Fabrizio Bellomo (b. 1982) lives and works in Bari, Italy. He is a multi-disciplinary artist, curator, writer and director that carries out his research in a hybrid and experimental way. His approach to the art is broad: he works with archival and historic material, videos and public installations. His art switches between the real and the digital world. His works have been exhibited in personal and collective exhibitions, through public projects, film festivals and presentations. Among them:
Selected public and private collections: MuFoCo Museo Fotografia Contemporanea – Milano, ICCD Istituto Centrale per la Catalogazione e la Documentazione – Roma, Simmons & Simmons Art Collection – London/Milano, NCTM e l'arte – Milano.
Selected public permanent installations: "11 messaggi speciali" – Ceglie del Campo, Santa Rita, Carbonara (Bari); "San Rocco" – Parco dei Paduli (Salento); "Espansa" – Lumezzane (Brescia).
He wined a lot of grant and prize, among the others: "Special Jury Award" at 39° Torino Film Festival (Italiana.doc), "Italian Council 10" by MiBACT, "Inside Art Award" at Talent Prize 2017, winner of "39° Bellaria Film Festival", "Essenziale Prize" and grant "Artists in Residence" by NCTM e l’arte, grant "Progetto Memoria" by Apulia Film Commission, grant "Movin’UP" by GAI, winner of "ReCall Project" by Politecnico di Milano, "Bollenti Spiriti" fund and "Principi Attivi" grant by Apulia Region, winner of "Premio Celeste 2012".
His work is part of international essays, like "The Body of Solidarity: Heritage, Memory, and Materiality in Post-Industrial Italy" in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Cambridge University Press – Cambridge 2017
Meridiani, paralleli e pixel. La griglia come medium ricorrente and Guida socio-gastronomica d'Italia, postmedia books, Milano and Villaggio Cavatrulli, Centro DI, Firenze – are his latest books.
ABBI CURA DELLA MACCHINA SU CUI LAVORI È IL TUO PANE! 2012. The artist found in a factory in Bari (southern Italy), closed in the mid nineties and still in a state of neglect, a metal plate, sort of image/text, bearing the words’ ”Take care of the machine on which you work, it is your bread!”. The artwork consists of the exact photographic replica of the plaque, which is printed in a giant size (x2) and installed in different industrial locations of Carroponte in Sesto San Giovanni (Milano).
Il Ponte. 2020. The image of the bridge has always been a metaphor for transition, for union, for change. It indicates the crossing from one place to another, from one time to another, from one condition to another. The German expressionists knew it at the beginning of the 20th century, when they chose to give their avant-garde group the name Die Brücke; Christo and Jeanne Claude knew it when, in 1985, decided to pack up the Pont Neuf in Paris, the oldest bridge in the city, making the Impressionists' bridge "theirs", in an ephemeral and extremely powerful conceptual operation; Fabrizio Bellomo (Bari, 1982) knows it today, having chosen the bridge to tell a story of tolerance and harmony, linking past and present. Invited by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione to collaborate in the project "C'è tempo per le nespole. Nuove narrazioni dalla Grande Guerra", Fabrizio Bellomo realized a performance in the town of Manduria, a small town in the Taranto area where, on June 17, 1916, two children were born, one by a couple from Manduria, the other by two refugees from Trentino who had fled to Puglia. The particularity of the story is that the parents declared their solidarity with each other, as Italians and as men, naming their children respectively Trento Dinoi and Mandurino Weiss. Suggested by their story, the artist has chosen to tell it by implementing a performance. Under the curious eyes of the public, in August, on three different bridges of Manduria, Fabrizio Bellomo held up a street sign simulating the naming of those places after the two children in order to perpetuate their memory as symbols of concord, all the more valid if compared to a general context of hatred and resentment like that of the World War.
11 messaggi speciali. 2019. The artist has worked on the transmission "L'Italia Combatte" broadcast through the radio antenna of the Bari Rai headquarters. The courier of Lyon; my beard is blonde; Anna sleeps – and other special messages was broadcasted by radio to the italian partisans from the spring of '44. The artist has engraved 11 special messages on a marble slabs, positioned mimetically around the neighborhood that housed the antenna of Radio Bari.
Espansa. 2017. In the post-war period, the town of Lumezzane, in the Brescia area, experienced a wave of industrial development. For this reason, it is called Factory-City. Over the years, iron and steel factories have been gradually integrated into the urban fabric, merging with the existing buildings and creating some particular architectural typologies. The project of Fabrizio Bellomo (Bari 1982) was born just inside this singular historical context. It was commissioned by the Department of Cultural Policies of the Municipality of Lumezzane to create a permanent public work of art. Espansa, which is the title of the installation, is born from the knowledge of this reality. Besides, it started from the suggestions coming from a previous project of the artist on Sesto San Giovanni and from the discovery on La Lettura of an advertisement of Educational Tables dating back to 1912. Precisely from the latter, Bellomo recovers some warnings that were posted in the factories, for instance "always work as if the if your boss was close to you" or "who wastes the boss’ stuff damages his own salary". He replicates them on plates carved with laser on rough iron and then affix them to the monuments and buildings in the city. The result is a détournement operation that creates an alienation effect, transforming Lumezzane into an organic establishment, in which factories and houses coexist in the same urban reality. «You don’t inhabit a neighbourhood of a city, but its power. You live in some degree of the hierarchy», reported the Situationist program in 1952. Despite the sense of spreading unity in Espansa, transmitted by the layout of the plates, the redundancy of the posted warnings leads to reflect not only on the past of the city but, in general, on the current forms of power. These manifest themselves not only in today's working structures through new verbal control strategies but they invade the public spaces of an urban context as a manifestation of an equally incisive subliminal power.
VEGLA BEN USTAIN. 2015. Every day at Tirana's roundabout known as Dogana, several workers armed with their tools wait for someone to hire them for casual jobs. In 2015, during his artist residency in Albania (for Tirana Art Lab), Fabrizio Bellomo invited one of those workers to engrave with his jackhammer the expression Vegla bën ustain (Tool makes the master) on a Dogana's wall. During Tirana/Durazzo Mediterranea Biennale 2017, Bellomo puts the video documentation of this performance in the giant advertising-screen in the next-one roundabaut, near the first roundabaut called Dogana.
Saluti da Cerignola. 2018. Greetings from Cerignola, a vintage postcard of 3 meters by 6, in Turin. It is the work created by the artist for the project "Opera viva Barriera di Milano". This giant postcard stands in Piazza Bottesini in the Barriera district, born as a proletarian, popular village, a destination after the Second World War of many families emigrated to Turin from Cerignola.
San Rocco. 2017. A votive shrine in local stone, assembled by a worker in a crossroads (in Paduli Park in Salento's land), near a pile of rubbish and on the spillage of the rest of a cement mixer. With this performative act Bellomo operates the mimesis of a popular devotion, whose root is ancient but which has survived along the roads of the Southern Italy.
Le più belle vedute di Milano & Non vedo niente di diverso. 2011. 10000 postcards + video. ...A postcards show on the front the image of a "casotto" (a small costruction used in the past for sell tickets of the lottery) and the blind-seller (now blind – souvenir – seller) who presides. At the rear, the space usually devoted to the text is occupied by a "qr code" technology by which the recipient receives even the extension of the image.
Italia, Forza. 2005-2008. (Ping-pong).
Muri Puliti / Pensieri Sparsi. 2019.
A series of installation/performances derived from the writings on the walls of the cities – and for this occasion decontextualized.
The artist discovered, photographed and selected a series of writings on the walls, after which they were write on the glass of the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation: the background that stands behind the reproduced writings, therefore, now appears to be Milan.
Rosso Rossani. 2020.
The work is identified in a ready-made action that is born from the idea of recovering, enhancing and making permanent an ephemeral intervention made by construction workers in the yard of the former Rossani military barracks. These are color samples, requested by the ABAP Superintendence of Bari, in order to evaluate the shades for the coloring of the external facades of the upcoming Regional Library Centre. Color samples, which have fascinated the artist for the spontaneity of this construction site work and the outcome harmonious and careful generated by the craftsmen. Attracted by the care, by the precision - as well as by the casualness, with which the specialized workers have disposed on the wall the wide color campiture - Bellomo finds in these chromatic dispositions, cross-references to iconographic works realized by well-known artists, from Josef Albers to David Tremlett. Bellomo's proposal is formulated in putting to the attention of the Superintendence this artifact in order to ask for its protection and preservation, even after the restoration is finished. The purpose is to elevate a construction work to a work of art, giving life to an operation of safeguard, protection and promotion. The work was the subject of a small publication in Italian published by the Dioguardi Foundation and enriched with texts by Mario Cresci and Manlio Brusatin.
Es geht einfach um Nummern. 2015. ...Bellomo, collecting a big amount of color proofs, generated by digital printers, necessary to control all the electro-mechanical parts they were made of. He collected this material inside photographic laboratories on a good roster of European cities, after the important and inspiring experience of Berlin. Having observed and saved these colored sheets (made by a machine), the artist decided to confront them with the abstract works made by the Bauhaus school. The exhibition is made in this sense of print in a unique copy, that Bellomo has saved from the industrial process, along with historical works in limited edition made by famous artists, so both have not been made by the artist himself, that has just chosen and made up these elements, in order to create a big installation. Bellomo curates in every single detail the set-up of the exhibition, choosing some old aluminum frames and some other handcrafted in woods, so that the iconography of the historic works and the contemporary shapes will become the same concept.
Numeric Portraits. 2015-ongoing. If the automaton is the symbol of codification and automation, this work represent a kind of paradox, going back to manual work but at code’s disposal: you take a digital (photo) portrait with very low resolution and you copy pixel by pixel, box by box, the numerical colour values of the entire grid on a graph paper. You return to be a copyist, as in the Middle Ages, but at the same time you enter the code, you are turned into a machine. In the obsessive repetition of this gesture you can meditate on the numerical nature of the image in a physical way. You can feel yourself swallowed up from the numerical machine in a sort of digital variation of Chaplin’s Modern Times.
Meccanicismo. 2018. On the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Serbia Fabrizio Bellomo carries on his research about the role and ascendancy of the mechanical means upon the development and persistence of the mechanistic thought in the contemporary society. The installation at Podroom in the Cultural Centre of Belgrade presents latest films together with a selection of video works from the past ten years, re-examined in the light of the critical trajectory Bellomo has been delineating with his artistic and literary digressions in the fields of architecture and study of material culture.
The mechanistic mind-set has become the cornerstone of modernity since the age of Descartes and Hobbes. It shaped the industrial revolution and permeates the current advancements in the IT and control systems. The Mechanisms and gears through which it reveals itself remain today invisible and indefinite to many. Nevertheless their preponderance as means to configure the experience of reality seems ineluctable. Grids, space renderings through vanishing points, Cartesian coordinate systems, encodings and encryptions: allthese tools underpin the technological developments and condition the individual relation with the environment, adapting and formatting it for a user-friendly experience through filters, interfaces and calibrations. Undeniably the position of the image generated by the widespread use of means of photographic reproduction – mechanic or digital – has become pivotal as tool to experience, comprehend and produce reality.
Bellomo ha been tackling these issues through performances, installations, film, video works, and essays. He follows the method of the image researcher in order to investigate the social and aesthetic effects of the hegemonic mechanistic thought in the individual and collective relationship with memory, urban space, human body and self-representation, with a specific interest for the technic and technological equipment providing the survey and archive of the real.
COMMEDIA ALL’ITALIANA. 2021. is a journey both intimate and collective on the archetypes of the State and of power, on toponymy as on monuments. The protagonist wanders around on a motorcycle and on virtual reconstructions of the world, going through television broadcasts and archival materials, having several phone conversations - stimulated as much by the news about the international movement of cancel culture as by the fascist iconographies still well present in italian cities. Analyzing the Apulian territory and the symbols of representation erected and engraved here, from the still strong presence of the monumentality from the Ventennio to the chimera of tourism as the one and only talisman to get out of all the crises presented in the new millennium. Up to the rejection of all forms of representation, to the desire to return to fluidity, turning irrevocably towards the natural, in the eternal struggle of nature against this cursed culture.
L'Albero di Trasmissione. 2014. The district of San Cataldo, on the outskirts of Bari, is an artificial peninsula created to accommodate the lighthouse and provide shelter to the port, a strip of land cutter off from the city center by an abandoned industrial complex. Here three family generations live gathered around mechanics. The practical skills and expertise have been handed down from the fathers to the children as the only chance to act upon reality. The story of the family crushed by the modernization of the city is set between factories and construction areas. They deal with self-made pianos assembled out of mechanical remnants, sculptures put together of recycled materials, work machines, and hybrid vehicles. The metaphor of the deep bond that holds together the characters unfolds trough the utopia of a entirely family-made car.
FILM. 2020. The Diffuse-Factory expands itself. This is a trip that tells about it, between abandoned factories, mines transformed into tourist attractions, factories in Eastern Europe converted to the production of Italian cars, cities and industrial towns such as Sesto San Giovanni (formerly Stalingrad of Italy) and Lumezzane (the factory-city near Brescia). In addition to the places, scenarios and at the same time the protagonists of this experimental "FILM”, are the video and audio notes collected by the author during the research path are also in permanent dialogue: telephone calls, conferences, poems, old films, Yugoslav TV commercials, Russian ballets, experimental performances. A single plot that also expands in multiple senses and directions, just like the contemporary factory.
Vernissage. 2021. Vernissage is a summer's tale. A group, four girls and four boys, on a hot July day, moves from the extreme outskirts of Bari towards the sea, along the post-industrial coast made up of abandoned bathing establishments and forgotten ruins. A trip to the sea, from morning to sunset, lived with the crystalline pace of their age, between ballets on Tik Tok and dribbles, swims and songs, will turn into a moment of discovery. The villa of a painter who died decades ago, also desolately abandoned, will become an unexpected place for a possible dialogue, for a surprising restitution.
Vd. 2011-2015. Exposition of the didactic project developed in 2011 (in Trevi – Santa Caterina for the Officine dell'Umbria 2011) at the Museo Pino Pascali Foundation. It was asked young school children to imagine, to draw/build something using only the main objects of their classroom: chairs-benches-basket-chalkboard... Students have drawn on paper sheets their projects that they then realized it and photographed it.
Ksamil. 2010. Arriving to ksamil, an albanian spot with resort ambitions, located on the southern coast about twenty miles from the greece border, it's easy to figure out that something went wrong. In june many buildings (about 260) were partially destroyed. To a massive dose of illegal housing, local authorities responded with police, bulldozers and the order to destroy the pillars of illegal constructions; bulldozers did not care about the dismantle of the debris. Despite the insult suffered by the families (often plan their own buildings) was large, many of these did not surrendered to distruction – they've cropped safe spaces inside the damaged buildings. Same was done for the "EUROPA club".
amarelarte. 2011. amarelarte is a project that combines the documentary research about a specific place with the "overwriting"of the same place by means of artistic interventions. The first and only edition of the project took place in the area of the old harbour of Bari and led to the creation of a navigable exhibition route that was accessible between September and October 2011. While rendering a portrait of the old harbour the documentary records the interactions between the artists (or their artworks) and the long-term harbour goers, whether they be fishermen, workers or simple bystanders.