Artist in Residence: Nicolò Degiorgis
From the series Prison Museum © Nicolò Degiorgis
Artist in residence 2023 (GAP Project)
In the heart of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy’s wealthiest city in terms of per capita income and situated in the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, there are two institutions that have apparently little in common: the modern and contemporary art museum (Museion) and the municipal prison. The two institutions are located on the same road, via Dante/Dantestraße distanced only around 100 meters from one another.
Similar in size, the museum is an aluminium cube built in 2008, while the prison is housed in a brick building erected in 1874 with a crumbling façade. One holds 4500 artworks, the other between 120 and 200 inmates on three floors, originally planned for only 90 prisoners. Its lack of space and services, along with its decadent building, causes the prison of Bolzano-Bozen to rank among the worst of Italy, despite the striking wealth surrounding it.
In 2021 I published the book PrisonMuseum (Rorhof), which contains photographs of the prison of Bolzano and Museion and built up on my experiences as teacher at the Penitential Institute of Bolzano and guest curator at Museion.
During my artistic residency in Florence I will archive photographs and videos produced during the art and photography classes taught inside the prison of Bolzano-Bozen over a period of ten years. I will visualize the carceral situation by translating statistics into sculptures and installations, using the same materials and objects to be found inside the prison. An anthology of texts written by the inmates will be edited and presented along with the results of the art and photography classes. I will be splitting my time in Florence between researching and editing inside the libraries of the KHI and a former prison cell inside Le Murate converted into studio. The results of my residency will be exhibited at MAD (Murate Art District) together with Prison Museum, which I will translate into an on-site artwork using therefore the spaces of Le Murate, itself a former monastery turned to prison and now transformed into a contemporary art museum and social housing complex. The exhibition will be inaugurated during the sixth intensive study week of the GAP Project (27.03.-01.04.2023).