Ciottolina Xue’s Bots and Blossoms spread hope at ‘The 22’

Of Bots and Blossoms is the new exhibition by Ciottolina Xue that opens today, November 14, at The 22 art space in Bellisseria. It combines two different sets of virtual sculptures by the artist. In one set, it shows robots in scenes that may be, at the same time, somewhat funny and poetic. The other part is presented as a garden in which blossoms are associated with a symbolic field that encompasses the ideas of birth and motherhood.

Maternita, by Ciottolina Xue, in The 22’s garden area
Robot 4 shows a robot talking with a flying fish

The exhibition was conceived as a way to integrate sculptures with the surrounding environment without, at the same time, taking the focus out of Ciottolina Xue’s pieces. In order to do so, Randy and I chose another house model for the gallery, different from the one that was used for the past exhibition. The model that we are using now allowed us to play with both the space inside the building and the surrounding area.

Family (front) and Speranza (back), sculptures by Ciottolina Xue

We also opted for being extremely economic about the use of props – after all, attention is on the sculptures. So, inside the house, integration relies mostly on colors and on the positioning of the works, placed by Ciottolina herself. Outdoors, Randy and I built a garden that mingles the artist’s pieces with plants and flowers which help to build an atmosphere meant to enhance the effect of each sculpture without being excessive.

Robot 2 in one of the gallery’s room
Innocenza, seen from The 22’s porch
A second sculpture called Innocenza, seen from The 22’s cafe

Ciottolina’s robots are shown either performing mundane human activities (such as painting or reading) or in some surprising scenes (interacting with a flying fish, for example). In any case, they can refer to us in our daily routines, which includes dreaming, and subvert those routines by replacing people by machines. It is interesting to notice that, in general, the artist’s bots seem happy and, in any case, very expressive.

Heart Robot: painting the gallery

As the observer moves towards the garden, the exhibition turns into a different way to experience joy. The sculptures now relate to birth, care and rearing. They explore a link between blossoms and the idea of nurturing life.

Robot 3: reading a newspaper
Solidarieta per il Kenya, sculpture by Ciottolina Xue

Of Bots and Blossoms runs until February 14, 2021. It is, thus, the way Randy and I chose to celebrate, at The 22, the transition between this year and the next one. That choice is, itself, a message of hope that we’d like to spread. Our wish is the public will be touched by it.

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