In Bologna, Mimmo Paladino's exhibition in the Palace of the Pope

Mimmo Paladino returns after many years to exhibit in Bologna with large paintings and sculptures that the public will be able to see at Palazzo Boncompagni from Feb. 1 to April 7, 2024.

From February 1 to April 7, 2024, Palazzo Boncompagni, in Bologna, presents the new Mimmo Paladino exhibition entitled Mimmo Paladino in the Pope’s Palace, a show that after Michelangelo Pistoletto, Marino Marini and Aldo Mondino, sees a great contemporary artist display his works in the splendid 16th-century spaces of Pope Gregory XIII’s palace. The exhibition, organized by the Fondazione Palazzo Boncompagni, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Arte Fiera with an internationally renowned artist who returns after many years to exhibit in Bologna and who has always successfully measured himself with multiple creative languages, bringing his particular poetics to every sphere. The exhibition, curated by Silvia Evangelisti and realized with the support of Emil Banca, will present some 20 important works, paintings and large-scale sculptures documenting his research over the past two decades. The fulcrum of the exhibition is the Papal Audience Hall at the center of which will be the titanic installation of thirteen black horses. While two tall, hieratic figures of Warriors will welcome visitors at the entrance to the Covered Loggia, where the enchanting installation of the seven character-ideograms of Respiro from 1995 will also be on display, along with an imposing bronze Helmet from 1998, decorated in relief with arcane symbols-numbers, labyrinths, letters of an unknown language. The tour continues through the interior rooms of the palace, enriched with paintings, including a new series of six Black Madonnas and a large painting that marks the conclusion of the exhibition itinerary.

The presence of horses recalls many frescoes that characterize the Palace’s iconography. In the sumptuous 16th-century Papal Audience Room, horses fight to free themselves and emerge from a mysterious imprisonment: the artist gives them life force through figures with synthetic forms, which seem to symbolically exalt the human condition, inviting us to reflect on the way we face life’s difficulties. “Don’t see the blackness of horses as a negative aspect,” explains Mimmo Paladino, “But rather, blackness is energy, and then who better than a bolted horse to come out of this great dark fog.” Particularly in this case, as the work is placed inside a large, strongly connoted frescoed hall, the artist intends to change the architectural structure of the place and at the same time dialogue with the frescoed ceiling and the Stories of David and Goliath depicted in them. The artist’s works embody a fusion of East and West in the perception of the sacred, from antiquity to the present day, dealing with the mystery of nature and humanity, expressed through the language of art. This poetics is reflected in the six paintings of Black Madonnas, exhibited in a dedicated room at Palazzo Boncompagni, transforming them into popular icons, similar to those traditionally placed along streets and in shrines to protect individuals throughout the centuries.

“Mimmo Paladino, an artist of his time, dialogues with the past and its archetypes, as well as with the present, evoking in his works the profound need to grasp the mystery of life and death that unites people of all times and of today in particular,” says exhibition curator Silvia Evangelisti “There is, in his work, a call to a kind of ritual ancestral symbolism that, while reinserted in the living contemporaneity, refers back to a distant, almost mythical time even if in his works Paladino does not intend to tell stories of myths, as he himself declares, but rather to open immaterial windows on another world, a world of images and rituals and figures that is buried within our time and that perhaps belonged to us but is now lost. This is what his paintings and the arcane and inscrutable figures of his sculptures speak of.”

“My visual culture,” declares Mimmo Paladino, “stems from an idea of layering, with figurative and non-figurative images, sometimes even decorative and minimal. It is the physical and mental landscape of southern Italy, full of fragments rather than defined images. A shattered and reconstructed history a history of passages and traces where a fragment of a Roman head interlocks with a block from an earlier era. Then come the Lombards who add still more and then everything becomes a collage of abstract and figurative or unrecognizably figurative elements. My unconscious point of reference I find precisely in the culture of the south, in those architectures and works made of necessary and yet anonymous signs. In that region when a wall was erected it was done with ruins from other eras and with unearthed fragments. This is where the sign of man transposed into a work functional to spirituality comes from.”

“Mimmo Paladino’s exhibition continues the mission of the Fondazione Palazzo Boncompagni to host in the residence of Pope Gregory XIII great protagonists of contemporary art who dialogue with the halls of the Palace, always proposing new discoveries and unexpected and surprising encounters between art, history, and culture.”, says Paola Pizzighini Benelli, president of the Fondazione Palazzo Boncompagni “We are particularly happy, in 2024, which celebrates 50 years of Arte Fiera, to propose a review that takes us inside the poetics of an artist who has created a new paradigm for world art with his figure that from the archaic projects us directly into our present and beyond. It is a vision that is also ours, and the success of the exhibitions of these years and of all the initiatives testifies to the vitality of Palazzo Boncompagni and its central role in city and national life.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Pendragon with images of the photographed works set up, texts in Italian and English by curator Silvia Evangelisti and Engineer Paola Pizzighini Benelli.

Practical information

Art City - Opening hours Feb. 1-2-4: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Opening hours Feb. 3: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (guided tours accompanied by violin music in three shifts: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.). Access arrangements during Art City: free limited access by reservation Ordinary opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Closed Monday. Ordinary access mode, paid admission by reservation Full ticket: €12.00 - €9.00 reduced groups/ Card Cultura Bologna / Touring Club Italiano;- Children under 10 free.

In Bologna, Mimmo Paladino's exhibition in the Palace of the Pope
In Bologna, Mimmo Paladino's exhibition in the Palace of the Pope

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