Massimo Bartolini’s works take the forms of performative actions, drawings, sound installations and videos in which reflections and juxtapositions intersect several dimensions: the narrative, with references to stories or biographies, the spatial and architectural, and the performative. In the case of Horizontal Victory, we are dealing with an installation that reproduces a piano called Victory Vertical, which was specially produced to travel with U.S. troops on military missions as early as World War II. Listening to music was a key social element in the military because it alleviated and raised the troops’ morale; in this sense, the piano became a useful tool in the wartime economy, transforming from a pleasant diversion to a wartime herald. The camouflage texture that covers the installation is the result of a mix that Bartolini creates from two predefined patterns developed to camouflage soldiers in desert or more temperate environments; by mixing them, the artist makes clear the impossibility of human camouflage and assimilation in such environments. Finally, above the piano, an alabaster sculpture portrays the artist as if in a gesture of listening.
Massimo Bartolini (1962, Cecina, Italy) lives and works in Cecina. Coming from the world of theatre, Bartolini often creates performances, sound works, installations and videos to question space and its perception by both actors and spectators. His works have been presented at: Centro Pecci per l’arte Contemporanea, Prato, Italy (2022); CSAC, Parma, Italy (2020); Palazzo Oneto, Palermo, Italy, Manifesta 12 collateral event (2018); Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy (2017); Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2015); SMAK, Ghent, Belgium (2013); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2013); Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2007); GAM, Turin (2004); Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy(1998); British School at Rome, Italy (1997) and PS1, New York, USA (2001). He has participated in the Venice Art Biennale, Italy (1999, 2001, 2009, 2013); Valencia Biennale, Spain(2001); Manifesta 4, Frankfurt, Germany(2002); São Paulo Biennale, Brazil, (2004); Pontevedra Biennale, Spain (2004); Shanghai Biennale, China (2006 and 2012); International Triennial of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, Japan (2011); Documenta 13, Kassel, 2012 (2012) and Yinchuan Biennale, China (2018); and Bangkok Biennial, Thailand (2020).