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Contemporary art in Lucca - mostly bull?

lucca_bi_sogniThe little town of Lucca is becoming a popular tourist destination, though it is still considered somewhat off the beaten track. Lucca has a ton of churches (it’s called the city of 100 churches although apparently there are many, but not a hundred), some great little stores, good local food, wine and oil, and as of late, some interesting contemporary art. Lu.C.C.A. - Lucca Center of Contemporary Art opened in 2009 as a permanent contemporary art space, café, and place for discussions and activities (http://www.luccamuseum.com/). Even the bathrooms have been commissioned by artists (see photo) and given the title “Bi-sogni d’artista” which is a play on words that mixes sogni (dreams) and bisogni (needs - another way to say you have to go). Add to this the Biennale of contemporary art dedicted to paper, Cartasia, and Lucca Digital Foto Fest, a photography show, and other events to make Lucca a vibrant city on the art radar.

lucca_bull_messagesBalzano_torroThis winter at the Lu.C.C.A. the focus is, apparently, BULLS. I went to see the show “Luci del Destino” by Christian Balzano, an artist born in 1969 in Livorno who has traveled widely in places like Mexico, Cuba, Tanzania, Thailand, etc. His installations, paintings, and sculpture are all thematically related and contain any combination of the following: bulls, beating hearts, corna siciliana (that red good-luck charm), budda, and Madonna (Saint, not singer). Most of these are not things I would want on my wall at home, but the exhibit is playful and interactive. We particularly liked the confessional entitled “Tell it to the bull” from which you extract a fortune on a piece of paper that you can then tie to a bull on the wall (see photo). The theme of the bull is intended to call up the idea of destiny (bulls being masters of their own); the exhibition apparently makes the viewer question whether or not we face up to our own destiny. The artist does not fail to see the humour in the theme though – there is bullshit for sale in small containers in the gift shop. Is this a metaphor for all contemporary art? Many would say yes... This show closes Feb 14 2010.--- EXTENDED TO FEB 21 A shorter exhibit by Olivia Fontana “Arene. Luci e ombre della vittoria” runs Jan 19 to 28, 2010. This young Lucchese artist has worked for years in Madrid where she has developed works on the theme of the torero or matador. For her, the bullfight is a metaphor for life and a symbol of the struggle for survival.

Fontana @ Lucca Contemporary Museum
Fontana @ Lucca Contemporary Museum

The organizers of the museum have thoughtfully organized a “talk show” that sees the two artists head-to-head, so to speak, on the cheery theme of the role of sacrificial victims (“Arena, tori e toreri: vincitori e vinti nella vita”) that will take place on January 28th at 9pm. The museum will be open until 11pm that night. Lu.C.C.C.A also has a kids area called Lab4Kids that offers Sunday hands on activities with parents; on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons there are labs for 4-11 year olds. Contact info@luccamuseum.com for information and reservation. This summer, the museum has yet to announce what show will coincide with the important Bienale of contemporary art, Cartasia, which takes place in July, but be sure to plan on lunch and an exhibit there while you are in town as something interesting will surely be on display. Lucca is a town that is pretty easy to take in but has a lot to offer. Don't miss experiencing the low, wide Renaissance city walls which have been made into a park ideal for cycling or walking (you can rent a bike by the hour and bike around the town, which is a lot of fun). INFO

Lu.C.C.A. Lucca Center of Contemporary Art http://www.luccamuseum.com Via della Fratta, 36 55100 Lucca Open Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday) 10.00 - 19.00 Entry: 5 euros (children under 6 free) Map: