Bologna, Piazza IV Novembre, dal 23 novembre 2017; spazio gestito dalla Galleria d’Arte del Caminetto, Bologna.

Nicola Zamboni, Fuggitiva/ Runaway, 2009, rame e terracotta/copper and terracotta
Nicola Zamboni, Cavaliere/ Knight, 2008, rame/copper
Sara Bolzani, Rapimento/ Kidnapping, 2016, rame/copper

Nicola Zamboni (1943) and Sara Bolzani (1976) are “social sculptors” who resist trends and are not afraid of not being original. Their main objective is to communicate universal concepts with simplicity and humility – which are the real sources of beauty, as Johann Joachim Winckelmann once maintained.

Their very well-executed artworks tell stories of men, places and traditions. They draw their inspiration from real life experiences and are able to make their audience perceive in a completely new and different way the only possible dream, which is reality. Art, – as Degas argued – is not only what we see but is especially what the artist wants us to perceive. In this regard, the huge sculptural composition called Umanità (Humanity) is one of their most significant works which the artists have been working on jointly since 2002.

It is an extraordinary allegory of life and modern times and is inspired by Paolo Uccello’s triptych of the Battaglia di San Romano (Battle of San Romano). Over the years, the mythical figures of knights fighting on magnificent horses, constituting the core characters of Umanità, have been joined by other characters which are all too well known in our time: outcasts, migrants and refugees, living “wasted lives” and silently marching on their journeys, representing the appalling result of war and the tragedy of migration. 

La Fuggitiva (the Runaway) is one of them. Her forward bounding figure and drapery are reminiscent of the Mary Magdalene of the well-known Compianto (Mourning over the dead Christ) by Niccolò dell’Arca, in the church of Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna. Similar dynamism is found in the Cavaliere (the Knight). His fall is imminent. Is it awareness of failure, the end of a path fuelled by courage or is it, instead, the necessary condition for rising again? It is up to us to decide, day after day, among obstacles, difficulties and resistances: an endless struggle that is perfectly represented in the overwhelming Rapimento (Kidnapping) inspired by Il Ratto delle Sabine (The Rape of the Sabine women) by Giambologna. This extremely intense, naturalistic and powerful image sums up very well the whole of Humanity.

Pietro Di Natale

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