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Artist portraits (14): Massimo Bartolini
Frankfurter Rundschau | 12.06.2002
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++++ You really have to stretch your legs in order to enter Massimo Bartolini's installation in Frankensteiner Hof. The steps are very high, exactly fifty centimetres higher than the norm. Inside, the usual proportions have also been changed because the floor has been raised by fifty centimetres.
The furniture inventory, however, (extended sofa-bed, piano, desk, shelves and stove) is situated at the normal height and therefore sunk into the floor. Most of the pieces of furniture still protrude quite a bit, but the bed and the piano stool are precisely flush with the floor. The door is permanently half open. You are in danger of banging your head on the light in the ceiling which suddenly crops up before you at eye-level. In any case, in these two small rooms it looks as if there had been a flood of bricks. If you spin this thread a little further, the viewer is walking on the water while the furniture sinks into it.
The Italian artist, Massimo Bartolini, who was born in 1962, suspends the usual with minimal interventions. He brings things into disequilibrium in order to put them back into a new order. In 2000 he had a room divided by a revolving door inserted into it. In one half of the room there was the scent of jasmine, in the other the smell of the earth. The visitors who moved through the revolving door from one side to the other mixed both the odours. In another installation he set up a complete room beneath a theatre stage whilst dissolving the stage into immateriality by means of glaring light. With such works he was present at the Biennial in Venice in 1999, and last year in Lenbachhaus and PS 1 in New York.
Bartolini is not enamoured with grand gestures. In Frankensteiner Hof he only puts the furniture and our normal classifications, our basic orientation in the vertical and horizontal, out of action by means of the raised floor. And those who look more closely will see the hole in the ceiling just above the desk, a hole which provides a view of a brightly lit room without any recognizable corners or edges, a transcendental room which opens above the site of mental concentration.
Bartolini calls his contribution to Manifesta Two Horizons. This must be understood in a thoroughly transferred sense. Sometimes it is necessary to widen one's own horizon.
Frankensteiner Hof, until 25 August. jdv

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