Artoteca fuorisede was an experiment in moving a library of artworks from the outskirts of the city into the historical center 1.
The project Artoteca is part of the local Artist’s Association in Bolzano (Italy), and it aims to give everybody the chance to bring home a work of art.
Me and Valentina of cooperativa 19, who was in charge of the general direction of the experiment, developed an off-site temporary project consisting in an exhibit space: everyday, for three months, the building was open to the public, to borrow artworks and get more informations about the artists. For the final period a new exhibition was set up every two weeks, alternating with a talk-event on a specific subject—ranging from contemporary art, to the role of the library as an institution in the city, etc.
The metaphor at the basis of the project is the frame: a space for the local artists to show their own research and, at the same time, a growing collection of artworks for the public to choose from. As bringing home a new book informs us on a thinking level, hangin’ on the wall a new picture reframes a room and our perception of it: the same principle persists in both contexts but on the latter it works on a more aesthetic level.
My first design proposal was to use nails, since that is all that’s needed if someone just borrows an artwork and wants to hang it at home. But nails, on a first-impression, looked too much disconnected from the main point of the project 2, so we opted for using a rain of frames in different sizes and shapes.
Based on this, I designed big-size posters and leaflets for a month-long campaign, before the opening of the space.
Then, we designed the exhibition space. Except for one wall in which we put some explanation of the project 3, we leave all the others free, in order to use them for hanging on the artworks. We focused, instead, on how to use the two big windows at our disposal.
Besides putting on display a big canvas with the title of the project, I came up with the idea of drawing a dashed circle in the middle of one of the two windows: in this way, someone passing around the building during night could take a peek inside the space and see which artwork was well-lighted that week.
How to make the place more library-y?
We used a Little Printer for that 4.
During the project we were collaborating with salto.bz, a local online newspaper, so I proposed the idea of printing a small strip of paper for anybody who entered the space, either because they wanted to bring home something (see: a picture) or because they were simply curious to know what the space was all about. On each strip there was an almost real-time news from salto.bz, plus the artwork’s borrowing date and, handwritten, the one of return.
It was small as a feature, but it worked quite well: people were intrigued and amused by the strange machine and the results it produced.
Quoting a person involved in the project and part of the Artists’ Association: “These nails are so well drawn I would like to open an hardware store”. ↩
Namely: the general rules of the library sticked with big letters on the wall; long and narrow sheets of paper for the index of the artists and of all the available artworks. ↩
There’s a Vine below after the images. ↩