MILAN.- Alessio Bolzoni, an internationally renowned photographer whose work is known for its constant visual experimentation, lives and works in London, but, since March, has decided to quarantine in Milan. By the end of the harsh Italian Lockdown, while walking through the streets of the City, once again busy, Bolzoni felt the need of reflecting upon human proximity, precisely because of this delicate re-start moment.
Thus he envisioned Action Reaction. Billboard Project, curated by Art critic and historian Teresa Macrì.
This work is a dedication to Milan during an exceptional historic contingency, in which the whole town and its citizens are re-creating everyday life and reorganising themselves.
From Thursday the 11th until Sunday the 26th of June, 26 billboards will be located in some of the most representative areas of the City. 16 selected sites, from Viale Forlanini to Corso Lodi, and from Piazzale Aquileia to via Carlo Farini, give shape to a spread yet circular path, for everyone to enjoy through a dedicated map which will allow the citizens to find the billboards throughout the urban fabric.
During this early phase of re-birth of Milan, as well as the rest of the world affected by the global pandemic, the search and need for a new normality finds its echo in the subjects represented by Bolzoni.
The 26 different images of contorting bodies are characterised by a minimalistic and understated look. Action Reaction is a collection of multiple individuals portrayed in unnatural poses, twisting their spines and limbs in an alternation of opposite forces, suggesting the idea of an imaginary body which becomes metaphorically the very body of the city.
Following his first art-publication Abuse (2016) - in which he portrayed flowers as the vessel for reflecting upon the themes of use and abuse, through the lenses of a slowly decaying nature - Bolzoni produced in 2018 a new publication Abuse: the Uncanny, (available at Armani Libri, Milan, The Broken Arm, Paris, and Totodo Books, Tokyo). Abuse: the Uncanny is a vast collection of shots dedicated to a suspended liveliness, portrayed through contorting bodies of individuals against plain and even sterile backgrounds. Action Reaction stems from this new research, yet adding to it a foreign element such as the urban space as the context of exhibition.
The very idea underpinning Action Reaction is precisely that Art should mould itself upon the reality in which it is contained and exhibited.
Alessio Bolzoni (Crema, 1979) is a Photographer who divides his production between a commercial work and an artistic research that began in 2010 when, the artist started experimenting a new approach to the representation of the human figure, movements and angles. In fact, Bolzonis modus operandi always starts from an artistic insight, from which he develops new was of representing and new themes to explore. All the formal and aesthetic innovations achieved during his artistic quest are then brought into the more commercial side of his work, so that his trace remains always recognizable across the two fields. Alessio lives in London but has quarantined since March in Milano, where he conceived this project for the city.
Curatorial text, Action Reaction by Teresa Macrì
Action Reaction by Alessio Bolzoni inserts, in an inflated photographic geometry, performative acts through which the bodies and the identities that inhabit them allude to actions of physical contrasts, muscular tensions, acrobatic adventures, contractions, releases, torsions, falls and get-ups. Bolzonis bodies are restless and reactive, and in their tensions they echo the memorable provocations of performance art. At the same time, they are symbolic bodies that defy the challenges of time with its uncanny contemporaneity and push it to the reactions of a re-generative impulse.
Bolzonis pictures, shot in the aseptic environment of the studio, serve as a kaleidoscope of multiple identities, all caught in the operation of acting/reacting, in the constant pursuit of a symmetry of opposing yet harmonising forces. In this attempt, the bodies can only take unimaginable postures in order to free themselves from a force stored and retained, in order to get rid of a state of stillness. The bodies in the pictures, however, are not inactive, neither are they abandoned nor in a perennial state of fall. On the contrary, they appear as electric bodies, anxious and unsettled. In their aesthetic seduction, they express a will to counterattack and to resist. As such, in their urban dislocation (this is Bolzonis idea), they serve as intrusions within the environment, as tentacles of urban re-appropriation.
It can be said that they are imaginary bodies that merge with the real bodies which constantly traverse, deconstruct and redesign the city. With an empathic process, akin to a wizardry, the photographic print wants to become a single thing with the skin of the city, expand in it and grasp its breath.
Michelangelo Antonioni here comes to my mind, when, in explaining the meaning of his movie Blow Up (1966), he declared: My problem with Blow-Up was to recreate reality in an abstract form. I wanted to question the reality of our experience. We should not let the movie end at the end of the movie, but we should allow the movie to carry on outside of its own film, precisely where we reside. Bolzonis rebel bodies, express the same fascinating inclination to tear, stretch and dilate, an extension of the breath of reality.