Short Biography

Francesco Attolini was born in Bari and lives and works in St. Petersburg, has exhibited in Brussels (Royal Academie des Beaux Art), Ittre (National Prison), Milan (Triennale Museum, Galleria San Lorenzo, Underground, Museum Paolo Pini), London (Fiat space), Turin (Paratissima, Film Festival), Lucca (Lu.CCA Museum, Gallery Poleschi Church of St. Matthew), Verbania (Landscape Museum) Los Angeles (University of Southern California), Miami (Miami Art District) , Moscow (Vinzavod, OIOIOI Gallery, Rudomino National Library), St. Petersburg (Ethnographic Museum, Gallery OIOIOI, Moscow railway station, Etagi, Art Re.flex Gallery), Bari (Santa Scolastica Academy of Fine Arts) Venice (Arsenale) Bangkok (Silpakorn University Museum), New York (Times Square). Winner of a section of the festival of Turin (2002) and Master Class in St. Petersburg (2007 and 2008), in 2011 is one of the four Italian artists have been selected for both the Venice Biennale (2 projects) for the Biennale Moscow. The work of Francesco Attolini, present in many museum collections, public and private is listed on in 2008 by the house art and a leading company in the field of European artistic institutions "Haunc of Venison," a member itself of Christie. In June 2012 the work "Self portraits" was screened in New York in the famous Time Square on the occasion of the award "Art takes Times Square." In the same year his work was included in the collection of the Museum of Madness in Matera.


Francesco Attolini. Artistic Biography

Francesco Attolini was born in Bari.
From his mother, a model and costume designer, he inherited creativity, independence and artistic skills, from his father, an engineer, he inherited methodology, inventiveness and technical skills.
After getting a degree in science, in 1995, he took part and won the competition to study theatre set design in the “Accademia di Belle Arti di Bari”. At that time, his professor of art history Mirella Casamassima played a key role in his career having noticed his artistic potential and inspired him to take part in the ERASMUS program in Brussels, one of the most prestigious and historical academic universities in Europe, the “Acadйmie Royale des Beaux Arts” (visited by Magritte, Horta, Van Gogh, etc.). Francesco Attolini still remains the only student of the Academy of Fine Arts of Bari who has won the Erasmus scholarship. At that time, Francesco worked as a theatre set and interior designer together with his fellow student Massimo Rago with whom he made a series of interior set design and music projects.
In Brussels, he met an artist and professor of Monumental Painting Guy Massaux with whom he made his first video art, landscape and town design projects. Basically, he worked together with other students of the class on the installation of art pieces in the Brussels subway: “The Pentagon” where he discovered a method of printing of still images and its application that he would theorize together with the philosopher Andrea Sartori 11 years later.

The first video editing was the result of Francesco’s successful collaboration with Rob Camies who would later become his teacher of video editing theory and technique.
In February 1999, new roads opened for Francesco when he won an internship with the National Theatre of the French Community in Brussels as a theatre set design assistant for the productions of Shakespeare (Twelfth Night), Kafka (The Castle), Gogol (A journal of a fou). Meanwhile, he made three different video projects: Un semplice e soave intreccio di destini (A simple and gentle weave of fate), the one that he presented a year later at the discussion of his thesis, Fine Messaggi (Final Messages), an original video that reproduces his experience of the Brussels year based on his personal messages received on the answering machine, and Brux@02 made together with Rob Camies. In the same year, Attolini had a series of exhibitions until he presented his new art piece ‘Freedom’: Integration a work of art in the prison of Ittre (Belgium). The work was exhibited permanently until 2002 in the corridors of the prison and was very positively reviewed by “La regie des Batiments”, one of the most influential art and architecture magazines in Belgium.
In 1999, Attolini started a Master’s program in Art theory and practice at the “Academiй Royal des Beaux Arts” that would finish in December 2001. On March 2, 2000 (Shrove Tuesday), Attolini got a degree with honours in theatre set design (110 out of 110 points).
In May 2000, he actively participated in a workshop with leading European universities of the analysis and urbanization in the town of Esch, in Luxembourg. In October 2000, he was the first theatre set design graduate who won an internship with the European Commission at the General Directorate of Culture, Audiovisual Department, and became responsible for managing the cinema festival funded and promoted by the European Community. Also in 2000, thanks to Mirella Casamassima, his name was included into the largest art catalog of young artists of Puglia “Attese” (Awaited). Two years later, the Bari daily newspaper paid a tribute to Francesco Attolini with a full-page article titled “An Apulian artist at the court of Belgium”. Five years (1998-2003) spent in Brussels allowed him to mature as an artist and individual, and moreover, to experiment with different artistic disciplines, from theatre to video art, and from interior to landscape design.
Francesco noticed Francesca Maiotti who at that time was in charge of the staff reorganization of an Italian company leading in the field of property and territory redevelopment that had its creative laboratory. Attolini started working for them in June 2002 in Brussels, and every month he went to Milan to bring new ideas and new blood to the laboratory. In those months, in collaboration with Cristiano Ceretti a new project ‘Galleria in Galleria’ was born, the project that was developed over the following years. In 2003, Francesca Maiotti brought him to Milan as a creative director for the laboratory. For the first time Francesco could use his creativity and his own way of making art for the needs of the company. It always developed into the video art pieces and finally ended up with designing the pilot project Media Lab that aimed to translate the work of company into the language of images, design, photos and video art. Among his major works there are the following that are worth mentioning: “Paesi Fantasma” (mapping and redevelopment of abandoned villages in Italy), the project of revival of Autodrome in Imola, “Galleria in Galleria” (the largest temporary exhibition ever made in the European metropolitan area), the revitalization of the resort San Sicario, the creation and development of the magazine “Mandarino”, and the creation of three observation sources of metropolitan trends in Barcelona, London and St. Petersburg. This experience led him to develop close friendship and collaboration with Cristiano Ceretti and Andrea Sartori.
In 2002, Francesco won the section devoted to the topic of immigration on the Festival of Turin with the short film made together with Michele Didone “Ciao Mistиr” which then won four other awards and was broadcasted on Tele + grigio and other national and local channels. As they say, there is no winner at home, however, in Bari, Francesco was highly appreciated, and in 2004 he won the Critique’s Prize at the Festival of Bari “Cittа plurale” (plural City). 2005 became another important year in his life, when he presented his video project Mappe Rotte in the landscape museum of Verbania, the project was also exhibited at the MIART. Nevertheless, the main event was still Galleria in Galleria, the project conceived by Cristiano Ceretti, and “Parole di Passaggio” (Words of Passage), the sideshow by Andrea Sartori. For the next two months Francesco had been exhibiting his three video pieces at the Milan subway stations. Besides, he established contacts with such well-known figures in contemporary art as Giacinto Di Pietrantonio (curator), Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alberto Garutti, Mimmo Palladino, Joseph Kosuth, Aldo Nove and Tiziano Scarpa. In 2006, his name was placed in the art temple of Milan, the Triennale, where his video project “27” had been showing for two months at the exhibition “Oggetti Esistibili” (Existing Objects). Attolini continued his collaboration with Ceretti for whom he arranged “Benedetta's Pig” for his first solo show in Milan. In 2007, he spent 83 days in St. Petersburg and fell in love with this city where, thanks to his “Balkanika” project, he won the Festival of Arts “Master Class”, with solemn awards ceremony at the historic monument of Smolny Cathedral. Later, he presented the same project in the former prisons at Paratissima in Turin. In 2008, he won for the second time in a row the Master Class award in St. Petersburg with his video ‘Gli angeli di San Pietroburgo’ (Angels of St.Petersburg) that was also exhibited at the ethnographic museum. 2008 is the year that marks the beginning of an important collaboration with the artist Fabio Pietrantonio which led to an exhibition at the space of FIAT in London, stop breathe respect project, where he presented the video piece “Immobility”. Attolini’s work was quoted by the art house and leading agency of the European art institutions Haunc of Venison, a member of Christie’s. In 2008, he was chosen for Paratissima in Turin where he presented the video piece "The first kiss”.
In the same year, Attolini met the gallery owner Roberto Milani, CEO of Art House and Art Gallery of San Lorenzo, who offered him to join his team of artists that made him the first video artist of one of the most important art galleries in Italy. Francesco was invited to the charity organization “Art for Children” based in Milan. 2009 opened a new grand rise with Attolini’s first solo exhibition in Milan entitled “Io sono tutte le persone che ho incontrato” (I am all the people I met) consisted of 23 videos pieces ad and 97 still images, a hurricane of images that rocked Milan. Together with the Art Gallery of San Lorenzo he participated in two major art events in Versilia and Sardinia: “La settimana dell’arte” (A week of art). In June 2009 the Southern University of California exhibited “Gli angeli di San Pietroburgo” in honor of the centennial friendship between the city of Los Angeles and St. Petersburg.
On June 15, 2009, after 5 years spent in Brussels and 6 years in Milan, Francesco moved to St. Petersburg following his ambition to leave a deep impression again and find a new identity.
He met the Russian sculptor Mikhail Dolgopolov who invited him to organize an exhibition and display his two video projects in his gallery (Che gallery). Both performances had a huge success among the public and press; Mikhail immediately offered Francesco a position of the art director of the gallery, and two months later they decided to found the OIOIOI INTERNATIONAL ART GALLERY. Francesco formed a team of artists who mostly followed his manifesto written in Brussels in 1999, and invited the most talented persons who he could trust completely: Cristiano Ceretti (artist and designer), and Andrea Sartori who became a curator of all the exhibitions of the gallery in St.Petersburg. Thanks to a series of exhibitions and events, the Gallery quickly became a center of the contemporary art in the city. That’s how the new art movement was born, continued with the slogan “Life is a work of art” which would be completed in the manifesto published in 2010. The Gallery has a working partnership with the Swedish consulate and the Italian Institute of Culture. Meanwhile, Francesco participated for the third time in Paratissima in Turin, presenting his ‘Self portrait 001-012’ project at the exhibition “Limited” in the pavilion “Grandi Stazioni”. Roberto Milani invited him to join the group “Il Muro” (Wall) organized by Lori Castle (Pisa) where Francesco displayed his ‘Balkanika, Sarajevo Stadion video e still’ project.
In January 2010 Francesco returned to Milan to open his first solo exhibition of the year ‘Self World Spontex’ in the Gallery of San Lorenzo. ‘Self World Spontex’ is a big project that Francesco initiated together with Riccardo Bianco, one of his most important collectors, the Director of Mapa Spontex Italia, and an expert of the Italian contemporary art scene.
At the same time, enthusiasm was growing around the two galleries in St.Petersburg (Che and OIOIOI galleries) and the Royal Factory, a place where the gallery artists meet to initiate joint projects.
A new project ‘Into the public’ dedicated to the reorganization of the train stations of St. Petersburg and Moscow took place among other art events. On Friday, February 19th, 2010 the great idea was brought to life with an exhibition of Sergey Kosianov (photographer) who opened the show. The event consisted of concerts, live video art performances by Francesco, and related exhibitions in the OIOIOI and Che galleries. A storm of images and ideas that flooded St. Petersburg for 15 days reminded that art for being truly contemporary should leave the galleries and sneak into the people’s everyday life.
On May 4th, 2010 ‘Self World Spontex’ was presented to the press at the exhibition of Triennale in Milan. The grand installation consisting of a central projection, two side screens and a series of still images mounted on special tripods became a matter of discussion of Riccardo Bianco, Maurizio Vanni (a director of Lu.C.C.A. Museum), Francesco Morace, and Xante Battaglia.

July, 10th 2010 an original art piece ‘Self World Russia’ was included into the exhibition of the video art of the Lu.C.C.A. Museum. The video piece opens the project curated by Alessandro Romanini that had a great success among the public and critics.

From that moment it begins a tour of Self World that touches St. Petersburg with a huge solo exhibition in the OIOIOI gallery, Turin (Paratissima), Miami (Miami Art District) always with the Museum of Lu.C.C.A. and Moscow (Vinzavod) with another big personal show.
In April 2011 Attolini Self exhibits Russia to World Fair of Contemporary Art in Milan Accessible Art directed by Tiziana Manca setting up an installation with 9 screens and a live performance under the curation of the young and brilliant Mariella Casile. In May 2011 we opened the doors of the museum's Silpakorn University in Bangkok, where invited by Maurizio Vanni Attolini exhibits Time's Selfportrait that is enjoying enormous critical acclaim and audiences. On May 16 he was invited to the 54th Venice Biennale Pavilion ITALY PUGLIA with Vittorio Sgarbi, vemous curator , where he exposes SELF WORLD 2010-2011. Moreover, invited from Italian Institute of Culture in St. Petersburg makes a video work for the artist Christian Ceretti for ITALIAN WORLD PAVILION always at the Venice Biennale in the “Arsenale”. On October 23, opens a massive installation in the four constitutive Moscow Biennale of video and stills for the project rewriting WORLDS - BEHIND THE MIRROR, edited by Maurizio Vanni.

2012 was another significant year for Francis. The exhibition organized by the renowned curator Irena Kuksenaite at the center of contemporary art Etagi at the end of the year 2011 in honor of Italian culture in Russia, is procrastinated for the entire month of January, marking a record attendance. The 27 video installations presented by the artist do a great success of public and critics. Italian football scandal, which broke out in 2011, who knows when it will ever end is daily bread for the artist who designs "LAST BET UNITED" exhibition dedicated to rotten in the world of football is presented before in St. Petersburg Re.flex Art Gallery and then to Bari at the Murart exhibition and pavilion of the province of Bari in Fiera del Levante. In August Vittorio Sgarbi includes work by Attolini in the Museum of Madness that will begin in the beautiful surroundings of the "stones of Matera" having great success with the public and the press.