Michele Tombolini ITALY, b. 1963

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Overview

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My art is for everyone and it represents our times, it goes beyond the business and tells the story of our every day life and our society at a global level.
My art is a sort of conceptual and social pop,  where the message is the most important thing.

Biography

Born in Venice in 1963. Lives and works in Venice.

Michele Tombolini’s research ranges in different fields, from painting to sculpture, from installations to performance. His initial pictorial style originates from an introspective research that makes the bursting instinct its most characteristic aspect; his material style is inspired by the great masters of the twentieth century, from Picasso to the great upheavals of the Transavanguardia.

On the occasion of his participation with a video at Personal Structures in Palazzo Bembo, during the 55. International Art Exhibition -The Venice Biennale (2013), Michele Tombolini lays the foundations for a change, turning his research towards an increasingly conceptual approach, where the idea and the social message are the protagonist.

In 2014 the artist moved to Berlin where he created Butterfly, an interactive mural, on the facade of a building in the centre of East Berlin. The monumental work, of 30 m, is part of the international project Indelible Marks, aimed at raising public awareness of the great problem of child prostitution in the world and child abuse.

Butterfly, depicting a little girl in black and white with her mouth covered by a patch but with blue butterfly wings, represents the beginning of a revolution in the language of the artist in which an element of positivity, represented by bright colours, is inserted, as opposed to the greyness of the city, the degradation and the social problems that characterize the large metropolises.

The new artistic path of Michele Tombolini is characterized by an approach to the image that can be called Pop, while maintaining a level of further reading that is the messenger of a strong interest in social dynamics, the so-called Social Pop.

On the occasion of the Biennale Arte 2019, Michele Tombolini stands out for his installation La Mendicante Griffata leaning against the wall of the Academy of Fine Arts: she is a beggar with a covered face and a sign with the words "I’m hungry, help me". The destabilizing element is the presence of a designer bag and scratch cards scattered on the ground: is it a fake poor or a richimpoverished because of consumerism and contemporary social plagues? The installation of the dummy at various points in Venice was followed by an exhibition at Cà Zanardi with the projection of an artistic video with the reactions of passers-by.

The artist has recently claimed responsibility for the intervention on the work of Banksy Il piccolo migrante appeared in Venice in 2019. Tombolini applied an adhesive X on the child’s mouth, without damaging the work of the English street artist and removing it after 24 hours, to catalyse the attention on the theme of migration in Italy and strengthening Banksy’s message. The closed mouth indicates the impossibility of migrants to explain their version of events and make themselves heard to enforce their rights, placing the emphasis on the delicate issue of illicit human trafficking in Italy, managed by the mafias.

In June 2021, in Mestre (VE), Michele Tombolini unveiled a new artistic project, X Square. A sculptural installation, located in the middle of the square of Calle Corte Legrenzi, conceived as a symbol of optimism and trust for all people hard hit by the pandemic and who still suffer from the economic and social consequences of this emergency. That presented in Mestre is the first work of a traveling project with which the artist will bring in the coming months his message of universal hope in the main squares of the world.

In October 2021 Michele Tombolini declared the authorship of the project The voice OFF the planet in collaboration with the group Extinction Rebellion: this is a non-violent artistic initiative dedicated to the environment, which saw the installation of paper-made skulls on the monuments of several Italian cities including Milan, Venice and Rome. The skulls represent the imminent death of the planet that sees us all responsible, but the shrubs and wreaths of pine needles and ivy leaves that come out symbolize hope in a change, in a rebirth of the planet. The X returns on the mouth, a symbol of censorship, the same censorship that the Venetian artist tries to fight in his works and installations, giving voice to anyone who cannot speak.

Starting from April 2022, Tombolini will participate in the Venice Biennale with the Pavilion of the Republic of San Marino at Palazzo Donà delle Rose in Venice.

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