“Torri Contemporanee” with Beatrice Catanzaro, Søren Lose and Andrea Nacciarriti

An artistic project for public space in the context of Learning from Malpighi

“The Contemporary Towers” is a project that calls for a new look from the public scene, a call to lift our heads and stand front of the towers. The project, curated by Nosadella.due, born from an idea of Articolture and is realized thanks to the support of the Foundation Del Monte, the collaboration of the Municipality of Bologna and the patronage of MAMbo.

These are the three artistic projects by Søren Lose, Beatrice Catanzaro and Andrea Nacciarriti in the towers Lambertini, Alberici e Uguzzoni in the historical centre of Bologna. They want to be a temporary moment of transition, an input that leaves traces in the conscience of people, giving them a moment of awareness in relation to past stories that layer.

Through three public art interventions on three towers in Bologna the project seeks to present passers-by with novel viewpoints – not reconstructions of the past but imaginative re-appraisals, which transform the towers into arenas for alternative ‘histories’, creating a space for people to imagine, day-dream and fantasise about their towers – these strange, little-known, mysterious, and yet all-too-familiar lofty structures, that mark the hinges around which the city turns. Using this approach, we can experience them in our own way, focus our own thoughts on them and allow ourselves to create a personal vision in relation to them.

The Tower (Via Santo Stefano, 4 – Bologna)

Where once there was the old town customs, we now come across with the Palace of Mercanzia, designed at the end of 1300 by the architect of the San Petronio church. At left, the old buildings from wooden porches are bearing Bologna medieval memory and can be seen just beyond the Tower Alberici. The family erected it in the twelfth century, unfortunately, its 27 meters high were long stifled by a modest building that hid the view and only in 1928, thanks to a careful restoration of the adjacent houses, was the ancient breath rediscovered. Fortunately, it is still possible to see the shop with the Serraglia wood shaped wine cellar, maintained during the restoration of the original. Is said to be the oldest of Bologna, dating from 1273, realized at the time for 25 Lire (the old Italian currency): the work has involved the “cleaning” of the walls, as it was used to extend the interior space. The original thickness of the walls by contrast suggests that the tower itself could be higher initially. Probably later was then lowered to reduce the weight and for the same reason, at the same time, the summit has been converted into a roof. Similarly, the tower bears visible traces on the facade of the typical holes of medieval Bologna, and some Hiding places: the first were used as anchor for the scaffolding of the building site of the tower itself, the second, larger, fit for wood beams of the maze of galleries, stairs and floors that unite the various parts of the tower, or the tower with houses and other surrounding towers of spouses or family friends.


The artistic project: Scaffolder (ponteggio)

Intrigued by the construction techniques employed in the building of Bologna’s medieval towers, whit Scaffolder (ponteggio) Beatrice Catanzaro reminds us of current practices that are not so different from those of that distant period to which the towers of Bologna belong. In countries like China and India (and, indeed, in many others) bamboo has traditionally been used for the construction of scaffolding. During the middle ages, timber was used in the same way for building the lofty structures which today characterise the city of Bologna and in which traces of the holes on the exterior walls are still visible. The enormous flexibility and strength of bamboo, as well as its rapid growth, make this material ideal in unusual construction sites, notably for high buildings, such as skyscrapers. Accordingly, the artist has decided to draw a parallel between two very different cultures as a means to reawaken the public’s interest about urban areas which usually attract little attention. By means of an act of displacement, and replacement by an ‘alien’ structure, this artist induces us to reflect on the tower as it appears today, displaying those architectural features which we rarely think about but which testify to its past. At the same time we are asked to reflect on a building technique which, whether or not we are familiar with it, is undoubtedly different from that customarily used in Europe. Having imported a cargo of bamboo from China, Barbara Catanzaro recreates a ‘hypothetical’ scaffolding on the facade of the Alberici Tower, seemingly reproducing an old method which, at the same time, speaks to us about the present, transporting us to other places and contexts. Under the direction of an expert architect the artist will study and then demonstrate to passers-by during the installation phase (in situ) how such scaffolding was actually put up, employing craftsmen with experience of building with bamboo.

For the realization of the installation a special thanks goes to Constantine Charalabopoulos and Genco Goxhoj.

The artist: Born in Milan in 1975, Beatrice Catanzaro lives and works in Lisbon. Performs action and interventions of public art with a particular interest in the socio-political dynamics that characterize the evolution of contemporary society. Her projects show a common denominator: the deep sensitivity to social and urban issues, highlighted with humor and lightness through artistic practice. Beatrice interwoven stories, perceptions, meanings and places placing together realities sometimes distant and dissonant, with an emphasis on the contradictions and paradoxes of the different urban contexts and the way in which people relate.

Graduated at the Brera Fine Arts Academy – Painting, Beatrice Catanzaro participated in the Master in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus in Weimar with an exchange program at Oxford Brookes University. Between 2003 and 2004 is involved with the residency program of the Foundation Rats and the international art residency at Unidee Cittadellarte – Pistoletto Foundation.

The Tower Lambertini (Piazza Re Enzo – Bologna)

Palazzo Re Enzo it should be observed from via Rizzoli to discern, with some attention, the silhouette of the tower Lambertini, set – and camouflaged – just on the north eastern corner of the Palace. This is more properly a Casatorra (tower house), which was purchased in 1294 by the city of Bologna to enlarge the official residence, formed by the palatium vetus – the older version whole of the Podestà and the palatium novum, the so-called Re Enzo. Guelfa family had much influence in the bloody conflicts for power in Bologna municipality, the Lambertini contributed strongly to the expulsion of Lambertazzi, representatives of the Ghibellines in the city, which occurred in 1274 after more than forty years of struggle, fires and looting. But most of all they are responsible for the famous capture of Enzo, King of Sardinia and the son of Frederick II, who spent his remaining life locked up in the palace, which has his name. The family was erased, and the tower is the only memory of their illustrious past, a substantially slender building, 25-meter, altered over the centuries. Roof, doors and windows were made at different times, of course without considering the entrance at ground floor. the balcony door and the smaller window, visible on the eastern face, should be original, that is the only openings that may be considered to be of the twelfth century. Indeed, the big door and the wider windows have a more modern style, and were presumably carried out when the tower was assigned to Captain of the People (People Capitan), the judiciary of the city in 1255. Incorporated in the palace, had suffered obvious internal readjustments. Others took a half century later, when the palace became a prison, first female, then serving the Capitano del Popolo and Podestà (City Hall President). Then again, the site of the first public mechanical clock, which even now, looking always on the upper east side, you may notice the two large shelves that operated it. Other interventions are attributable to the early twentieth century, under the directives of Alfonso Rubbiani, characterized by a restoration “in style” which today makes it difficult to distinguish what is authentic and what is not.


The artistic project: Imperfect Structure

Starting from the idea of a confrontation between past and present in the architectural sphere Søren Lose has created an overlap of styles as a superposition of epochs. Regarding the conservative tendency that characterizes cities with a historical heritage like Bologna, Lose proposes a modernist vision of the tower, where the typical lines of a Seventies building are affecting the surface of the ancient medieval tower. A white and bright construction, in sharp contrast with the stone of the original tower, is built on existing walls without covering them completely, rather the opposite: the original surface of the tower is overall pretty much visible. In this way a dialogue between the real past and a fictitious and artificial present is drawn. This false construction, made of lightweight and ephemeral material, is very fragile and thus while being destroyed under the eyes of the bystander indicates, firstly, the inevitable passing of time, and also the trends that characterizes modern architecture, who evolves in shorter and faster periods than the old. If in fact the historical monuments are subjected to a constant practice of restoration that will preserve the original condition, modern architecture does not have the same attention and undergoes continuous changes throughout the years that cause it’s destruction.

First of all as a photographer, Lose interprets the monuments of the different urban contexts that he explores turning them into photo-sculptural unities in which the diversity of buildings are combined in a harmonious blend. This unities are real and proper clippings of the basic elements and architectural profiles of buildings that are tributes to the wild architectural growth in time. Giving space to imagination, the Nordic artist brings to Bologna a personal vision to grant a typical building like the tower a new life that had not yet been permitted. His temporary proposal offers, through the implementation of its own imagination, as a starting point to enrich the collective imaginary landscape in which the tower daily inhabits and as an invitation to imagine its possible evolution.

The artist: SØREN LOSE

Born in Nykøbing Falster, Denmark, in 1972, Søren Lose lives and works in Berlin. Works primarily with photography, but also video and installation, searching for an interaction between the various languages with which explores the theme of travel and thus time. His works reveal a deep sensitivity to the feelings of melancholy – nineteen century taste – inspired by the vision of architectural ruins, romantic evocation of common approach of many Northern European artists. At the same time, however, he is attentive and interested in the lucid and rigorous beauty of modern architecture and thus his poetry is a continuous comparison between ancient and present. In his architectural works past and modern collide, fuse into a talk, to create new hybrids, resulting in an unreal and suspended time.

In 2008 exhibited in Italy for the first time in Milan.


The Tower Uguzzoni (Vicolo Mandria – Bologna)

Symbolically crossing one of the “gates” of what for centuries has been the Jewish ghetto of Bologna, one unusual calm greets the stroller coming from via Oberdan or San Simon piazzetta, and enters Tubertini and alley Mandria, often in ways unknown to the general Bologna citizen. This view of urban landscapes in this dark and narrow passages, most than other views reminiscent of Bologna Medievale past. On Mandria alley once dark bricked, the left stands in dark beauty the Tower Uguzzoni, nestling in a corner that seems not to have known the passage of time. Thirty two meters, on a very wide base, covered with blocks of selenite to finish in a strait wall not inclined as usual. At the top is visible a covered corridor that crowns the building, but for sure posthumous, dating from the 17th century. And again, the old door opening on the base, with the usual selenite architrave surmounted by a lancet or pointed arch (arco a sesto acuto), two windows, an round arc to the left and another also arched but more central. This out of axis order relates more to a Casatorre (Tower House), rather than a real tower. Under the window of the first floor, the 5 holes, net bridge, which clearly supported the wooden beams of the gallery, complete this picture of an almost realistic long ago.


Il progetto artistico: Untitled (Quelli di Cernauti)

Always attentive to the architectural context that are around, wjth Untitled (Quelli di Cernauti) Andrea Nacciarriti reflects on the paradoxes inherent to the very structure of the tower, yesterday as well as today. Symbols of power that must reach the highest peaks in order to express a degree of absolute power, family wise then, business wise today, towers like today’s skyscrapers remain victims of their very nature and shape, not allowing way to escape for those who remain trapped inside.

If in a unknown past men, victims of fire and destruction, threw themselves from the towers in flames or from windows, one of the strongest images of contemporary times remains the fall of victims from the Twin Towers. Starting from a reflection on these kind of repeating dramatic episodes, the artist questions the “struggle for salvation,” but translating that thought into a contemporary popular and recognizable language such as football. Guest in Bologna on the 100th anniversary of the local team Bologna FC, and spectator of “the struggle for salvation” for the A League, Nacciarriti takes the opportunity to speak to the inhabitants of a sports city like Bologna, through an imaginary which belongs to them but at the same time is rooted in its individuality. Big fan of football the artist has in fact already on other occasions adopted exhibition football vocabulary by using it as a recognized code of communication, able to communicate to everyone. Thus the goal of a football field can be transformed into a safety net to save any fallen person and create wonder and surprise. The aim of the project is in fact to generate surprise to those who come in the ghetto where the Uguzzoni tower is located, a silent and mysterious place that becomes the occasion for a scene of unexpected occurrence due to the presence of an object placed utterly out of context regarding its usual location.

It finally becomes a monument, the artist decided to dedicate it to the memory of the Bologna Football club player Rino Pagotto and his improvised team during the deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Those of Cernauti, at the time named Chernivtsi, a present time city of Ukraine, which in sport found a way out from the horror of war.

The artist wish to thank Marchingegno for the installation of the work.


Born in 1975 in Ostra Vetere, Andrea Nacciarriti lives and works in Senegallia. His works are distinguished by the tight relationship with the architectural and environmental context from which he draws inspiration: they are geometrical abstractions that fit and interact with the space that welcomes the work, or implants and superstructures – monumental ready made – which distort perception. The linearity and the essentialist of colors and shapes are not for the artist a limit for the exploration of social and anthropological significance. One example is the tendency of actions suggested by his personal passion for football, sport, and at the same time sociological phenomenon, which takes up the vocabulary, popular and immediate, and then readjust it as communicative medium of his works.

Graduated at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, after a period of residence and study in Bilbao, and then takes part in the Upper Course of Visual Arts at the Ratti Foundation in Como.