Massimo Bartolini

It is with great pride that the gallery accompanies Massimo Bartolini on the momentous endeavour of conceiving the Italian Pavilion for the 2024 Venice Biennale, following his ongoing participations to major artistic events ranging from the Venice Biennale in 1999, 2011 and 2013, to Manifesta 4 (2004) and Documenta 13 (2012).

Massimo Bartolini’s project, “Due qui / To Hear” will be a monumental, site-specific takeover of the Arsenale.


Photo by Pasquale Abbattista

Massimo Bartolini (b. 1962, Cecina) is among Italy’s leading voices in contemporary art.

After starting his academic career as a surveyor in Livorno (1976-1981), he graduated from Florence Academy (1989). Today, he is a professor of visual arts at UNIBZ in Bolzano, at NABA in Milan and the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna.

His plethoric artistic practice spans across mediums, languages and materials, encompassing performance, architecture, sound sculptures, photography, works on paper, sculptures, video and land art installations.

In his work, he adresses and explores notions of nature- both as an inspiration and setting for his work – time, space, contemplation, community and sharing, as well as of course the music.

Massimo Bartolini has participated in La Biennale di Venezia (1999, 2009, 2013), Documenta 13 (Kassel, 2012) and Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt, 2002). Bartolini’s work is held in permanent collections of National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; MAXXI Arte Collections, Rome; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; Fundaciò La Caixa, Barcelona; Museum Voorinden, Wassenaar; Olnick Spanu and Magazzino Italian Art Collection, New York, as well as MUSEION, Bolzano.

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One of Bartolini's most iconic bodies of work is Dews ("Rugiade"). Bartolini created his first “Rugiada” in 2006. Since then, he has explored the surprisingly infinite possibilities offered by monochrome. Inspired by the ungraspable lightness of morning dew, the artist recreates its poetic effect, by spraying a lightweight silicon water mix onto their smooth, enamel surface. The color varnishes are the same used in the car industry, for a smooth, glossy finish.

The visual effects created by these artificial waterdrops onto the colour surfaces, grasps the temporary poetry of morning dew, by suspending them in time, and fixing them into his frames.

BAM 019 F 001

Dew, 2023 (detail)

The Dews – “Rugiade” in italian, are an ongoing series of work, that relate to my love of monochrome. The idea was to make a monochrome that could change, and in fact they change color depending on the point of view from which you observe them. They are works that change, and where there is change, there is time.

Massimo Bartolini in Present, Past, Future and Infinitive. A Conversation between Massimo Bartolini and Cristiana Petrella, Cristiana Petrella, Hagoromo, 2023

Massimo werk 19

Reset Home, Borgloon, Belgium, 2018


Sculpture is at the heart of Bartolini’s practice: using marble, bronze, even water, he explores the interplay between medium, weight and volume, in the inexorable passing of time.

From monolithic marble pillars sculpted with the delicate creases of folded paperplanes to bodies of water moving in hypnotic waves, Bartolini’s sculptures explore the notion of “artwork” as a solid object, and the very materiality of sculpture: the fluidity of water, the very embodiment of movement and eternal transformation, a universal synonym of life.


Airplane (Colonnata 1946), 2020 (detail)

The metamorphic is connected with Bartolini’s attitude of viewing sculpture as a place of transformation that precludes stasis, a form that “acts”. In many other cases, stasis is overcome through constructive interventions that give new life to certain objects and architectural elements, also making possible a mutation of form and function.

Living in Cognition by Trying and Trying Again”: Massimo Bartolini and Art as Experience, Luca Cerizza, Hagoromo, 2023


Airplanes - Flies - Trees

Inherently connected to nature, Bartolini’s first works on paper, which he began in 1995, were drawings of the trees in his garden. Folding the sheets of paper haphazardly, Bartolini then draws the trees in the paper’s creases, or along the lines of the folds, creating new two-dimentional abstract landscapes.

For Bartolini, trees’ constant growth is another signal, or witness to the passage of time.

If one goal of artistic practice is to manage complexity, one possibility for traversing it is to set oneself rules. So it happens in works, especially on paper, in which a series of decisions imposed a priori, guide their creation, or which function as measurements of time of life as time of the work.

“Living in Cognition by Trying and Trying Again”: Massimo Bartolini and Art as Experience, Luca Cerizza, Hagoromo, 2023

Museum Exhibitions

Public Collections

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Torino Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato Fondazione Teseco per l’Arte, Pisa
Il Giardino dei Lauri - Collezione Massimo Lauro, San Litardo MAGA - Museo Arte Gallarate, Gallarate
MAXXI Arte Collections, Roma
Museion Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Bolzano

Centro de arte visuales Fundaciòn Helga de Alvear, Caceres Fundaciò La Caixa, Barcelona

Museum Voorinden, Wassenaar

Here and Now Collection, The McManus, Dundee Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Olnick Spanu Art Program, Garrison, New York