Jacopo Benassi “Bologna Portraits” at Palazzo Bentivoglio, Bologna
The exhibition Bologna Portraits by Jacopo Benassi inaugurates the new space dedicated to temporary exhibitions and events on the basement level of Palazzo Bentivoglio, in the heart of the city and its famous university quarter.
The project tells of the artist’s special relationship with the urban context: a reflection on Bologna, the place in which this new exhibition space will operate over the years to come.
Bologna Portraits brings together a selection of photographs produced by the artist during his time in Bologna over recent years. The mainstay of the works is made up of a series of portraits of figures linked to the city. Artists, writers, entrepreneurs, bartenders, stylists, musicians and actors: around a hundred people, of all ages, and who all form part of the urban panorama. The selection of faces was often guided by chance, as well as by the artist’s contacts around the city, in a mix of chance encounters, friendship and desire. Not all of them are famous, but they all have a face, an attitude or a physicality that Jacopo felt the need to interpret through his lens, almost as if this series of works were a potential case study on the portrait as a medium through his black-and-white shots, all taken strictly with the use of the flashlight. The ensemble of photos creates a mosaic offering us a single great portrait of Bologna today, made up of the faces of some of the people who are bringing it to life and building it day after day.
These photographs are mixed together with the images of a garden photographed in the dead of night. It’s the internal garden of Palazzo Bentivoglio, the place where the artist usually stays when in town, and where he carried out most of the portraits. These nocturnal shots, mixed with faces, create an environmental contextualisation which is also a metaphor for the psychological and most intimate states of the subjects portrayed.
The photographs are set up on sculpture-tables – almost as if the works were still lying on the table in the artist’s studio – to underline how this is a genuine research project, one which has not necessarily reached completion.
The exhibition is accompanied by the book Bologna Portraits, produced and distributed by Damiani, the Bolognese publishing house. The volume is the result of collaboration with the critic and curator of the exhibition Antonio Grulli, with whom the particular layout, revolving around a close dialogue between images and text, was also conceived.
at Palazzo Bentivoglio, Bologna
until 31 March 2019