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: "Gli Scagnanome" – Albori, Vietri sul Mare (Salerno), "11 messaggi speciali" – Ceglie del Campo, Santa Rita, Carbonara (Bari); "San Rocco" – Parco dei Paduli (Salento); "Espansa" – Lumezzane (Brescia).
He won 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, "Innovation Prize" at Obiettivi sul Lavoro Ucca 2018, 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
...And he makes other editorial projects, like "Storie a Mezzogiorno" a series of mini-documentaries that he made for La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno realized with Graziana Di Santo and the collaboration of Gianni Ciardo.
Meridiani, paralleli e pixel. La griglia come medium ricorrente and Guida socio-gastronomica d'Italia, postmedia books, Milano and Villaggio Cavatrulli, Centro DI, Firenze and Homo Medium, Editrice Quinlan, San Severino Marche – are his latest books.
He has held courses and seminars for the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, CFP Bauer Milano, Accademia di Belle Arti di Lecce and Teatro Pubblico Pugliese.
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.
Albori è destinata a scomparire?. 2022. Fabrizio Bellomo’s widespread project for the village of Albori arises from a question and a dialogue with the locals. It consists of 5 micro-projects involving different people, with the aim of strengthening the identity of the village and bringing out the story of some traditions. For this project, several collaborations have been activated with some local artisans and workers from nearby Vietri sul Mare.
ICONOGRAFIA DELLA SAGRA (in English ICONOGRAPHY OF THE FESTIVAL) was created to spread and hold in our memory the traditional “Sagra de’ palle e ciuccio” (“Festival of the pacifier balls”). 200 plates designed in collaboration with Giancarlo Solimene on which is depicted the symbol of the historical festival, a female mule with pumpkins as masculine attributes, will be donated to local people.
The work GLI SCAGNANOME (from the local dialect THE NICKNAMES) came about from the stories told by the village residents and above all with the help of Michele, Maria and Amalia, co-authors of the project. These are ceramic toponymy plaques with the nicknames of old inhabitants who lived in houses without precise addresses or signs, and which have become identifiers of a specific place.
With the other three projects, the artist wanted to emphasize the contemporary contingencies that entirely overshadow the village and what remains of its twentieth-century and previous social structure.
LA CASA DI MARIA (MARIA’S HOME) is a mini documentary visible by scanning the QR code in front of the house once inhabited by Maria and her children, who still talks about it with nostalgia and melancholy. HOTEL FUENTI is a led sign realized together with Rosa Musco. The writing refers to the well-known story of the local Amalfi Hotel which was commonly called “Hotel Fuenti” and from which the Italian term Ecomostro (Eco-monster) came.
DIMENTICARE I PROPRI ANTENATI SIGNIFICA ESSERE UN RUSCELLO SENZA FONTE (FORGETTING YOUR ANCESTORS MEANS BEING A STREAM WITHOUT A SOURCE), realized together with Emilio Pellegrino, is a work of rehabilitation of a pre-existing structure left in a state of neglect at the source of water known as “del Cesare”. Scraps of ceramic tiles now cover the bench and the fountain. The Chinese proverb of the title will be then fixed. web site of the project
Espansa. 2017. In the post-war period, the town of Lumezzane, in the Brescia area, experienced a wave of industrial development. For this reason, the town is also know as “The Factory-City”. Over the years, iron and steel industries have been gradually integrated into the urban landscape, merging with the existing buildings and creating some particular architectural typologies. The project of Fabrizio Bellomo, which is named “Espansa”, takes shape inside this singular historical context and from the knowledge of this specific reality. It was commissioned by the Department of Cultural Policies of the Municipality of Lumezzane in order to create a permanent and public work of art. Besides, it started from the suggestions coming from a previous project of the artist in another industrial city, Sesto San Giovanni, and from the discovery on the newspaper “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 is 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 on 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.
An exact copy of the original 1912 advertisement has been printed by the artist in 2012 in a local newspaper NUOVA SESTO (pg.16). With this side project the artist want to focus – again – on the current value of a 100 year ADV which despite the time, those in power and trends continues to hold his strong meaning and invite to reflect on the power and values of words and its uses.
VEGLA BEN USTAIN. 2015. The work "The tool makes the master" was born during Bellomo’s residency at Tirana Art Lab and therefore is deeply connected to the city’s social dynamics. The artist focuses his attention precisely on a very busy point at one of the entrances of Tirana: Shqiponja (Eagle) Square, known among citizens also as “Dogana”. This space was not only busy with vehicles entering and exiting the capital but was also a standing point for unemployed workers who, with their tools, waited for someone to hire them occasionally. Having their tools already with them made their fast hiring even more possible. Such a scene, almost “normal” in the Albanian society context, becomes the basis for the artist’s work which develops in an intervention/performance and documentation of it in photography/video. In this case, the artist is not the performer; he invites one of the workers to be the man. Bellomo asks him to engrave with his jackhammer on one of Dogana’s walls the following statement in Albanian: Vegla ben ustain (The tool makes the master). Such a quote, which is used as a popular saying in Albania, becomes tangible on the wall and an integrated part of the worker’s scene waiting for a job, an opportunity, waiting for something. Bellomo’s “The tool makes the master” was realized during his residency at Tirana Art Lab and it was exhibited in the exhibition “Double Feature #3 - Fabrizio Bellomo & Elton Baxhaku” at Tirana Art Lab.
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. ...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).
performance. 2021. After many years of research and inspections, Bellomo realizes this performance, here his intent is to tear off a large advertising sheet from a public billboard.
Senza Titolo (Isola Art Center). 2010. [...] The fight-specifity can also be achieved through various forms of intervention: the posters of Mirko Smerdel “Your Skyscrapers will be rubble before they are even built” projected at the bookshop of the district; the incursion of Fabrizio Bellomo inside the construction site for planting an illegal vegetal garden [...].
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.
Heronjte. 2022. After the residency period spent in Albania, Fabrizio Bellomo presents at ArtHouse Shkodra and at Careof Milan, the materials collected and selected during the residency. Materials related to the study that the artist carried out here, starting from the events related to the statue of the 5 Heroes of Vig, and tracing and analyzing the similar stories of several other monuments whose history remained unsolved after the fall of the regime. Video materials, archival videos, texts, souvenirs, interviews, so as to create a personal geography on Albanian monuments. For the occasion, the volume HERONJTË will also be presented, which brings together several of these collected and selected materials, as well as texts by Bellomo and Adrian Paci.
"5 Heronjtë" is a winning research of Italian Council (10th edition, 2021), a program of support, promotion and valorization of contemporary Italian art in the world of the Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea del Ministero della Cultura.
Natura Morta. 2022. A return at home through the rhythm of the memories of the smells of the colors of the shapes and of the sound, abandoning more and more the classic narratives and giving voice to the sensations of the taste of live without any other purpose to claim.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chi è veloce si fa male. 2020. ...from Hualien to Milan, from Tirana to Florence, a long trip to discover the stories of millions of people engaged in their work, both physically and mentally, ideas and gestures, including Also in the process of converting things into value. A practice that today is the focus of a wide and deep re-examination process and which is the theme of "Forza Lavoro" a series of meetings promoted and hosted by the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation, within which is included "Chi è veloce si fa male" a program of screenings, curated by Fabrizio Bellomo. Work as seen through the medium of artas well as video work by Iva Kontic, Giacomo Zaganelli and Silvia Piantini, Fausto Falchi, Nico Angiuli, Sergio Giusti, Enrico Gabrielli and Enece Film and by Bellomo himself. But also construed by the words of union representatives, journalists and researchers who, in the course of the encounters, will discuss the issues inherent in the ways in which contemporary work is done and, in the future, can be performed.
Prosecco e Pop Corn. 2013. ...was born from the urge to expand the limits of action and discussion of an art gallery and Fabrizio Bellomo's (artist and video maker) interest in bringing together within a curatorial format a series of video works and films particularly close to his research.
Choosing the image as a language of study, documentation and communication in the context that surrounds us, this small but emblematic selection addresses the language of video through its many facets. Somewhere between a video-art exhibition and a film review.
The program is divided into three distinct moments aimed at an analysis of representation through different points of view. The parts are articulated in such a way as to be concatenated with each other, so as to follow guidelines that are usually more suited to the format of an editorial essay than a video review.
cartoline dalle Puglie. 2010/11. ...is a curatorial project developed through two distinct but connected editorial projects. The images of both projects have been taken in the Apulian territory and have been realized by young authors born in the Puglia (Apulia) Region. Authors’ researches have been carried out previously and separately from the curatorial project. The first editorial project consists of a book containing 24 single postcards that can be mailed. The book has been produced by a small publishing house, chiavediSvolta, thanks to the support of the Puglia Region and the competition notice Principi Attivi. This collection of postcards is the first result of an on going project on Apulia’s photography. A particular map of the region emerges through the eyes of twelve young authors from Apulia. What brings these photographers together is the will to show hidden corners of their region, views that are far away from the common idea or concept seen in a postcard. Showing the unseen is not necessarily criticizing, it's an act of love for a land that you know profoundly even in its hidden corners.
The second editorial project developed itself thanks to the concession of a back cover of a local weekly magazine, Il Paese Nuovo, (released each Wednesday, for a total of 13 weeks from March until July 2011). The reader has been previously informed that, keeping all the pages of the collection, at the end of the project he would have been able to personally assemble the complete editorial project. The project has been conceived and edited by Fabrizio Bellomo, with the collaboration of Giuseppe De Mattia as far as the the postcards book is concerned, and Maria Guidone for the editorial development of the book itself.