Bonito Oliva at Castello di Rivoli
The creator of the Transavanguardia donates his archives to the institution allowing for a great exhibition
Is A.B.O. Theatron an ambiguous apotropaic formula? No, it is an acronym for Achille Bonito Oliva who needs no introduction; let’s quote his own words, which, like a thermometer, detect his temperature: “Critical agrarian. PartNeapolitan and part-Salernitan. Ironic and nonconformist, staunch opponent of the figure of the art critic as a mediator between creator, work and viewer, he has always supported the interactive role of an art proponent next to the artist. He demonstrates this paradigm as a theorist of transavantgarde, a movement he created, which has made De Maria, Paladino, Clement, Cucchi and Chia stars in the art world. He is provocative and to demonstrate the assumption that the critic must approach the work of art without ideological trappings and to argue against the hypocrisy and ephemerality of the post-modern era, he does not hesitate to show himself naked, in the most literal and striking sense of the term, on the magazine Frigidaire, not once, but three times: in 1981, in 1989 and, to reiterate the concept, on the 8th of March, 2011 - at the age of 71, after receiving the title of Knight of the Grand Cross for artistic merit - with the cover titled “Nudo d’opposizione”.
According to A.B.O. contemporary art, having overcome the categories of beautiful and ugly, calls to reflection even those who do not want to think
As a Poet he debuted in 1967 with Made in mater among the protagonists of the neoavantgarde literary movement Gruppo 63. As an art historian he reflects on the crisis of modernity and interprets the art of our time in the light of the cultural cross-fertilization. He is the author of essays with titles already tempting in themselves - IL territorio magico (1971), L’ideologia del traditore (1976), Autocritico/ automobile (2002), Lezione di boxe. Dieci round sull’arte contemporanea (2004) -, he curated his first exhibition titled Amore mio (1970) in Montepulciano, and since then has been present in the international field of exhibitions. With the intent to bring as many people as possible closer to the language of contemporary art, he recruits artists who, together with architects, give life in the subway stations of Naples to what he calls a “Compulsory Museum”, aimed at encouraging the population’s familiarity with contemporary art in areas that, in any case, they must pass through.
He has always rejected the role of the critic as a mediator preferring the role of art proponent alongside with the artist
Unexpectedly, “art pierces collective carelessness.” To ABO, which has donated his archives to the Research Center of the castle of Rivoli, the Turin-based museum will pay tribute with the exhibition “A.B.O. THEATRON. L’Arte o la vita from June 24 to January 8, 2022.” Offered to the public, the rich material becomes a spectacle, paying homage to the demiurge who knows that contemporary art, goes beyond the categories of beautiful and ugly and calls to reflection even those who do not want to think. And what about beauty? There is beauty, it is “a longing, a suspicion”. It is “surprise, astonishment, wonder”.