Bologna, at Palazzo Paltroni an exhibition dedicated to Beatrice Alemagna, picture book author

An exhibition dedicated to Italy's foremost picture book author, Beatrice Alemagna: this is the one that runs through April 26 in Bologna's Palazzo Paltroni, gathering more than 200 works.

The Hamelin association in Bologna dedicates an exhibition to the art of Beatrice Alemagna (Bologna, 1973), the greatest contemporary Italian picture book author, and the best known abroad. The large-scale solo exhibition Le cose preziose. The Stubborn Quest of Beatrice Alemagna, on view at Palazzo Paltroni from March 6 to April 26, 2023, brings together the secret side of the author’s work: not only the most widely read and award-winning albums, but also a great deal of previously unpublished material that composes a complete portrait of Alemagna and the deepest nodes of her poetics. Childhood, the city and nature, identity and the search for the answer to a great question: what is a child?

With more than 200 works, the exhibition traces the artist’s entire career by following some red threads, among which stands out that of research, evoked also by the title; the obstinate attitude of theartist in questioning through drawing becomes visible thanks to a body of beautiful unpublished materials - sketches, drafts, large drawings and notebooks - where the creative flow of the author takes its shape giving visitors the opportunity to enter, literally, the Alemagna “workshop.”

In the dialogue between the magmatic work of research and the “finished” plates of the author’s albums, one will have direct experience of another irrepressible characteristic of the artist: that of never being able to stop at the results achieved, despite success and recognition, and of tirelessly proceeding toward new goals, new techniques, new forms of representation, new subjects to be told.

The exhibition route does not follow a chronological order but focuses on the deepest nodes of Alemagna’s poetics: the centrality of spaces - of their composition, of their narrative meaning, of the relationship they establish with the characters -, the representation of childhood, the progressive mutation in the approach to storytelling, the centrality of objects constitute the sections of the exhibition, without forgetting the space dedicated to “her” Snow White and a series of tributes to greats in the history of art never exhibited before.

The secret lies in Alemagna’s sensitivity in first looking at, and then representing, childhood, always felt as other, endowed with “its” precise nature. This skill in capturing the expressions, bodies, and desires of little girls and boys led to the recent Al parco(Topipittori), beautiful and sorrowful in showing a childhood stubbornly playing, even in the dramatic vacuum of the lockdowns of the past few years. It was precisely this book, coauthored with Swedish writer Sara Stridsberg, that earned her an award specially conceived by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair: The Extraordinary Award for an Extraordinary Artist the title of the special recognition of the extraordinary talent of an illustrator who “has been able to offer amazing proof of how art can give representation to an entire period of global crisis, such as the prolonged pandemic emergency, through a style that is both poetic and enlightening, and without any rhetoric.”

Accompanying the exhibition Alfabeto Alemagna is a valuable monographic volume also edited by Hamelin and included in the series Topi Saggi, published by Topipittori: not a simple catalog but a true monographic essay divided into 22 headings-from A for Animals to I for Identity to T for Theater-that guides readers and visitors to the exhibition through the layers and complexity of the artist’s work, thanks to a very rich repertoire of often unpublished images and critical interventions by Hamelin and scholars such as Martino Negri, Sophie Van der Linden, and Giovanna Zoboli.

The exhibition is in collaboration with Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Alfabeto Alemagna can be purchased at Trame bookstore (via Goito 3/c).

Beatrice Alemagna is the guest speaker at a public meeting in the Aula Magna of theAccademia di Belle Arti in Bologna (via delle Belle Arti, 54): on Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. she will talk about her artistic journey, the doubts and stubbornness that always run through her, and the themes and modes of her illustration making. The conversation with Beatrice Alemagna is part of a series of meetings that the Academy of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Hamelin, is dedicating to great artists of comics and illustration. The exhibition, promoted and organized by the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, is curated by Hamelin with the collaboration of Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The exhibition presents more than 200 works by the artist, with an important body of previously unpublished materials, spanning his entire career.

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Bologna, at Palazzo Paltroni an exhibition dedicated to Beatrice Alemagna, picture book author
Bologna, at Palazzo Paltroni an exhibition dedicated to Beatrice Alemagna, picture book author

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