From January 19 to March 12, 2023 Palazzo Medici Riccardi will host the new exhibition Christian Balzano, Fuori dal mondo, promoted by Città Metropolitana di Firenze with the patronage of Regione Toscana, organized by MUS.E and Casa d’Arte San Lorenzo and cureted by Marco Tonelli.
“It is on this earth that men exert power and crave riches, throwing humanity into disarray, and triggering fratricidal wars”: this is what we read on the map engraved around 1580 by the cartographer Epichtonius Cosmopolites, the so-called Fool’s Cap Map.
Inspired precisely by this eccentric image that speaks of vanitas and the madness of men, Christian Balzano has conceived the exhibition project Fuori dal Mondo, which aims to raise questions about the condition of the planet in its current state, and above all to ask a fundamental question: “Can the historical and cultural identity of a place, of a community, be completely upset and changed by living with other people, with different identities?”.
From this question comes an exhibition divided into six stages deeply linked to each other – which we could define as real stations of passion in today’s world, ranging from the pluralism of religion to contaminated and contaminant nature, from continents and intertwined flags to critical boundaries. All the works on display share the use of fabric and cloth, i.e., a material that, by means of its twines, symbolizes the skin itself and the flesh of nations in all their geopolitical complexity.
While taking up recurring themes of Balzano, linked to the poetics of globalization and openly critics of the borders, imposed and violent, to social integration or climate change, Fuori dal Mondo is laid out in the rooms of Palazzo Medici Riccardi, as if it were the account of an imaginary journey through the real world – a mad sailor’s route that takes place on the skin of the globe. Dragged by the tumultuous flow of contemporaneity, to whose contradictions Balzano responds by turning the fragility and chaos of globalization into the fragility and beauty of the work of art, viewers can (and must) give their own personal interpretation.
Iconic but also indented, created with processes that are chemical and natural at the same time (documented moreover with a video on display), and designed according to careful cartographic reconstructions: Balzano’s works reaffirm that the present we are living in (even if it does not give any reassurance, as well as it does not mark any finish line, despite all its uncertainties and atrocities) is the only active force we can take hold of to avert the failure and keep alive the idea of a world connected in alternative ways. The practice of art and the figure of the artist himself (like, probably, that of every artist), as Balzano conceives it, fit perfectly to the helm of this difficult and paradoxical sailing. Only out of this world, in fact, will the world appear in its fragility and entirety.