La bolla and the permanent collection



I couldn't have chosen a worse day to move part of the Physika exhibit from the wing of the Castello di Rivara where it was put on display in September to its new home, the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, hosted in the Medieval castle in the back of the complex.

Under a pelting rain I park my car, my cousin who "volunteered" to help with the installation parks behind me. Franz awaits us in the kitchen, as usual. In five minutes I find nails, hammer, meter, and a strange object in my hands.

``Do you know what this is?'' asks Franz


``You'll figure it out''

I  look at the object, it's a rod with some liquid in the middle and an air bubble in the middle of the liquid... I play a little with the object, hoping that my physics background will come in handy at a certain point...

Still tucked in her raincoat and rain hat (London style  and perfect for the dreary weather of the day) my cousin nods knowingly. 

``La bolla!'' she says

Still no clue... I don't even know how call that in  English... Later I'll figure it out the importance of such object.

Apparently Franz is granting me the honor to install the pictures without his strict supervision ...WOW. I'm honored.  He mumbles something about my special spatial sense and was very pleased how I installed the September show. Yet I'm still a little suspicious the pelting rain and the pleasant warmth of the kitchen stove is playing a role in his decision, after all. But from what I hear,  he's the pain-in-the-neck kind of curator, mounting and dismantling things a million times before being pleased, so probably he wouldn't have let me mess around with the permanent installation just because of a little rain, if he hadn't some true belief in the outcome.

In any case, we take nails, hammer, umbrellas, bolla and off we go. Moving stuff from one building to another is not a joke... especially if what you're moving  are pictures which can be ruined by just a little droplet falling on their surface. We pile, wrap, pack a first set of pics  and move them to the old castle under umbrellas and pieces of plastic. It's freezing and dark outside. We try not to slip on the stony steps illuminated by my car...

The old castle, where the photographs will go has a sinister feeling on such a gloomy, misty night. I turn on the lights and a wonderful work by Nitsch appears in the room next door. It's all spattered in blood and reminds me of the horror that must have gone on when this castle was a medieval prison where people were tortured and killed. Upstairs, Cattelan hanged  linens out of a window to metaphorically escape from this place...  I think my taste for the macabre and the mysterious is being satisfied here... it'll be a good place for my work to live in. 

We leave the first pack of pictures and go get the other. Once we have all of them there, I start thinking about which ones to install, while my feet are reaching the freezing point.  I sense that my cousin would appreciate if I hurried up... but I take my time... let's try this, let's try that... and what about this other one there? 

Finally I reached the point where I'm satisfied. We take the hammer and put the first nail up. Then the picture on the wall. When we let it go, it hangs like a poster in a junkie's room, all slanted. Sbilenca, says my cousin. Now we see why la bolla was given to us. A rapid inspection confirms our suspicion... the old walls are all slanted and bumpy... we need the physics of la bolla to find the perfect equilibrium point. We grab la bolla and we set out to work. We hammer and hammer...  a centimeter up, a centimeter down until the installation is finally in place... Eureka. 

More info about the museum :




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