Bologna, Jacopo Benassi's portraits inaugurate new exhibition space: Palazzo Bentivoglio

Bologna, from January 29 to March 31 Jacopo Benassi's 'Bologna Portraits' opens a new exhibition venue: Palazzo Bentivoglio.

A new exhibition space dedicated to temporary exhibitions and events opens in Bologna inside the basement of Palazzo Bentivoglio, in the heart of the city and its famous university area. Inaugurating the space will be the exhibition Bologna Portraits, a solo show by Jacopo Benassi (La Spezia, 1970) that chronicles the artist’s special relationship with the city context. The project is meant to be a tribute and a reflection on Bologna and its citizens, a special look at the place where this new exhibition reality is emerging and will operate in the coming years. The exhibition is part of the main projects of ART CITY Bologna 2019 on the occasion of Arte Fiera and can be visited from Tuesday, January 29 to Sunday, March 31, 2019.

Bologna Portraits, curated by Antonio Grulli, brings together a selection of photographs taken by the artist during his stays in Bologna in recent years. The central body of works consists of a series of portraits of personalities linked to the city. Artists, writers, entrepreneurs, businessmen, bartenders, fashion designers, musicians, cultural entertainers, layabouts, actors, and so on. A hundred or so people of the most varied ages, from 20-year-olds to over-90s, who are part of the city landscape. The selection of faces to be photographed was often guided by chance, as well as by the artist’s normal closest acquaintances in the city. Not all are famous, but all have a face, an attitude or a physicality that struck Jacopo and that he felt the need to interpret with his lens, almost as if this series of works were a possible case study on portraiture. A case study that composes a mosaic capable of giving us one big portrait of Bologna today, made of the faces of some of the people who are animating and building it day by day.

Mingled with these photographs are images of a garden photographed in the dark of night. It is the inner garden of Palazzo Bentivoglio, the place where the artist usually resides when he is in town and where he has taken most of the portraits. The photographs of leaves, plants and trees, were taken when Jacopo could not sleep and ended up wandering alone in that dark but beautiful environment, straddling natural and artificial, in a strange private and hidden dimension of the city. These night shots, mixed with faces, end up creating a spatial contextualization that is also a metaphor for psychological and intimate states of the subjects portrayed.

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Bologna Portraits produced and distributed internationally by Damiani, a Bolognese publishing house( The book is a four-handed collaboration with critic Antonio Grulli with whom the special layout centered on a close dialogue of images and text was conceived. It is a 208-page publication, in Italian and English, which will be presented at the Palazzo Bentivoglio exhibition space on Sunday, February 3, at 3 p.m. Palazzo Bentivoglio’s exhibition space, which can be accessed from Via del Borgo di San Pietro 1, will not have a continuous schedule and regular opening, but will “light up” from time to time throughout the year for specific events of varying duration, as needed.

Bologna Portrairs opens Jan. 29-31 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Feb. 1 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to midnight, the remaining days by appointment. Info on the artist at

Image: Jacopo Benassi, Untitled, portrait of Luigi Ontani (2018; b/w photograph). Courtesy Jacopo Benassi

Bologna, Jacopo Benassi's portraits inaugurate new exhibition space: Palazzo Bentivoglio
Bologna, Jacopo Benassi's portraits inaugurate new exhibition space: Palazzo Bentivoglio

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