History and Stories Lab
The History and Stories Lab is an environmental intervention designed by Massimo Bartolini for the Anselmetti Chapel: a Baroque chapel that has been closed for years, that was once annexed to a rural building, today no longer standing. The chapel is in the area now housing a school complex in the Mirafiori North district of Turin. The work of art, which occupies three rooms of the small building, stemmed from the request of a group of teachers of the primary and nursery schools of the "Franca Mazzarello" Schools Complex, and of the "Alvaro-Modigliani" middle school, following an educational programme on local history. On the occasion of the construction of the Histories and stories Lab, the Anselmetti Chapel was completely renovated and reopened to the public.
The hallmark of the project is a bookcase made up of a series of shelves that, in the chapel, are intended to remain empty, but that continue in the rooms destined to be used as lab and archive. Here they serve the practical function of containing the educational material. The empty chapel, which invites listening and reflection, acts as a counterpoint to the fullness of the adjoining rooms, where the shelves create an ideal continuity running upstairs from the ground floor. Massimo Bartolini's concentration on that which serves as a base and that supports us, recurrent in many of his projects, is expressed in the flooring he has created for the ground floor: it comprises back-lit wooden containers within which the contents - in the real dimension – are visible, while at the same time providing metaphorical support for those entering the area. In equipping the work-spaces, the artist also designed furnishings that can be transformed to meet varying educational needs, and a circular seat-cum-table set around a large Cedar of Lebanon tree in the garden.
Massimo Bartolini was born in 1962 in Cecina (Livorno, Italy), where he lives. His work has been presented in numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums, in Italy and worldwide. Amongst the most recent, Studio Matters+1, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edimburgh, and SMAK, Gent, 2013, Dews, Institute of Contemporary Art, Sofia, 2010, Anche oggi niente, MAXXI, Rome, 2008. Some recent group exhibitions are: One on One, Kunstwerke Berlin e Track, Gent, 2012, International Triennale of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, and The Edge of Becoming, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2011, Rotor, South London Gallery, London, 2010. In 2012 Bartolini took part in Documenta 13, Kassel, and in 2013 he was among the protagonists of the exhibition Vice versa in the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale.