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:
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. L’immagine del ponte è da sempre metafora di passaggio, di unione, di cambiamento. Indica l’attraversamento da un luogo a un altro, da un tempo a un altro, da una condizione a un’altra. Lo sapevano gli espressionisti tedeschi all’inizio del Novecento, quando al loro gruppo d’avanguardia scelsero di dare il nome Die Brücke; lo sapevano Christo e Jeanne Claude quando nel 1985 decisero di impacchettare le Pont Neuf di Parigi, il più antico della città, facendo “loro” il ponte degli impressionisti, in un’operazione concettuale effimera e potentissima; lo sa oggi Fabrizio Bellomo (Bari, 1982), che ha scelto il ponte per raccontare una storia di tolleranza e concordia, unendo passato e presente. Invitato dall’Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione a collaborare al progetto C’è tempo per le nespole. Nuove narrazioni dalla Grande Guerra, Fabrizio Bellomo ha realizzato una performance nel comune di Manduria, cittadina del basso tarantino in cui, il 17 giugno 1916, sono nati due bambini, uno da una coppia di manduriani, l’altro da due profughi trentini rifugiati in Puglia. La particolarità della vicenda è che i genitori si sono dichiarati vicendevole solidarietà, da italiani e da uomini, chiamando i loro figli rispettivamente Trento Dinoi e Mandurino Waiss. Suggestionato dalla loro storia, l’artista ha scelto di raccontarla attuando una performance. Sotto gli occhi incuriositi del pubblico, in agosto, su tre diversi ponti di Manduria, Fabrizio Bellomo ha retto una targa stradale simulando l’intitolazione di quei luoghi ai due bambini al fine di perpetuarne la memoria quali simboli di concordia, tanto più validi se rapportati ad un contesto generale di odio e risentimento com’era quello della guerra mondiale.
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.
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.
*curatorial project and film
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
32 dicembre. 2011. 3 channels video installation. A series of video-portraits of people from the city of Bari (southern Italy). The subjects are street sellers. The use of video is meant as a photographic time dilation. The subjects are unaware of being shot in video – they are convinced to be photographed.
Legge di conservazione della massa. 2017. * Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed. The law of mass conservation is based on the previous postulate. The video is titled just like this: "Law of Mass Conservation". The cultural value of a mechanical gear born from a tree branch is less important than the material value of the same object is composed: The wood. A several elderly people – alternated in different space-time plans – they highlight this lesson: nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed.
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Senza Titolo. 2010. Experimentation on the web language horizontality.
ARCHITECTURE ? SCULPTURES
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".
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.
E per te canterò tutta la vita. 2015. An urban myth becomes the excuse for two friends to engage on a motorcycle ride across Albania in order to explore its recent history and its intricate relationship with Italy as experienced through the media for more than 50 years. By examining web elements, archive materials and by interrogating the local inhabitants the two directors seek the truth in a legend that reveals a mysterious yet surreal connection between Italy and Albania. Nico Angiuli and Fabrizio Bellomo will get lost and become part of the media cauldron they wanted to analyze. This road-movie stands somewhat in between Marxism-Leninism and pop music.
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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.