What it is
Through the obscurity of history and the deception of perspectives, art stands as a subversive force, capable of mutating places and overturning meanings. With its imaginative reach, it subverts commonplaces, customs, and conventions, transforming the spaces it inhabits, paraphrasing the stories it tells, affecting the communities that welcome and observe it.

In this rebellious spirit, constantly nonconformist, able to unhinge the reasons of history and the fixed points of geography, is the new solo exhibition “Sottosopra” by Franco Dellerba, curated by Carmelo Cipriani, set up inside the Anti-Aircraft Shelters of Monopoli from April 21 to September 1, conceived and promoted by the Department of Culture of the City of Monopoli in collaboration with the Pino Pascali Foundation of Polignano a Mare, under the patronage of the Order of Architects of the Province of Bari.

Silent testimonies of a not-too-distant wartime past, made dramatically closer by the widespread conflict of the present. In addition to sanctioning the rejection of belligerence, past and present, the exhibition, tracing the last forty years of the artist’s career through a reasoned selection of works, constitutes an invitation to replace war with play, drama with lightheartedness.

In his daily work Dellerba appropriates objects belonging to heterogeneous, very common or even residual contexts to ennoble them in the higher dimension of art. His works stand out as much for their beauty as for their ability to transform the surrounding space. In the long corridors of the Refuges, bordered by cold seating, luminaries and chimeras now shine. More than a mere succession of works, the exhibition takes the form of an experience. What makes it so is the transformation of a space pervaded by fear into a place devoted to entertainment, smiles but also to reflection on the present.

But the upside down mentioned in the title also refers to the inversion of the contexts to which the works refer: what is generally placed in the open air, such as the zoo, the luminaries, even the sun, is now placed underground. To enter the shelters today is to enter a world suspended between heaven and earth, between reality and dream. It is an opportunity for visitors to experience a reversal of the normal, to overturn adult fears by transforming them into children’s fantasies.

In the underground, Dellerba’s works dance on the edge of the abyss and subvert expectations. His sculptures hover in limbo between history and imagination, uniting past and present. His colors, his lights, his creatures, the result of impossible genetic migrations, stand out against the bare walls of the structure, imbuing them with an energy that defies death and destruction. Dellerba’s art manifests itself as an alternative to the narrative of war and violence, offering a vision of hope, rebirth and transformation.

On Sunday, April 21, 2024, the opening of the exhibition will be preceded by a presentation of the exhibition project at the Council Chamber in the City Hall at 5:30 pm. This will be followed by the opening of the Aircraft Shelters at 6:30 pm. Speaking at the event, along with the artist and the curator, will be the Director of General Affairs and Local Development, Pietro D’Amico, and the Director of the Pino Pascali Foundation, Giuseppe Teofilo.

Biographical note

Franco Dellerba (Rutigliano, 1949). Lives and works in Capurso

Selected exhibitions: 2021, Castello, Copertino; 2010, Officine Calabrese2004, Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome; 1996, Fiera del Levante, Bari; 1996, Galleria Bonomo, Bari; 1990 Castello Svevo, Bari; 1987, Spazio Immagine, Foligno; 1986, Castello Svevo, Bari; 1983, Galleria Tanit, Munich; 1980, Palazzo della Triennale, Milan; 1980, Galleria Lucio Amelio, Naples; 1980, Galleria Bonomo, Bari; 1978, Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna;

Franco Dellerba

curated by Cipriani Carmelo

Antiaircraft Shelters Bunker Museum

Monopoli, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele

Opening: Sunday, April 21, 2024, 5:30 p.m., at Sala Consiliare, Palazzo di Città, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 6, Monopoli. To follow, at 6:30 p.m., tour of the exhibition with free admission

Opening: April 21-September 1, 2024, Saturdays and Sundays 5-8 p.m.

Admission: by purchasing a ticket, costing 3 euros, at the Anti-Aircraft Shelters during opening hours or at the Info point in Piazza Garibaldi 24, Monopoli.

Organization: Municipality of Monopoli, Department of Culture

In collaboration with: Pino Pascali Foundation, Polignano a Mare

Patronage: Order of Architects of the Province of Bari

Catalog: Sfera Edizioni (Bari, 2024)

Antiaircraft Shelters Bunker Museum

 Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Monopoli, Bari, Puglia, Italia

The event runs from April 21, 2024, every week on Saturdays and Sundays until September 1, 2024.

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