Bologna | Alex Angi at Orea Malià

Bologna claims its annual due as Italy’s capital city of art. Arte Fiera is back, at the Bologna Exhibition Centre this year from January 29 to February 1, the biggest modern and contemporary art fair in southern Europe, and the oldest at a venerable 40 years with this edition. That’s for committed collectors and professionals, mostly. What’s much more fun for common mortals is what’s happening downtown meanwhile, the peppy programme of events, exhibitions and performances that goes by the name of Art City Bologna, and specially its sparkling climax on Saturday, Art City White Night, through to midnight – at the earliest – and nowhere near enough for this lineup. Here’s just one, unmissable.

It’s an exhibition of more than 60 works by internationally renowned member of Cracking Art Group (we last mentioned them here) Alex Angi, entitled Virus: The Plastic Age. Like all Cracking Artists, Alex Angi uses recycled plastic to explore the connections between what is natural and what is artificial, making an environmental point in a way that is totally engaging and unforgettable. The works shown here, though, aren’t those trademark giant snails or penguins or what have you but abstract, poetic forms, both huge and tiny, viruses invading the sphere of contemporary art and multiplying exuberantly and colourfully in and out of their current host, the amazing place that is Orea Malià.

Ah yes, Orea Maliàlovely hair for those with a smattering or more of modern Greek. Much more than a hairdressing salon, indeed ‘a whole new interpretation of the art of hairdressing’ according to Marco Zanardi who founded it all of 30 years ago. Since then it’s boasted partnerships with huge names in the worlds of fashion, tv, cinema music – and contemporary art. For Orea Malià is also, seamlessly, an exhibition space, pop art style, and Orea Art production (Marco Zanardi and Beatrice Baccarani) the offshoot that puts on the shows. Virus: The Plastic Age opens on Saturday January 30 at 8pm at Orea Malià in central Via Ugo Bassi, mostly, and with mini-events in three other venues: Alti e Bassi shoe store in Via Dè Toschi,  Gamberini bar and pastry shop also in Via Ugo Bassi and Ranzani 13 Italian pub in Via Ranzani. The main show runs until March 31, 2016, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.