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MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna presents Plamen Dejanoff The Bronze House

MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna presents Plamen Dejanoff The Bronze House, on view through 9 September 2012. Curated by Gianfranco Maraniello, this spectacular exhibition is part of the lead-in to the largest and most massive bronze monument ever created in modern and contemporary art.

Plamen Dejanoff, The Bronze House. Exhibition view at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, 2012. Photo by Matteo Monti

The Bronze House is a long-term project by Plamen Dejanoff, representing the most ambitious undertaking in a career characterized by the artist’s exploration of the bonds between art and economic processes, and the role of the artist and what he can actually do in contemporary society. The artist began in 2006 to delineate and develop his monumental Planets of Comparison project for his birthplace, Veliko Tarnovo, a charming city of Medieval origin which still conserves traces of its glorious past as capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Dejanoff acquired a number of worksites in the city center with plans to build several infrastructures made of bronze. To finance his idea, the artist created a specific foundation that he promotes through a meticulous marketing strategy.

When the construction process has been completed, his house-sculptures will be composed of bronze modules embodying advanced engineering principles but each entirely made by hand. The Bronze House is the first of these architectural installations, genuinely habitable sculptures, to assume concrete form in a colossal villa measuring over 600 square meters, which will be assembled in Bulgaria. Progress in the construction process is presented in a traveling exposition that has already visited a number of prestigious European museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Ludwig Foundation of Vienna (MUMOK); the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art of Vienna (MAK); and Hamburger Kunstverein. After the Italian show at MAMbo, it will move on to the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne / Regional Funds for Contemporary Art in Reims.

The extraordinary volumes of MAMbo’s Sala delle Ciminiere exalt the monumentality of the sculptural work which is represented by the most advanced version ever made, composed of 160 elements towering 5 metres and weighing approximately 16 tons. The artist works with an empty architectural grid as an ideal model, abstracting the decorations of historical buildings and translating them into an open structure, while the choice of a material such as bronze, a classic medium in the arts but completely unconventional in architecture, represents a challenge both in terms of traditional construction methods and regarding the working of the individual elements, which are veritable works of art in themselves and only apparently identical to one another.

Inspired by Column of the Infinite of Costantin Brancusi and the Chinati Foundation of Donald Judd, Dejanoff chose to found a surprising and unexpected microcosm in the outlying city of Veliko Tarnovo as a challenging venture devoid of any meaning that could reasonably produce consensus legitimizing its existence within the contemporary system of art and culture. He undertakes a sophisticated action of branding, not lacking in irony, to make the city among one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Bulgaria.

The conceptual process that led the artist to design a model of the political economy of art, mirroring society and current artistic conventions, is resolved in the creation of a highly evocative total work of art. We will not know if Plamen Dejanoff’s gamble on bringing about the process to create recognized value in the current world art system can ultimately be successful until this revolutionary project is complete and functional.

The exhibition at MAMbo is enriched by architectural models and prototypes, drawings, and collages that provide an in-depth illustration of the various preliminary phases of development of the work, as well as a number of installations that lie somewhere between conceptual and hyper-pop imaginary art: toys, dogs, vacuum cleaners, flowers, wheels, and furnishings bearing the “Dejanoff” trademark and appearing more like a typical sales display than an exhibition of works of art in a museum.

The exhibition dedicated to Plamen Dejanoff is part of the research program titled Criticism that MAMbo has conducted since 2006: a reflection on, and an investigation of, artistic practices and the role of contemporary museums.

MAMbo – Museo d’Arte
Moderna di Bologna
Via Don Giovanni Minzoni 14
Bologna, Italy

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