Yuri Ancarani
Atlantide 2017 - 2023
Curated by: Lorenzo Balbi
2 February – 7 May 2023
Tue, Wed: 14:00 – 19:00 Thu: 14:00 – 20:00 Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 19:00

Il MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna once again transforms the Sala delle Ciminiere to host the new exhibi-tion of Yuri Ancarani (Ravenna, 1972): Atlantide 2017 - 2023. The show, curated by Lorenzo Balbi, is a major pro-ject of ART CITY Bologna 2023, the institutional program of exhibitions, events, and special initiatives promoted by the City of Bologna and BolognaFiere as part of Arte Fiera. The show opens on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, at 6 p.m. and will remain open to the public from 2 February to 7 May 2023.

The project conceived for MAMbo by the visual artist and filmmaker Ancarani is an "explosion" of the film Atlantis, which premiered in the Orizzonti section of the 2021 Venice Film Festival. It was subsequently shown at numerous in-ternational festivals: a journey through the research process and the many materials produced, on which the artist made a selection, giving them a new formalization over about six years before, during, and after the making of the film.

In an enveloping and immersive atmosphere, the audience can follow an external narrative that goes beyond a fea-ture film, thanks to a series of previously unseen content produced for the exhibition.


Atlantide 2017 - 2023 was made possible with the support of the Trust per l’Arte Contemporanea, thanks to the main sponsor Gruppo Hera, in partnership with PAC Contemporary Art Pavilion in Milan and IWONDERFULL, and in collaboration with I Wonder Pictures, Dugong Films, and Rai Cinema. We thank the Emilia-Romagna Film Commission Efor its collaboration.


“We have been collaborating with ART CITY for several years now - says Giuseppe Gagliano, Hera Group's Central Director of External Relations - and the decision to support the event again this year, as the main sponsor of Anca-rani's exhibition, is proof of our willingness to support artistic languages that raise awareness of important issues. In this case, the degradation of the environment and human relationships, two mutually reinforcing factors that cultural events such as this help to bring to the fore, inviting us to reflect on what each of us can do to counteract them”


The film Atlantide is a Dugong Films production with Rai Cinema in co-production with Luxbox and Unbranded Pic-tures. It stars Daniele, a young man from Sant'Erasmo, an island in the Venice lagoon. He lives hand-to-mouth and is also ostracized by his peer group. Their shared, intensely pleasurable lifestyle is expressed through their faith in the barchino—a cult centered on producing ever more powerful engines that transform small lagoon speedboats into dan-gerous racers. Daniele, too, dreams of a record-breaking boat that would take him to the top position. However, eve-rything he does to achieve his dream and earn the respect of the others ends up tragically turning against him. The decay that erodes the relationships, environment, and actions of a generation adrift is observed through the eyes of the timeless Venetian landscape. The point of no return is a baleful, secondary story of a violent male initiation predes-tined to failure that explodes, dragging the ghost town into a disastrous psychedelic trip.


Atlantide was constructed and crafted through the relationships the director eventually developed with the young men—almost all non-actors who became part of the cast—the story of their lives and relationship with Venice. Ancarani states that:

"Atlantis is a film made without a script. The dialogues are stolen from real life, while the story came into being by observing the boys’ lives over about four years. This way of working gave me the opportunity to overcome the tra-ditional limitation in planning the film’s production: first, writing, and then shooting. Thus, the film was able to sensitively record this period of great change in Venice and the lagoon from a difficult-to-perceive point of view, attentive to the teenagers’ gaze. The desire to experience their lives from so close up, in their barchini, made everything else possible. As a result, the film slowly constructed itself" (L’Atlantide by Yuri Ancarani, on, 2 September 2021).


Although the film’s narrative revolves around Daniele and the other boys, the lagoon city's singularity emerges as the main character. Thus, the focus is the Venice-Atlantis the artist has recreated at MAMbo—a city difficult to define, suf-focated by exploitative tourism, and under constant environmental threats that affect the entire planet yet become particularly meaningful here. Now reduced to fewer than 50,000 inhabitants, they live suspended between the need to fight against being inundated by the lagoon, the relentless waves of tourism, and the temptation to abandon the struggle and leave the city to its fate.

At the same time, from a broader perspective, Ancarani's Venice loses its geographical and urban connotation, becom-ing a symbol, an ideal representation of the decadence of capitalism, and a model depicting a global problem.

At the journey’s end, one realizes how these problems, these issues, concern not only Venice or Venetians but involve us all directly.


The other major themes that run through the Atlantide 2017 – 2023 exhibition are adolescent despair, Venice’s decay, and the deterioration of the environment and relationships. The exhibition can be interpreted as a single choral work: the film is presented iat MAMbo as a piece of a larger project that contains a series of new works.

Lorenzo Balbi has written about the exhibition: "Within and around the Sala delle Ciminiere, Ancarani has recreat-ed an unreal place, perhaps above sea level, or perhaps submerged, pervaded by darkness, fog and laser lights. In this non-place, visitors physically come into contact with the artist’s Venice-Atlantis, an imaginary or perhaps real place, made of simple but disorienting images: a monk relentlessly sweeping the water under a portego with a broom, an improvised musician strumming an accordion on a fondamenta in front of a vaporetto aground, two teenagers on a barchino getting dressed after having sex in the lagoon, a blindfolded girl taken to see a sticker with her own name, which has just been attached to her boyfriend’s boat. These are ordinary images of Venetian life, images that seem out of the ordinary, but for this very reason are all the more real and effective."


Various materials are presented in the show. In some cases, they are short films, also the result of Ancarani's documen-tary work in Venice (as, for example, the footage of the demonstration protesting large ships in the lagoon or trans-porting an electrical appliance by boat from Burano to Rialto, seen through the movements of a bug on ropes).

A compelling point in the exhibition is the double video installation in the centre of the Sala delle Ciminiere, while in the right 'aisle' the public finds Atlantide’s psychedelic finale, with outtakes, beams of colored lights from Daniele's barchino projected onto the Venetian palaces, and music by Sick Luke and Lorenzo Senni/Francesco Fantini.


On the occasion of Atlantide 2017 – 2023 an unpublished screenplay of Atlantide will be published by Edizioni MAMbo. It was adapted by Marco Alessi and Marta Tagliavia (Dugong Films), who created a script after the film was made without a screenplay, using extemporaneous dialogue. The publication also includes an original essay by Lorenzo Balbi, a selection of stills from the film and drawings by Alessandro Montelli.


Ancarani will also be in Bologna at Arte Fiera 2023: he is in fact the protagonist of the first edition of the Led Wall Commission, which will see the presence at the entrance to Piazza Costituzione of a 5 x 9 metre mega-screen on which his video contents will be visible to those who cross the threshold of the exhibition centre.

As part of the Book Talks organised by Arte Fiera, the screenplay published by Edizioni MAMbo will be presented on 4 February at 5 pm.

The artist will then be the protagonist with Lorenzo Balbi and Marinella Paderni of the ARTalk CITY event at the Accademia di Belle Arti on Saturday 4 February at 10.30 a.m. and on the same evening at 10 p.m., during the IWON-DERFULL NIGHT (Pop Up Cinema Medica 4k), he will present his film Atlantide together with Lorenzo Balbi.


Lastly, a retrospective exhibition will be dedicated to the artist at the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan from 28 March to 11 June 2023, curated by Diego Sileo and Iolanda Ratti. In addition, a catalogue, published by Sil-vana Editoriale, will underscore the dialogue and connection between the two exhibitions in Bologna and Milan.


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