Bologna in September is That’s IT!

The MAMbo hosts a first-of-its-kind exhibition and celebrates artists from the 80’s

In September, the museum of modern art in Bologna, MAMbo, is organising an exhibition dedicated entirely to artists born in the 80’s. An original itinerary that aims to shed light on the wealth of creativity of what is still considered the youngest generation of artists.

That’s IT, that’s Italy

That’s IT!, as the exhibition is entitled, is curated by Lorenzo Balbi, who wanted to focus on the generation of the Millennials, searching for an interpretation of contemporary style through their eyes. The exhibition will be hosted inside the Sala delle Ciminiere of the MAMbo and open to visitors until 11 November 2018. It will present the works of 56 artists and collectives born from 1980 onwards, exploring different media and types of artistic expression. The young painters, sculptors and “producers” have the maturity and the spirit to look at and tell the world with a touch of audacity and the first signs of wisdom.  That’s IT! (IT stands for EU symbol for Italy), intentionally avoids a unified and monolithic concept, but proposes questions and potential ways of interpreting contemporary style from an open-minded viewpoint, open to debate and without any defined direction. Does it still make sense, today, to define an artist as “Italian”? What helps to determine the definition of “Italianness”? Does this definition have any consequences for the artist’s representation of his/her own work? Where and how can we lay the geographic and generational boundary? The exhibition proposes some of the possible answers.
For example, there is a terracotta head placed inside an aquarium with 31 small piranhas which, as the artist Ruth Beraha explains, represents a sort of communal self-portrait. Then there is a sedan chair depicting the negative cast of a notorious ‘Roman hole’ (basically, Andrea De Stefani threw some asphalt into one of the notorious holes in a street in Italy’s capital, and extracted it, strengthening it with steel), to underline the iconicity of the image. Finally, there is also a video game created by The Cool Couple, in which one can play a match of world cup soccer in which the teams represent artistic movements: the futuristic team is very aggressive, the Dadaistic team is rather bewildered, while the Arte Povera team is very balanced. A truly entertaining and unusual exhibition… definitely not boring.

So let’s go to the MAMbo!

The pleasure of visiting That’s IT will not be the only pleasure as the museum is an extremely interesting in its own right and well worth a visit. The MAMbo is the Museum d’Arte Moderna [Museum of Modern Art] of Bologna and covers a total of 9,500 m2 dedicated to visual culture and experimental practices. The museum is housed inside a building dating back to 1915, which was formerly used as a communal bakery to deal with the problems of Bologna’s inhabitants of procuring food during World War I. In the early nineties, the MAMbo began to renovate and consolidate the building. On 5 May 207, the new exhibition area was opened: on that occasion, the collections belonging to the former Galleria d’Arte of Bologna were transferred to the MAMbo. On the ground floor we find the rooms for temporary exhibitions and the extensive Sala delle Ciminiere, in which the chimneys [Ciminiere] of the old bakery are still visible.

Art and the twentieth century

The first floor is taken up by the rooms that house the permanent collections. These include the sale della Manica Lunga [literally: hall of the Long Sleeve], where it is possible to admire the arcades of the ancient façade with its capitals decorated with ears of wheat. The exhibition is currently articulated in nine thematic areas (Arte e Ideologia, 1977 Arte e Azione, 1968 Nuove Prospettive, 1968 Arte Povera, Forma 1, L’Informale, Arcangeli: l’ultimo naturalismo, Focus on Contemporary Italian Art, new acquisitions), which document some of the most innovative aspects of artistic practice from the second half of the twentieth century until today, seen through the experience of the former Galleria d’Arte Moderna.

Morandi: painter and sculptor

From November 2012, MAMbo has also temporarily housed the collections of the Museo Morandi. The new exhibition project analyses the themes and seasons that have characterised the works of Giorgio Morandi, and offers a re-interpretation of his career also through the works of contemporary artists, who emphasise the important and the extraordinary topicality of his research in an unprecedented dialogue.