In Bologna, Bettina Buck's production is traced, starting with her research on sculpture

Among the main projects of ART CITY Bologna 2023 is an exhibition dedicated to German artist Bettina Buck. Finding Form intends to present the artist's journey from her research on sculpture as a tension toward a form in the making

From February 1 to 19, 2023, the exhibition Finding Form, dedicated to the work of German artist Bettina Buck (Cologne, 1974 - Berlin 2018), curated by Davide Ferri, will be open to the public in the Sala Convegni of Banca di Bologna at Palazzo De’ Toschi, one of the Main projects of ART CITY Bologna 2023, as part of Arte Fiera.

The project aims to present the artist’s path starting from her 20-year research on sculpture as a tension toward a form that is always part of a process in the making: this is what the title of the exhibition refers to.

The exhibition is structured around certain terms of the artist’s research: gravity, understood as a force to which form submits and yields, sometimes to the point of its zeroing; concealment, an allusion to a secret life of sculpture, to a form of it that is imagined and narratable rather than perceived with the senses; and finally, a certain idea of the domestic that identifies sculpture as something that takes shape in our immediate surroundings by altering, juxtaposing, and bending things that without the artist’s intervention remain things.

The exhibition is also meant to be a focus on Buck’s practice, which is distinguished by theuse of industrial materials commonly employed in private spaces, such as foam rubber, tile, latex foam, Styrofoam, carpet, and plastic, and which is connoted by a range of simple gestures. In each of the works in the exhibition, the body is central: it is the unit of measure of the sculpture, and it is also its metaphor. Sculpture, like the body, seeks its form over time.

The centerpiece of the exhibition project is Interlude I, a video of a solitary walk in the English countryside, in which the artist is filmed dragging a foam rubber form that can become many things: potential sculpture, simple encumbrance or burden, seat and vantage point on the landscape. The same foam rubber parallelepiped is transported to the halls of the National Gallery in Rome in Interlude II. In the halls of the museum it enters into dialogue with a cultural landscape, changing from time to time in meaning and transforming the performer’s own body, in contact with the works, the visitors, and the architecture of the museum, into a figure.

The works on display revolve around these two works by assonance and counterpoint, evoking the dialogic and performative nature of Bettina Buck’s work. 3 Upright is a sculpture composed of three freestanding elements. Over the course of the exhibition, the three structures will change shape as a result of gravity, until they collapse: while alluding to a structural element, a metaphor for strength and solidity, the three elements are instead extremely fragile shells, where the tension between two materials as different as ceramic and latex is bound to cause a shift in the order of the tiles, an ever-changing shape, and finally a fall. The point of collapse is inscribed in the very substance of the work, and it is at the moment of the work’s annihilation that its surface nature is revealed to us. Medusa Block invites us to look at the work from two points of view in which each excludes the other: either we consider the foam pillar as sculpture, or we identify it as the shell that prevents us from seeing the bronze sculpture it contains and which we can only imagine. The caption of Object (Proving), a raw clay parallelepiped transported by car by the artist from London to Berlin, where it was fired, shows the two measurements: the original and the ex post. The gap between the two tells of the process that brought it before our eyes. In Pressed Foam the weight of stone on foam acts silently, and barely perceptibly, while in Oracle lips the same principle (the weight of one thing on another) serves to shape an ironic image.

Opening Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.

Hours: Feb. 1, 2, 3 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to midnight; Feb. 5 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Until Feb. 19, the exhibition is open only on weekends: Friday 5-8 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Free admission.

Image: Bettina Buck, 3 Upright (2010-2012; installation, tiled canvas with latex-coated back). Courtesy of Bureau Bettina Buck.

In Bologna, Bettina Buck's production is traced, starting with her research on sculpture
In Bologna, Bettina Buck's production is traced, starting with her research on sculpture

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