Gianfranco Botto (Turin, 1963) and Roberta Bruno (Turin, 1966). They live and work in Turin, Italy.
Gianfranco Botto (1963) and Roberta Bruno (1966), a.k.a. Botto & Bruno, a couple in life and in art from Turin, are an artistic duo that, since the early 90s, has expressed itself mainly through photography, drawing, video and installations. Both born and raised in suburban neighbourhoods, thanks to their sophisticated culture, they have been able to explore marginalization as a cultural theme on which to intervene in order to probe it in all its aspects.
Their visions of suburbs with dark skies are famous and unmistakable, featuring abandoned buildings and run-down places, where the human presence has hardly conquered these places deprived of their identity, and where no physiognomy is identifiable. The two artists mainly use the camera as an investigation tool: they take many photographs of the suburbs, their city and the places where they hold exhibitions, or wherever they happen to be.
They choose mostly, although not necessarily, abandoned neighbourhoods and buildings: warehouses, factories, schools and public housing. Through an entirely manual work (manual is also the process of making videos using sequences of photographs) they then create collages and new scenarios by freely putting together details from the photographs. Their work is thus the assembly of many actually existing places which, however, in the end seems to become a mental landscape, characterized by the lack of activity and inhabited mostly by one or two figures (the artists themselves) who never look towards the viewer, but turn their gaze to the ground. In the work of the artists, the abandoned industrial areas are approached with a melancholic but not resigned feeling. The characters, whose faces are not visible, are wrapped in a halo of relational autism that stands out under the post-atomic sky and a surreal but not unreal environment. The denunciation and the lyrical aspects must in fact always go hand in hand. The task of the artists seems that of revealing the poetry that every place, even the most neglected, carries.