La storia sui muri // History on the walls

periodo: 8-27 November 2016
luogo: Urban Center, Biblioteca Sala Borsa di Bologna (now Fondazione Innovazione Urbana)
tipologia: retrospective
focus: political history of through photos of graffiti and street art

La storia sui muri is the first case of reference to graffiti as the only historical source to tell the story of a city, presenting unpublished material recovered by our research group from both public and private archives.

The photographic exhibition was held from 8 to 27 November 2016 at Urban Center, public venue dedicated to urban development, located on the top floor of Sala Borsa, the most important and central library in Bologna. Later La storia sui muri was exhibited at the Palazzo della Comunità di Medicina, thanks to the collaboration of the councillor Valentina Baricordi.

Objectives

The main goal of the exhibition and its collateral activities was to encourage a change in the perception of the role of graffiti and street art, suggesting a shift from a merely aesthetic point of view to a historic one.
In order to achieve this goal, Joint Arts has set the following objectives:

  • main objectives

→ the exhibition of about 150 photographs, including archival and original material;

→ the performance by Alessandro “Dado” Ferri, Bolognese writer known for his research on lettering, visual composition and artistic improvisation;

  • social objectives

→ encouraging an individual historical interpretation in visitors by exhibiting images without captions or written indications;

→ stimulating in the local context the acceptance of graffiti and street art as historical heritage.

Contents

The photographic exhibition draws a historical path covering the political events of Bologna from the fascist period to the present day. Among the most representative events, the post-war reconstruction of the 1950s, the student movements and protests of ’68 and ’77, the development of the first squatted social centers in the 1990s and the recent reaction of the local art scene to the musealisation of street-art.

Methods

Joint Arts carried out actions aimed at increading the public awareness of the culturale value of street art and graffiti by pointing out the key concepts and values behind the project and publishing advances and results of thearchival research on the Joint Arts website and on social media.

La mostra è stata curata seguendo il “metodo Warburg”: le foto sono state raggruppate in gruppi temporali senza pannelli informativi (tranne brevemente all’inizio e alla fine) né didascalie, al fine di creare una progressione visiva-mnemonico che mira a produrre una maggiore conoscenza della storia della città, dell’importanza della “graffiti culture” del ruolo di tale cultura nel panorama urbano sociale e storico.

The exhibition was curated following the “Warburg method“: photos were sorted in time groups devoided of information panels (except introductory texts at the beginning and at the end of the exhibition path) or captions, in order to create a visual-mnemonic progression that aims to produce a deeper knowledge of the history of the city, understanding of the importance of “graffiti culture” and of its role in the social and historical urban landscape.

Sulla sinistra, un primo gruppo di riquadri grigi disposti in ordine apparentemente casuale a rappresentare il primo gruppo temporale; a questo primo blocco ne seguono altri due, in una progressione in cui gli elementi assumono significato in relazione agli altri elementi del gruppo e agli elementi dei gruppi precedenti.
Un rendering dei gruppi temporali secondo il metodo Warburg

Partendo dal lato sinistro si ha un primo gruppo di riquadri grigi disposti in ordine apparentemente casuale a rappresentare il primo gruppo temporale; a questo primo blocco ne seguono altri due, in una progressione in cui gli elementi assumono significato in relazione agli altri elementi del gruppo e in correlazione agli elementi dei gruppi precedenti.

Starting from the left side, a first group of gray squares arranged in an apparently random fashion stands for the first temporal group; this first block is followed by two others, in a progression in which the elements in a group take on meaning in relation each other and in correlation with the elements of the previous groups.

Partners

For the organization of the exhibition Joint Arts collaborated with numerous entities in the Bolognese and national territory. Public and private foundations and archives contributed to our historical research on graffiti and street art in Bologna:

  • Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna
    non-profit institution of banking origin, since 1473 it has been carrying out social solidarity initiatives and promoting culture in Emilia Romagna;
  • Fondazione Gramsci
    historical archive institute whose mission is to facilitate political discussion and debate in the city of Bologna;
  • Acer
    Emilia Romagna institution for housing, helping the local population access housing at controlled prices. At the forefront of urban planning trends, Acer housing have often hosted artistic interventions;
  • Cineteca di Bologna
    deeply rooted in the territory yet international in its scope, the film archive, among its wider mission, preserves the film and photographic heritage of the city;
  • Cassero LGBT Center
    reference point for queer culture in Bologna, Cassero is a cultural and political space engaged in the promotion trans, gay and lesbian rights;
  • Istituto Parri
    based in Bologna, Gold Medal city for Resistance against nazi-fascism, Istituto Parri is laboratory for the knowledge of the contemporary world whose mission is to preserve and disseminate the historical memory of the 20th century;
  • I fotografici di UFO: Luciano Nadalini, Piero Casadei and Enrico Scuro
    Free-lance photographers whose large archive documents the social movements and changes occured in Bologna during the revolutionary season of the 70s;
  • Fondazione Carisbo and Genus Bononiae
    the Foundation promotes the economic and social development of the territory and its community, bringing support to third parties’ projects and curating numerous initiatives, including Genus Bononiae, network of city museums.

Joint Arts also thanks Fondazione Golinelli, REST-ART Festival, Vanilia & Comics pub, Beer4Bunnies brewery, Dynamo la Velostazione di Bologna and Baracca e Burattini restaurant for hosting La storia sui muri events.

Un enorme drago sputa fuoco sul sistema, il Vaticano, le tasse, i sindacati, Z/angherie, Scandali, Ciellini e dissesto ecologico. Alle sue spalle, "Alice vola" e un gruppo di indiani d'America armati di lancia.
Su un palazzo di case popolari l'intervento artistico colora una facciata con cerchi dai solidi bordi neri riempiti di colori primari, inframezzati da rettangoli orizzontali.
Un gruppo di bambini fa merenda con delle mele nello spiazzo antistante un condominio occupato in cui svetta il graffito "Casa occupata" al Pilastro
Un murales dai colori sgargianti ritrae Papa Ratzinger con una mano su un interruttore (effettivamente installato sulla parete del murales, benché inattivo). Appeno dietro al papa, un personaggio non identificato che indossa un cappellino da baseball grida. Sullo sfondo, una cttà con grattacieli esplode nel fungo di un'esplosione atomica.
La storia sui muri a Medicina