Alexandra Pirici & Manuel Pelmuş 
Public Collection – Bologna

Associazione ON

January 16, 2015

Alexandra Pirici & Manuel Pelmuş 
Public Collection – Bologna

23–25 January 2015

Oratorio San Filippo Neri
via Manzoni 5
Hours: 23 January, 6–10pm,
24 January, 7–11pm,
25 January, 3–7pm

As part of ON – Do Elephants ever forget? curated by Martina Angelotti

On the occasion of ON2014 and within the context of Art City Bologna, Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuş have been invited to conceive a performing project for Bologna, bound to the history and to the artistic tradition of the city.

From this invitation Public Collection – Bologna was born, a project specifically designed for the Oratory of San Filippo Neri, a former Oratory of the Philippine order acquired and then restored through the remarkable intervention of the architect Pier Luigi Cervellati, displayed in the timber-wood armour of the Baroque dome destroyed during the war. The Oratory in via Manzoni is an ideal place for a performing action, thought as an ongoing exhibition, in which you can go in and out as you wish, since there is no beginning nor end.

The new work, Public Collection by Manuel Pelmuş and Alexandra Pirici, addresses the context of the public museum. It approaches art history from the inception of the public museum as an institution that archives, historicizes, collects cultural items and reflects on society. The focus of the work is the idea of a collection that functions as the cornerstone for the very concept of the museum. Other important elements are the use of enactment as a strategy, in an attempt to claim history, to de-scale or to de-monumentalize while simultaneously actualizing significant artworks and events using only a few human bodies. Thus, the new work exists both in alliance and in tension with its reference.

Public Collection uses similar strategies as previous works, such as the Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale or Just Pompidou It. A Retrospective of Centre Pompidou. In the first piece, for example, a group of performers enacted the history of the Biennale in an empty pavilion. For Public Collection – Bologna they take into consideration the venue and the dominant representations in the space, while also including works that are significant for the city’s art history, placing the bigger history in dialogue with the local one.

Starting from the iconography of the city, with paintings, monuments and sculptures from the Renaissance to present, the exhibition is conceived as a series of actions that put up some of the most important masterpieces of the history of art both ancient and recent, through the bodies of five performers. 

Public collection by Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuş questions the value of the monumentalization and of the fruition of the work of art, through artworks such as The Lamentation by Niccolò Dell’Arca, The Ninth Hour by Maurizio Cattelan and The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, recently exhibited in Bologna in a location very close to the Oratory.

Do elephants ever forget? is the title for the 2014 edition of ON, acontemporary art project that invites Italian and international artists to produce site-specific works, actions and performances in the public spaces of the city of Bologna.

The first appointment of ON – Do elephants ever forget? was on 13 December 2014 with Souvenir d’Italie (lumières), a bright installation by Luca Vitone, visible until 31 January on the Ponte Galliera in Bologna.

The works commissioned by ON aim at adding visions, conflicts, narrations and ideas hidden in the urban context by adopting unusual perspectives, making use of squares, buildings, monuments or architectural details as elements of a geographical, political and civil study. The purpose is to define the identity of the city as a considerable and crucial place in the formation of the contemporary, meant as an expression and an interrogation of the present. 

Since 2007 ON has produced and promoted numerous installations, multimedia performances and workshops. One of the produced sculpture became collective heritage of the city of Bologna, and is now displayed as a permanent installation in the MAMbo Museum collection, through an acquisition in collaboration with the Cineteca of Bologna. The chandelier Casa Grande by Zimmerfrei is turned on every night in Via Azzo Gardino 65.

Public Collection – Bologna was made thanks to the contribution of Fondazione del Monte.

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