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Lacer/actions Artworks by Roberto Alborghetti.

In memory of 2.974 Victims&Martyrs.

In the 11th Anniversary of WTC massacre.


Title of the work:

“Victims & Martyrs: The Blood’s Tracks # 2 – Nine Eleven 2001, New York”

Canvas + Mixed media, 2011, 46,5 x 70 cm

Silk scarf created in collaboration with textile designer Bruno Boggia



From an article by dr. SRINI PILLAY, Psychiatrist, Harvard clinician, brain imaging researcher, author of “The Life Unlocked”, “Your Brain and Business: the Neuroscience of the great leaders”, “The Science behind the Law of Attraction” , The Huffington Post columnist

Nine eleven did not just affect America.  It affected the world. Roberto Alborghetti was walking along Vico Street in Milan last spring when his eyes suddenly fell upon an image: red and black and described by him as either “hands, arms, fire tongues or hydrants,” he began to see the primal theme that this image represented.

Besides, it was a torn poster on a wall, and its urban origins were undeniable.  He looked on more closely, and as his mind wandered over several images, it landed on one that seemed to him most like what this was.  These, says Alborghetti, are: “..scenes in which the earth cries its fury to the sky, and the sky answers with its blood teardrops.”  Seeing the tragedy, he immediately made an association to one that had touched him very deeply: 9/11.  Knowing that he wanted to dedicate this one, of his poster images, to 9/11, he reproduced the image on canvas. He also approached the textiles designer Bruno Boggia who suggested that Alborghetti make a silk scarf with the image.  He did…  He plans to donate the scarf to a Fallen’s relative association.  Intrigued by this man’s penchant to represent this gruesome event as art, I probed more deeply to try to understand his psychology.  Was this just a random act on his part?  Did it actually mean anything to him?  And was there something that we in America could learn from this? “Art,” says Alborghetti, “is a reflection of reality.”  More precisely, he saw this piece of art as a scar that says that the world’s problems cannot be solved by violence and war– a memory of the horror of 9/11.  But was that thoughtful, or simply macabre?   “What was it in you that made you respond to this massive destruction with creation?” I asked, somewhat incredulously.  He answered that the poster seemed to depict both the tragedy and the possibility of a new life where earth (grey) and sky (red) meet each other to give origin to new colors, new days and new lives.   He was pointing to a certain resilience that we all have – to how in the face of massive destruction, you may break our buildings, but you cannot break our spirit.  He should know:  Alborghetti’s father was one of the few survivors of the terrible Kefalonia massacre (Greece, September 1943) where 8,000 young Italian young soldiers were killed by the Wehrmacht German army. He was injured, captured and segregated in a concentration camp. Alborghetti reflects: “An unutterable experience. And…slaughter!…I think that only his will to make peace with those awful years – talkin’ about them and… smilin’ too – has saved him, since then, from mind and body disease… “ In this time of remembering 9/11, psychological research and brain science support Alborghetti’s approach to representing tragedy in the beauty of art.  Visual beauty is registered in the brain in the medial OFC (orbitofrontal cortex) – a brain region known for its role in flexibility in thinking and reward (https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/research/browse/show-publication?pub_id=324591&source_id=2)  Beauty resides here too.  It could stimulate the necessary flexibility in our thinking by encouraging us not to lose ourselves in remembering the tragedy but also seeing the beauty in our resilience as a nation as well as the possibilities for recovery.  Studies also show that the perception of beauty activates brain regions, which move us toward the beautiful image or away from it if we think it ugly. (http://jn.physiology.org/content/91/4/1699.full.pdf)  To a certain extent, this gels well with Alborghettis’s intention in the art. Also, art and beauty offer potential forms of healing for all of us. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15152417)  Visual art not only represents the unconscious of the artist (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11455363) but  also taps into our unconscious brains (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19230327) leading us to parts of ourselves that are often untouched by everyday discourse.  For this reason, it does allow for a special kind of healing. I asked him: “Is your message in your art to America or the entire world?  Why?” He responded that his art was for all who would accept it – that art is a universal language – and that this memory was for all people who care to ask themselves some questions and who will allow emotions and feelings to grow in them. When we think of art representing tragedy, it raises all kinds of questions.  Can we really make art of an experience where people have lost loved ones?  Can we truly justify directing people toward beauty when there is such tragedy?  The beauty of abstract art – and of Alborghetti’s art in particular, is that it is in invitation for us to project what we will onto the piece.  We do so anyway – even when human forms, gardens and ponds protect us with their explicit forms in Impressionist and Renaissance paintings.  Art, as I substantiated above, is a form of healing whose effects we can see in the brain. From a psychological perspective, art is an amazing way to mourn.  When it is as beautiful as Alborghetti’s, it invites us to revisit the tragedy of terrorism, the horror of loss, and the beauty of our own resilience as we make our way through this mysterious life.





Roberto Alborghetti “LaceR/Actions” is a multidisciplinary project about torn and decomposed publicity posters. Realistic images captured on the streets around the world are transferred on canvases, lithographs, textiles, glass, videoclips…


I know: you aren’t dedicated two pages in a newspaper every day… Especially when they refer to art and culture. However, this happened to me. L’Eco di Bergamo – the most popular local newspaper in Italy – wrote about my “Lacer/actions” artworks dedicating me two full pages. The article is signed by Diego Colombo, who has interviewed me and has brilliantly reported and described the aspects of my art. I’m re-proposing some passages of the long and detailed article, thanking Diego Colombo and L’Eco di Bergamo for the attention they gave me. The entire article can be read on L’Eco di Bergamo, on October 26, 2011.



by Diego Colombo

 The “torn city.” This is the subject of photographs by the journalist Roberto Alborghetti from Bergamo (Italy), a research work on torn posters, advertising papers, in different countries of the world. He explains: “It’s hard to imagine that behind torn and faded messages there is “something else” to see or discover. In spite of this, these images keep being a mirror of the talking city. These are the post-communicating traces of a product, an event, a show, an idea, new visual elements, often contrasting, discordant but always surprisingly vital”.

Chris Barlow, British art historians, has hosted Alborghetti in an exhibition in London, organized in October. He was invited to be part of the Memorial & Museum in New York, with his work on Nine Eleven… “I’ve always been fascinated by the world of communication – explains Alborghetti – and once I cared a survey “The eye and the media”, in the weekly magazine “La nostra Domenica”, which often dealt with advertising including that of billboards on the streets. And the director, Lino Lazzari, encouraged me to go on with photographs, putting near my language the innovations of pop art. This year he wrote me a beautiful review which I translated into English and placed on the net”. Lazzari wrote: “The matter used to create a work of art and to convey positive messages of humanity isn’t as important as the ability of using “tears” of colored paper to exalt the characteristics of a striking, persuasive, compelling reality”.

“I photograph a waste as the torn poster waiting to be covered by other posters – adds Alborghetti – or remains as a waste, especially in poor neighborhoods where I usually find the best images”. “In Tunis, three years ago, I took photographs in an Arab market – remembers Alborghetti – where I saw beautiful matches on the blue walls of buildings… The most beautiful matches are those in which paper remains stuck for months and undergoes a process of osmosis with the environment. With rain, sun, smog, paper always changes, it pulls itself, it’s stiff. The most unusual aspects can be discovered when rainwater mixes everything, leaving incredible traces, and it’s important to seize the right moment, because it isn’t always easy…”

“During the last fifteen years – continues Alborghetti – I coordinated several projects about the use of means of mass communication and the reading of image, including workshops with students and teachers on advertising messages. There, I discovered that advertising has a “post” value, that is to say even after being a moment of communication. To tell the truth, the artist Mimmo Rotella took inspiration from torn posters of the fifties. And others like him, for example the French artist Jacques Villeglé: the capability of the billboard of enchanting isn’t something new. But I have considered a different aspect: the suggestion of colors that casually remain when the bill-sticker tears. In the meantime, studying contemporary art, I was seduced by abstractionism”.

 In about seven years, Alborghetti collects a lot of photos, thirty thousand pics. Here comes the surprise: “Showing them to friends or during the workshops with teachers, I was told that my pictures of torn posters were beautiful. They pushed me to locate them, date them, categorize them. I had shots taken around the world, from Italy, from New York and Los Angeles, from all the places where my job as director of specialist journals in the field of teaching and education and coordinator of projects about the use of media takes me”.

The moment of getting known comes soon: “I created about forty videoclips with my images of torn posters, organizing them by color – blue, red, black – and giving meaning to my work. I loaded them on the net: YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, ArtSlant… The first exhibition was in July 2010 at OrioCenter: the Director of the big shoppin center had seen my pictures and he had offered me a space, the square opposite the Milan Bergamo Orio Airport, for an exhibition of thirty works on the theme “Air, water, earth and fire”. In three days, thousands of people have asked for explanations and clarifications. On that occasion newspapers dedicated some articles to the event, including L’Eco di Bergamo and the international web magazine Un mondo d’Italiani…”

 “At first I found much derision in Italy. They told me: “You have made a montage”. And then I had to stand, and still today, people’s reactions when I am taking photos on torn posters. “You’re crazy”, “I have to go, give me way…”. In Milan I was also stopped by the police: I was shooting near a police station, considered “a significant military target”. “What are you photographing?”. “I will show you”. They couldn’t believe. Even my friends usually joke: they pretend to be art dealers who invite me to exhibitions”. To tell the truth when we saw the first e mail from Roberto Alborghetti, we thought it to be a trick.

“When I brought my booklet in a gallery in Milan, they watched me as if I was an alien. But abroad I realized that I wasn’t the problem, they were. We have to get out of our narrow-minded, it is isolating us”.

 The web gives Alborghetti a strong visibility: he has been receiving since the beginning thousands of contacts on his website “Lacer/actions” on YouTube. “Lacer/actions. I chose this name because my activity consists of reading the tears on posters, mirror of pople’s sorrow” Alborghetti’s name is also present on The Huffington Post, the prestigious American blog for which the President of the United States Obama, also wrote. The article is signed by Srini Pillay, Harvard psychiatrist and researcher in the field of “brain imaging”, author of bestsellers about the Neuroscience; in Italy they translated his best seller “Life Unlocked”, titled “La Calma in Tasca” (Newton Compton publishing company)

Pillay was especially struck by the work of Alborghetti dedicated to Nine Eleven and he wrote a psychological analysis on it: “Art is a form of healing whose effects we can seen in the brain. When it is as beautiful as Roberto Alborghetti, it invites us to revisit the tragedy of terrorism, the horror of the loss and the beauty of our resilience through this mysterious life”.

The London show has been organized by the art historian and gallery owner Chris Barlow: “He saw my pictures on the net, he appreciated them and invited me to go to London for three days at the international “Parallax AF” with three of my works: that dedicated to Nine Eleven, “As running fast water” (Come acqua che corre veloce), “I don’t like to stand still” (Non mi piace stare fermo). “As running fast water” was born in Bergamo, along XXIV Maggio street in a rainy day and now somebody puts it near Monet”.

 “I have been contacted by many people who had seen my pictures on the net – Alborghetti says with surprise, but also with pride – : poets, musicians and storytellers. Among these was Srini Pillay, who now is working to an international project about “ States of consciousness”: he sent me a grid of questions centred on the creation of my works. When he received my answers he wrote me: “I am a columnist of The Huffington Post, I will dedicate an article about your work on Nine Eleven”. Taking the story of the origin of this picture as a starting point, he began to write: “Roberto Alborghetti was walking along Vico Street in Milan…”. That’s true: I was there when I saw a board election and I was fascinated by the tears left by a bill-sticker. The colors were similar to those of blood and fire coming down to the gray cement. This year is the tenth anniversary of Nine Eleven and I decided to dedicate this picture to the Fallen in the attack”.

 But there’s more. “Two years ago I have produced a clip with colorful images. An American hip-pop musician, Sweet P The Entertainer saw it and wrote to me: “If I give you my music, you will make a clip”. Now he is coming out in America with his first album…” There is a special feeling with the music. “Last year I made a clip with abstract images that made me think of the atmosphere of Christmas; this clip was for an american group that sings a cappella, Tonic Sol-Fa. A few months ago I worked with a Dutch musician, Jap Jap. And an experimental musician from Brighton, Jonteknik, sent me a song and he wrote to me: “Combine it with your pictures, I like them very much”. I worked with the American musical project “Earscapes” by Joshua Sellers, musician, producer and poet from Arkansas, who created a nine minutes video (“Linger”) with my artworks…”

“Who says that this kind of work can be created only by an Italian, mentioning Renaissance, as well as all the culture that we have behind us and inside us, puts me in a crisis. As well as people who puts me near Cy Twombly, Josef Albers, to pop art, who declares that I have shown that in art nothing is created nor destroyed. That’s true: I am not a painter, but a lot of great artists have been inspired by torn posters. I have got proof. I don’t modify the images, I don’t transform them: I immortalize them as I see them. My work is a provocation. Those who see my work for the first time have the illusion that they are paintings. I have to explain that they are not…”

Others apart from artists like Alborghetti’s works. He has been called by a company, the Bulwark Design (Srs Group), from Fiorano Modenese (Modena), in the center of the district of ceramics… And then the meeting with Bruno Boggia, who provides designers with the drawings. Because the success of an article depends on the textile designers. In Como, Boggia works for the most successful international fashion houses. Alborghetti: “He has produced three silk scarves with my pictures, including one dedicated to Nine Eleven (Alborghetti is going to give it to an association of families of the Fallen in the attack) Three prototypes, just to see the effect of the transition from paper to silk”. “But there’s also – he concludes – a religious group which had the idea of taking one of my images as a model for a stained glass window… People see all these references. For me it’s just a game”. But also a provocation to our eyes and our minds.


Italian newspaper “L’Eco di Bergamo” reports about Roberto Alborghetti’s Lacer/actions. The attention is focused on “9/11 artwork” – dedicated to the Fallen in the WTC massacre – and on the article that has been posted at “The Huffington Post” by Srini Pillay, Psychiatrist, Harvard clinician, brain-imaging researcher, executive couch and author of “Life Unlocked”, “Your Brain and Business: the Neuroscience of the great leaders”, “The Science behind The Law of Attraction”.

 FROM “L’ECO DI BERGAMO” ( Italian version)

The Huffington Post, il prestigioso blog americano per il quale ha scritto anche il presidente Obama, dedica un articolo al bergamasco Roberto Alborghetti , per il suo lavoro artistico dedicato all’11 settembre, che il prossimo ottobre sarà esposto a Londra alla Parallax Art fair alla Royal Opera Arcade.

 Chi gli dedica un lungo articolo è Srinivasan Pillay, psichiatra, docente ad Harvard ed esperto di brain imaging che si è dedicato allo studio delle conseguenze dei traumi post attacchi terroristici. Alborghetti, poliedrico operatore mediatico e organizzatore culturale, un paio d’anni fa ha cominciato a fotografare per hobby gli strappi sovrapposti dei manifesti urbani, ricavandone immagini astratte di notevole suggestione con le quali ha composto gallerie virtuali.

 I suoi lavori hanno attirato l’attenzione di molti frequentatori di internet, fra i quali Pillay che ha contatttato Alborghetti via email per conoscere meglio, racconta il luminare nel suo blog sull’Huffington Post, l’autore e le motivazioni del suo lavoro. In particolare Pillay è rimasto colpito dal lavoro dedicato all’11 settembre, uno scatto realizzato in via Giambattista Vico a Milano, un resto di manifesto elettorale dai colori cupi che ricordano braccia, fiamme e idranti.

 L’opera, fra l’altro è stata trasposta su tela e anche su seta, in collaborazione con Bruno Boggia, artista serico e consulente di griffe internazionali. Anche la sciarpa sarà esposta a Londra e donata per beneficienza all’Associazione dei familiari delle vittime dell’11 settembre.

 Pillay ha scoperto i lavori di Roberto riuniti sotto il nome collettivo di “Lacer/azioni” navigando durante le ore di attesa in aeroporto. Ne è nato un colloquio a distanza che è diventato occasione per una riflessione sul ruolo dell’arte e della bellezza come reazione al male e al dolore e che ha ispirato l’articolo «9/11. Remembering a tragedy through art», 9/11. Ricordare una tragedia attraverso l’arte.

 Ecco il link dell’articolo:





The international web dailynews “Unmondoditaliani” has dedicated plenty of space to my “lacer/actions” artwork in memory of the Nine Eleven fallen at WTC in New York.

The article is signed by Mina Cappussi (editor in chief, writer and professor at La Sapienza University in Rome) and Stefania Paradiso. I would like to share it here on WordPress. Here is the link :



Il quotidiano web internazionale “Unmondoditaliani” ha dedicato ampio spazio al mio artwork in memoria dei 3.000 Caduti dell’11 settembre 2001, nell’attacco terroristico alle Torri Gemelle.

L’articolo è firmato da Mina Cappussi (direttore del quotidiano web, scrittrice e docente a la Sapienza di Roma) e da Stefania Paradiso. Desidero condividerlo qui, su WordPress. Ecco il link all’articolo:



 In the 10th Anniversary of the WTC massacre in New York, I have dedicated one of my “lacer/actions” artworks to the Memory of the 3,000 fallen in the terrorist attack. I made a canvas and a silk scarf.



An image to remember. It’s dedicated to the Nine Eleven fallen (September 11, 2001) in the massacre of the Twin Towers, the new artwork that I created for my “Lacer/actions” project. The 10th Anniversary of one of the most terrible tragedies of modern history – 2974 the deads officially recorded – is reread in a special image that I took, as usual, straight from the torn and decomposed posters on billboards.

The image chosen to remember the fallen of Nine Eleven was “captured” on a billboard in Milan, in Vico Street, during last spring. It shows colors, shapes and lines that recall, in a swirling and apocalyptic atmosphere, that tragic day. After the terrorist attacks, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York fell to the ground, raising death, destruction and anger.

The picture is realistic, not digitally manipulated, absolutely random, as the other 30,000 images that I collected during my research about “torn (publi)city”. In this image I see, or I imagine to see: red blood and fires, trails of death and grief, smoke and debris, steel and reinforced concrete… A scene where life seems to be defeated, but where the living’s despair becomes desire to make memory of the dead, so that more blood won’t be shed. When I saw it, I immediately and instinctively thought to Nine Eleven situation. I love, in this image, the perfect balance from upper part (the red one) and lower part (the grey one) and the ascending (or descending) shapes movement. The earth cries its fury to the sky, and the sky answers with its blood teardrops…

The picture is reproduced on canvas and has a size of cm. 47×70. The same image was also reproduced on silk textile, wrapped like a scarf, thanks to Bruno Boggia, the 83 years old renowned textiles designer – he lives in Como – who established collaborations with international fashion stylists. He was striked by the colors combination of this picture.

Entitled “NineEleven / New York 2001”, this artwork is part of a series – “Victims & Martyrs / The blood tracks” – dedicated to the memory of those who perished during the darkest and most painful pages of human history .

Canvas and scarf will be on show in London, next October (from 14 to 16) during “Parallax Art Fair”, scheduled at “La Galleria” (Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall). I had the honor of being selected by the curator of the event, Chris Barlow. The exhibition will run in London during Frieze Art days. The pictorial canvas has been made with the precious collaboration of Marina at Puntolinea (print, graphic and digital service) in Gorle, Italy.


Link to YouTube Videoclip


Link to Parallax AF Catalogue 2011



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 Nel decimo anniversario della strage, Roberto Alborghetti dedica una sua “lacer/azione” al ricordo dei 3.000 morti nell’attentato terroristico.

Un’immagine per non dimenticare. E’ dedicata ai caduti dell’11 settembre 2001, nella strage delle Torri Gemelle, la nuova opera realizzata da Roberto Alborghetti per il suo progetto “Lacer/azioni”. Il decimo anniversario di una delle più atroci tragedie della storia contemporanea – 2974 i morti ufficialmente registrati – è riletto nella particolarità di un “artwork” che Roberto Alborghetti ha preso, come sua abitudine, direttamente dalle “lacerazioni” cartacee dei manifesti strappati o decomposti sui muri delle nostre città.

L’immagine scelta per ricordare i caduti dell’11 settembre – “colta” da un cartellone pubblicitario a Milano,in via G.B. Vico – reca colori, forme e linee che richiamano, in un movimento vorticoso, l’atmosfera apocalittica di quella tragica giornata. Dopo l’attacco terroristico aereo, le Twin Towers del Word Trade Center di New York crollarono a terra, sollevando morte, distruzione e rabbia.

L’immagine – realistica, assolutamente casuale, come lo sono del resto tutte le oltre 30.000 immagini raccolte da Roberto Alborghetti nella sua ricerca sulla “(pubbli)città strappata” – è così “spiegata” dal suo autore: “Il rosso, del sangue e del fuoco, sprofonda dall’alto verso il basso, tracciando scie di morte e di dolore che, tra fumo e detriti, scemano nel grigio dei tralicci di acciaio e cemento armato, dove ancora la vita non è ancora stata sconfitta. E dove, la disperazione dei vivi, diventa desiderio di fare memoria dei morti, affinchè altro sangue non sia versato”.

L’immagine è riprodotta su tela pittorica ed ha una dimensione di cm.42×62. Alcuni parti sono state trattate e rivestite da un leggero strato di resina. La stessa immagine è stata riprodotta anche su tessuto di seta, confezionata come una sciarpa grazie a Bruno Boggia, il noto textiles designer di Como, che ha all’attivo collaborazioni con i più affermati stilisti internazionali. Intitolata “NineEleven/New York 2001”, la “lacer/azione” di Roberto Alborghetti fa parte della serie “Vittime & Martiri / Le tracce del sangue”, dedicata al ricordo di chi è perito durante le pagine più buie e dolorose della storia umana.

Tela e sciarpa potranno essere ammirate dal pubblico a Londra, dal 14 al 16 ottobre prossimi, durante la “Parallax AF”, in programma a La Galleria / Royal Opera Arcade, nella centralissima Pall Mall. Roberto Alborghetti ha avuto infatti l’onore di essere selezionato dal curatore dell’evento, Chris Barlow, che l’ha espressamente invitato all’esposizione londinese durante la nota rassegna internazionale Frieze Art. La tela pittorica è stata realizzata grazie alla qualificata collaborazione di Marina di Puntolinea (grafica, prestampa, fotolito) di Gorle (Bergamo).

Link to YouTube Videoclip


Link immagine a Catalogo Parallax AF