the floor, reducing the sign to landscape, communication to perception, architecture to ground-level which is, in the end, just the first basement. It also looks like a nocturnal aerial view of Sao Paolo. In La strada di sotto the atmospheric pulse of lights is opposed to the statuesque stability of the bronze Basement. La strada di sotto is a street in Ficarra (Messina, Italy) where I stayed in residence last year. The lights are those used in that same street during religious festivities and the voice that causes them to switch on is that of don Valentino, the 84-year-old man who installs them each year.

In his intense career Massimo Bartolini participated to several national and international exhibitions amongst which the International Triennale on Contemporary Art, Yokoama in 2011, La Biennale di Venezia, Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte in 2009 and in 1999 and the 6th Shanghai Biennale in 2006. Amongst his solo shows are Art Unlimited, Art Basel 42, Basel, 2011; Massimo Bartolini: Cor at South London Gallery, London, 2010; Dialoghi con la Città at MAXXI, Rome, 2008; Museu Serralves, Porto, 2007; GAM, Torino, 2005. Furthermore, amongst the group shows: Sotto quale cielo? at Palazzo Riso, Palermo, 2011; Terre Vulnerabili, Hangar Bicocca, Milano, 2010 and Ecstasy: In and About Altered States, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA, 2005. The last June his personal show Il Cuore in Mano opened at the Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu, Turon (Poland).