Art Theorist / Terrorist



The contemporary performance - Video existences beyond the society of images

Historically, from the conceptual point of view, traditional performance artists like Jochen Gerz or Marina Abramović & Ulay have made us accustomed to the identification of this artistic activity with the overcoming, or indeed the reaching, of human limits.
The need to shock with something uncommon, to extend the limits of thought beyond the incomprehensible and to shake a conformism as much ummovable as desperately normalising, turned the actions gradually more extreme, until this became the final conceptual purpose.

Instead, from the practical point of view, since start the performance, even that of the dematerialised art of Allan Kaprow, needed to be recorded to survive and to persist in history, needed a support, either cine or photo and successively video: videoperformance was born and, thanks to the prospect of deferred screenings, it ended up in having no need for a physically present public any more. Then, with the coming of internet and on-line videos, the videoperformance would finally be enjoyed by an audience way wider than that of a physical location.

Albeit people often connect them one each other, videoperformance and videoart should not be confused: a performance mainly is the enacting of a premeditated play, just like at the theatre, even though sometimes improvised and susceptible of extemporary variations or for the spectators' intervention. The action done by the artist must be the preponderant element in the concerning video recording, not the collateral use of one's own image into a video artwork.

Today the performance in video has become a mass phenomenon: sharing a video on-line is at anyone's reach, so we are witnessing to the proliferation of shootings immortalising challenges, stunts, demonstrations of one's own talent, in the accepted meaning of performance as feat, or striking and valiant deeds.
In this multitude, the borderlines between the motivations of video-posting and of artistic performance are indistinct, to the point that only those performance artists who where ahead and acted before the coming of internet (or in some cases of television), could be considered the only milestones representing a movement exhausted by now, because it has fulfilled its purpose, of a concluded epoch, because assimilated by society; but, you know, artists soon or later change things, thus it is interesting to explore contemporary trends trying to understand where performing art is going to.

Today's video-posting faithfully reflects the identification of art with life preconised by the Fluxus of Allan Kaprow, and seems inspired to the longing for the overcoming of one's own limits faced by the most popular modern performers like Marina Abramović, confirming the massification occurred.

Currently, the traditional performance, the live one, survives just in few cases, ceding the floor to videoperformance, that offers the advantages of new technological means, but also for the suffering global economy, which sets limits and demands an ethical involvement either to the artists and to the public; from this point of view, videoperformance has shifted the objective in the overcoming of limits from the human sphere to the economic one.

The artistic performances aiming to astonish or to scandalise public opinion, by now does not raise much clamour any more, seeming quite mild and naive in front of the myriads of way more shocking videos shared by "anonymous" individuals, like the acrobatic follies of extreme parkour, several times ended up in the death "live" of the athlete, just like snuff-movies. The performances about pain, on the solicitation of human endurance, by now could be considered not up with the times any more: the reality, among overwork, body-modding, self-harm attitudes and BDSM, has overcome the timid fantasies of artists of the past. Although for a reason.

It is important to notice that on-line videos of art performances gain few visualisations respectively to those from "unknown" people searching for their own "fifteen minutes of celebrity", which instead get even millions. This is due to the fact that very often the artists are extremely sensible people, who have undertook a philosophic journey and who utilise the means for a different purpose than the mere self-affirmation, and to transmit a thought or metaphysical concept, to share their own conviction, and not a frivolous "monstrosity", a virtuosity record or one's own status; on the contrary, they are more often actors for the sake of everyone, supported by a Magrittean ability to annul one's own ego, thus resulting deeply disturbing to large part of the public accustomed to mainstream disculture, that promotes the satisfaction of egocentric hedonism and pride.

Today we are witnessing to the development of videoperformances getting back a distance from the sparkling extremism, searching for the minimalism in daily life, although always attentive to surrounding phenomenons, tending to be more respectful for the human being and more meticulous in formulating messages. Nearly in a conceptual folding up, the most actual videoperformances portray frail, sensible and insecure actors, who question themselves. But that nihilism is positive, it is a defence passivity guaranteeing continuity to the message, a tactic of resistance and perseverance worthy of Sun Tzu.

Ascertaining many similarities, we could assert that contemporary videoperformace represents the natural evolution of the thinking of Joseph Beuys, one of the most influential artists in this field.

Today's videoperformance's answer is quite like a mea culpa: the artists return to consider the limits of their own existence, the spiritual or metaphysical intimacy, addressing it to the collective conscience, not much to the physical or visual presence, which becomes just an aesthetic frill, although needed as an attraction. This inclination is aimed to stem a massificated movement that went astray, to correct the wrong interpretation that evidently the public gave to the historic performance, since the masses are still and always in the grip of materialism, thus they did not grasped the profound meaning of such performances wishing to break the mental schemes, not the practical ones, but that invariably have been adapted to the pragmatism of the consumerist era, to the point of becoming a commercial phenomenon.


Curatorial Art - The role of the art exhibitions curator

I take the chance of the umpteenth censure done by the Exibart site to write this short article, reporting what I entered as a comment to their article entitled "The end of the curator." ¹

That article, visible at (Italian), reports obsolescence cases of the art exhibitions curators' figure, and agreeably wishing for it.

But the curator is indeed another artist, he practices the art of curatorship, the Curatorial Art, which consists, or at least should consist, in communicating concepts or feelings using the artworks of the artists for whom an exhibition is curated. The curator artist express himself, as mush as the artist appropriating other's works, in particular way similarly to the collage or the objet trouvé.
A group exhibition conceived by a curator practically is a "conceptual collage;" thus the curator should be enclosed in the same list of the participating artists. From this perspective, also a solo exhibition, with just one artist and one curator doing his task, indeed should be always considered a double-solo exhibition.
However, since the main task of the curator is organisational, the curator's role is assimilable to the cinema director, for this reason he is listed apart conferring him more importance.
Yet, much often the curator deals with many other aspects of an exhibition: conception, image, logistics, public relations and press office, to the point that demeaning his importance is clearly unjustifiable.

Obviously I agree with the interchangeability of the roles, that is the curator may be surely substituted by an artist, as anybody with a bit of cognisance and intelligence can do the curator, as much as he can do the artist; but in the same way also a curator can be an artist, or as I assert, he is indeed.

But, let us investigate on this trend to abolish the curators making exhibitions organised by the artists themselves: actually that is motivated solely by the economic crisis; if we were living steadier times this and other even more specific figures would flourish, each engaged in dealing with one role in the complex and demanding task of organising an art exhibition.

Thus, if someone demeans the importance of curators, these instead may impose themselves more, getting on the same podium of the artists, because no personal inclination for artistic expression that can be sacrificed in the name of profit do exist: that would be like stating that only the successful artists have the right to exist.

Finally, the abolition of the curator, maybe supplanted by the as democratic as materialistic social network, is another aspect of that process wishing to relegate art and artists into the desolate role of wares before the sole presence of customers, isolating them into a totalitarian binomial artist-market, where one exists only as a function of the raised profit; a democratic and anonymous world of object-people depending on likes.

Note: ¹ It is incomprehensible what was so undesirable in my comment, but this is just one of the many that Exibart refused to publish. The site is known since ever for putting into practice an apparently whimsy censorship that have no justification but the will to support a precise and bossy policy, but so, why they do permit the opportunity to leave comments if then they can not accept conflicting opinions? Just know that in the past (even before their editorial staff participated to a mutiny en masse to then form, which however has inherited in some way their attitude) they have seen the sudden vanishing of the lively community that participated to their free theme forum, for being fed of the unmotivated and continuous censures.


A world of slaves - Which art toward freedom?

Apart some brave outcasts, and excluding residual tribal societies still uncontaminated by the modernity, human society is founded on slavery. The modern man is subjugated by a dependency to the system that makes him a slave. His metaphorical chain is money, problem and solution to the problem, alfa and omega of his existence, the one only god.

This may sound like the typical argumentation that Jehovah's Witnesses bring to favour their cause, but indeed that is the reality, we all know this, after all. Perhaps some people are unaware, or prefer to forget, but many recognise that is a fact, although we all do not know how to avoid this curse. The reason is simple: to escape from that, first of all we should agree jointly all together, otherwise if a minority of people quit the game, those would end in raising the number of brave outcasts, heroes, saints and martyrs; an arduous choice indeed, that is preferably delegated to the actual superhero or christ, but who can not definitely wipe the basic problem anyway, although they set an example of higher stoicism and wake consciences. For this reason, in a moment ruled by the Profit god, it is possible and necessary to work all together on divulgation, in spreading the though for the building of a free world.

I founded this site also with this vision: to use the reactionary, symbolic and evocative power of art to emancipate from slavery the human being, either the artist-maker or the onlooker-beneficiary, as also the name of the site originated from the word Freedom. Freeing the individual from the schemes that makes him a slave, at any level and of every social class, even who believes to be wealthy, but indeed even more slave of that system monopolising his life and brain, which now can think about nothing but profit.

The topics I propose in this site had always a peculiarity: they are directed from art toward the public, introducing critiques, examinations, interpretations, yet always something going from the makers to the beneficiaries; some kind of an imposition, or maybe euphemistically an advice or suggestion.
This time I want instead to be even more direct, editing an article that straightforwardly speaks to the public, the beneficiaries of Art.

The speculation and exploitation, characteristics needed by the world of profit that makes us slaves, have inevitably generated a bubble that has exploded since some time, leaving the so called economic crisis, that is to say they finally have unveiled the visceral lack of equity typical of this system of exploitation.

So, the world has get to know the real face of profit, that pulling off its mask changed its name in “financial crisis”, the miserable locution with which hypocritically define the social unfairness, or the extreme difference and separation between wealthy and needy people.

Surely, it is true that in times of crisis many needy people tend to loose interest on anything not strictly necessary or functional to own subsistence or survival, forgetting about art, culture, ethics and knowledge, considering them superficialities, preferring instead the pragmatism of a job, money and food, the same concerns that throughout history distressed the slaves, the class ruled by the over-powerful, the serfdom, those who work for food, which nowadays is called food voucher. In many cases they are even unconsciously searching for self-destruction, in alcohol, in drugs or in gambling, perhaps in the false hope to solve their problems, but surely searching an escape or an reason for their chagrin. Indeed, those do nothing but to strengthen their chains or cages imprisoning them: it is not a wage that makes you free, but knowledge.
But also the wealthy people do not feel better, because for the most part they are the ones who have took advantage of the parasitical social system exploiting the others, who have thus neglected their own ethics, crushing human dignity in exchange of money, just like you squeeze grapes to get wine, at the call of “mors tua vita mea” and under the squalid sign “arbeit macth frei”, nazi docet. Such kind of people do not have a real interest for the human being, thus neither for his expression, his culture, his art; at most they admire his artisan virtuosity in manufacturing luxury objects to be flaunted as status symbols. Those kind of people care just for themselves, for lust, thus linger right on the same vices of the miserable ones: gambling, drugs and prostitution.
This is not mankind, but a system dominated by intellectual impoverishment, by the lack of respect, where both the ruler and the submissive worship the same god: money.

The world facts that anyone can get everyday from news, push this epoch toward the ravine always more in a runaway manner, at the point to make me doubt that it is still possible to change this state of things by the means of the sole sensitivity and elegance of an evocative art, that could wake sleeping people and make them to think, or to make over-powerful people to get a conscience. I do not give up, but it is necessary something more; that is the reason why I am now straightly speaking directly to the public, not without a bit of reproach, to collectors in particular.

The artists, the true ones, are the ones who do not have much of the guilt, instead in large part they are among the oppressed and the outcasts of the system.

The true artists are there: martyrs of the system, who self-immolate risking their own destiny in the name of freedom. Through them the spark of self-determination survives, their works are crystals, jewels where the soul of mankind is preserved inside, like swallowed in the amber, where we can read everything that is not written elsewhere, neither in the latest trendy novel, movie or commercial product. The true artists are the ones who are really free from the logics of market, the troubled, the delusional and dreamer, the naÏf, the bearer of a sincere inadequacy to marketing. Their works represent the essence of their times and characterise the true immortal artist of any epoch, he who has participated with struggle and genuine engagement to the representation of the events, pioneering searching the way to improve the society.

But the times are ripe, soon or later the world will jolt suddenly, as always happens, archiving this critical epoch, historicising it into a prospectus that will make it comprehensible to everyone. But we must act so that the culprits will be exposed and the big speculators will not repeat again their lies with which they inflated the many bubbles, the art one first, shilling art-goods that was functional to their short-sighting market logics. The big slaves of profit, ministers of lust foisting ethical annihilation, shall not find an incompetent and naïve public anymore.

The audience have to know that many collectors have been enmeshed and mislead by this system of flogging merchants accompanied by artists who are only searching for money creating works made on the purpose of marketing, without a personal or genuine feeling from the soul. You can understand well that in the long term such system is not maintainable, because founded on the speculative exploitation: a depleted plot of land at last is being abandoned.

Right the disappointed collectors could reopen the eyes, and work hard with personal intuition in order to oppose and invert the trend, subverting, rather making to crumble the speculative system, the art system that deceived them, favouring a personal supportive patronage guided by own instinct in the search for those puzzle tiles that compose the true history of the mankind free from schemes, that are those artists who love art more than themselves.

Only this way the large puzzle of art history will be a portrait of the free man, not the slave man.


Death of a writer - Intellects stolen to freedom

I have come upon this old news dating back to 2010, but it is never too late to express one's own opinions if one feels the need; after all I already did that with artworks dating back to Renaissance and that emphasizes what I already stated in my analysis of Caravaggio's life.
Eron, a writer grew up on the street, who has with time merited appreciation and awards, obtained institutional engagements and participations in many important events, in 2010 he painted the ceiling of a church, not covertly, but under commission. He has been the first writer in the world to decorate a church, and as far as I know, luckily the last.

People are free to choose what to do, but this case has come to the betrayal, sadly denoting that, with time, almost always the success corrupts and mollify anyone, although Eron has never been one of the extremer writers.
The hip-hop movement, the graffitism, the street art and the urban culture, have always been folk expressions of dissent, strongly connoted by the denounce, often ironical or satirical, but undoubtedly against the injustices and the hegemonies of the power.
With all the empathy for the art that Eron have managed to express in the beginning, is it still the case to call himself a writer? It is not for chance that since then his artistic deeds have become very nostalgic.

We are assisting to many examples of flexure: excessively poetical or inconclusive writers, monkeying that kind of “abstentionist” contemporary art, that have no courage to say anything that is not politically correct, loving just technical virtuosismo and aestheticism, the practice of style.
Dear writers, awake, be strong and inflexible, today more than ever the power that relegates people to ghettos is corrupting also the minds, trying to put to sleep any form of dissent.

We can not justify saying that to decorate a church one can not propose inadequate topics, because the essential point is right that one should have not served his work to adorn a church, for even Vatican, today more than ever, is part of that political system of connivance with the strategies of power that are responsible for all the injustices and the evils against which the writers, at least some, have always fought for. Wouldn't have been better to denounce some scandal with a nice unauthorized graffiti?
This example from Eron seems right an episode that is functional to the interference, or the millennial intrusion, of the clerical power into Art, which is, and it must be, a free sentiment of the human expression, individual, not subjected to required adjustments of the contents (self-censorship) and to the allures of rewards from the commissioners.
Right since that year and in later times, this process of infiltration made by religion into the artistic dimension have regained new strength, either with the convocation to a convention for many influential artists by Benedict XVI, and with the very actual debut of Vatican Pavilion at the 55th Art Biennial of Venice (that we will review soon) guided by Cardinal Ravasi, who said: “we must rebuild the interrupted dialogue between art and faith”, obviously to bend this very powerful tool of persuasion, perhaps gone out of their control, to the wills of power.
The Church in the millennia has stolen the best artists from their free expression, being in power to bribe them with its immense treasures, making them famous and rewarding them with its gold, that it has used for this reason with a coercing method, instead of the sake to free people and the souls.
Spirit does not need a Church, which serves just the materialism of power.

But, let us analyse the artwork: Eron paints a very beautiful and photo-realistic sky, even though with some grey clouds heralding rain; just below he places on the eave an excellent trompe l'oeil representing a writer with cherub wings who is going to draw stylized golden doves flying up to reach their realistic representations that librate on the sky painted in the ceiling.
I do not know if our author consciously wished to express a precise concept with this mural or if he let himself to be carried away by his lyricism and his touch working in a religious place, but what I see in this artwork is the death of the writer, his renunciation to rebel to power: a writer, alone and grey, stands on a eave, typical tòpos of the suicide jumper, painting some doves, all along a symbol for the flight of the soul and of sacrifice, and hence of death. To me the message is more than clear: writers, you are in a dangerous position, stop dissenting and bow to the power.


Robot artists and artist robots - The swamp of technique

An Artist should be esteemed not for the technique, but firstly for what he communicates.

Technique is just a tool or an aesthetic ornamentation, and not the aim. That artist who makes of technique his only strength, declares to be an executor, an artisan, a labourer, a machine: he is a robot artist.
And it will soon come the moment for the artificial art, sorry for the etymological pun. Then, hordes of artist robots could supply stylistically artistic contents restlessly and of infinite varieties, even on demand, tailored and in short times. The robot artist will be replaced directly by the purchaser, that is the commissioner, while the artist robot will be the worker. Then, who will search for the robot artists, whom in comparison will be just clumsy and pricey emulators of the more perfect machines?

This robotic application may seem even redundant for it emulates what is already done by painters of flesh and bones, but we must consider the economical potentialities as the technology progresses, and above all, yet from the few experimental samples, we can glimpse and imagine new possibilities that a person may hardly reach, slowly at high costs.
An artist could also take advantage of an artist robot, but obviously what he will propose to the public will not be the technical artwork, but just the intellectual one, as it should be since ever with all those artists who commend the making of their ideas to specialized labourers, a custom that in my opinion is ethically unbecoming anyway.

To pursue the technique leads to become addicted to it, in the perennial chase for the surmount to avoid exclusion. Instead, Art is to think, to say and to act freely, being etymologically derived from the Arian root ar that means to go, to move, to act; the obsession for the technique is just a swamp that limits freedom.

Nowadays, with the support of technology, almost everybody can boast artistic attitudes,  believing amiss that to be able to technically execute  an artwork is the aim. But the intent that motivates to express oneself is missing, after all even animals can learn to draw.

A technical comparison with machines built by ourselves to surpass our possibilities is meaningless, other than to be a losing game. That is the case of the chess game, where the computers, programmed by humans, have definitively defeated the possibilities of human beings, who have recently renounced, cleverly, to duel again with them.
The difference between human mind and the computer is that the first is incline to error, used as a genial and creative spark. In the unfailing computer we could emulate even this characteristic, but it will always be a machine programmed to emulate, while the metaphysical mystery of human mind is the free will, at all costs. This is at last the aim: freedom, the being stands out because he is free, he is not a machine or a labourer. To worry about technique limits the possibilities to act and possibly it could make you obsolete.

It is better to care of own thought and to keep it free, to listen to own nature and to be possibly esteemed for that, either manifesting it through artistic actions or not.


Art as a store of value - Invest before the collapse

At the verges of a global crisis, which, in some ways, heterogeneously involves the several social classes, for everybody it is perhaps coming the point of no return, where we will wake up from a long dream (or nightmare) and we will found ourselves with money without any value, thanks to a people awareness made possible by the new media.
The rich leaders and the henchmen of the financial, institutional and governmental world, by now are enjoying a superior wealth thanks only to their higher autonomy granted by the speculative bubble that they have built, but soon or later the crisis created by them will fall upon them back in an apocalyptic way; for this reason some potentates tend to dissipate as more as possible their own monetary “opulences”, guzzling and dissipating as in the orgies before an imminent end of the world, because soon it will be no more possible, after the house of cards will have collapsed.

In the later years, and always more dramatically until today, in the world’s most famous auction houses, artworks are sold one after the other with amazing new record prices never reached before.
After the announcement of the new record for “No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)” by Mark Rothko sold by Sotheby’s for more than 75 millions of dollars, today Christie’s hits the record for the biggest sale of modern and contemporary art of all times, earning more than 412 millions of dollars, beating the as much amazing sale of the day before made by Sotheby’s for a total of 375 millions.
Six artworks sold for more than 20 millions each, and 55 artworks in 67 have all surpassed one million dollars.

As seen that the museums are mostly ailing and contemporary art is living the most difficult period since after-war, these millionaire buys can’t be motivated by the meagre economic returns given by the exhibitions of that artworks; let alone by the love for art from bored busybodies of economy who see it just as a source of investment.

The true reason for we are seeing this frenzy for buy even at enormous prices by who has that monetary capacities, it is simply to get rid as fast as possible of the money that indeed it is virtual (90% of circulating money is not covered by real values whatsoever), converting it in material goods, in a tangible value, this is to say, converting the ripe of the monetary speculation before that, being in the edge of a financial global collapse, it will become waste paper; and when for a financial institute it may be just usual conversion into a real value of money that is indeed false, for the common people it will be a matter of not losing all those small savings laboriously earned.

Many may know well my dissent against who sees in art only a market phenomenon, or trendy, or a way to make investments, but it is not possible to deny the absolute value that an artwork represents indeed: the human expression is a cultural value, all along the culture creates knowledge, salvation and skills, and the artwork is the tangible manifestation of it. All along the work of human intellect has represented something that can be even exhibited as a symbol of one’s own acquired cognition, be of a power as of a personal chord, as they were for example the recherché Livre d’Ore in the ancient times.

After the sub-prime mortgages crisis, even the big financial institutes are desperately searching for store values other than the “brick and mortar”, now fallen into the speculative bubble too, with which to convert their dangerously unstable money. The watchword is buy!, buy!, buy! Getting rid of money is right enough.
Also the small collectors should perceive these badly dissembled signals from who is driving the world of economy, and acquire artworks (or other goods) according to their capabilities, perhaps profiting the crisis to pre-empt artworks from new artists at reduced prices.

One could only risk to escape the economy collapse.


Who is the Art Critic?

What is the Art Critic's role? We all know that the Art world may be subdivided in two big subsets: the artists and the public. Thus we may say that the Critic belongs to the public, since he is a beholder. Hence, in its role of observer he is an individual who place himself over all the other observers, raising his voice to guide the other's opinion, to explain and to suggest them what they can't see.

In saying this, we can understand that indeed the Critic's role is not purely necessary; in fact often Art arises from the intimate need of the Artist to communicate directly to whom wants to listen, to they who adopt even temporarily the role of observers; and sometimes it arises also just from the need of the Artist to sublimate his own feelings not to necessarily transmit them to the others.
Nowadays, the critics have imposed the role thanks to their elocutionary skills most of the times rhetorical and adulatory because commissioned and paid, unto the creation of those contemporary think tanks that have managed to drive people in their artistic choices, placing themselves to a level of importance in many cases even overriding the artworks, in fact many artists recruit famous critics to impose themselves.
Really few critics dare to act their role of “active beholder” in a independent way, manifesting their judgement freely, either positive or negative, like recently the notorious Critic Gillo Dorfles has denounced, who has the authority to rebuke the others from the height of his 102 years and his ambivalent status of Critic and Artist.

After the artistic revolution of the Renaissance that saw the dawn of the modern Artist (who emancipated from the role of artisan subordinated to the will of the commissioners to that of a self-determined intellectual), today may we assist at the new revolution of the artists that are emancipating also from the hegemony of the critic?
Perhaps it is already so: the self-referentiality and the crypticism of many artists seem to confirm that; yet, the arduous comprehensibility of their artworks has given birth to throngs of critics that analyse them, but even this confirms that the critics belong to the beholders' sphere, bringing in fact the criticism to the same level of the comments and the opinions made by the public facing the true fulcrum over which all the art world is spinning: the Artwork.
This natural subdivision between artists and the public, where the Critic becomes again a peer of all the other beholders, is evident in the contemporary dissenting movement against the critic, for which many artists refuse the idea that their work may be introduced by mercenary critics, and even more often the same Artists attend to the autonomous production of the critical text of his own artworks, facilitating their reading and to emphasise his social commitment in the wish to communicate with the public.

As much as a Critic may have chords, merit certificates, academic qualifications or prestige, he will always be a beholder in the public, unless his own feeling and his disquisition at some point will show such a sincere and disinterested passion that the derived produce, the criticism, will become an artwork too.

The Critic may be seen indeed as a player of the art world who is located in a limbo between artists and public: only when his expression is animated by a sincere and disinterested movement of the soul, his criticism may rise to the status of creation, transporting him from the role of beholder in the public to the role of Artist; an Artist whose expression is conceptual and whose discipline is the literature.

The “true” Art Critic does not exist: he is a sublimating figure in the transition from beholder to Artist.

All the others are just pensionary rhetors.


The jester artist
Art is not entertainment


Saying that in this epoch we witness a loss of values, a spreading of superficiality, status symbols and impoverishing consumerism, may perhaps seem just rhetoric, senile dotard's nostalgia.
Indeed, the advance of the human society fluctuates continuously; since the beginnings man has always wandered between the two antithetical horizons: soul and body, reason and instinct, being and appearance, love and psyche.
If i am here to defend the being, the reason, is because i feel there is the need for it, before that Art, first and last chance of the human being, will be in a tight corner; it is necessary to correct the heading where we are going too fast, and to find again an equilibrium.

The jester artist

Figure present in human society since ever, the jester has a peculiar task of his own: the entertainment; the jester is therefore the archetype of all the professions related to that.
Traditionally, the profession of the jester is often poor (as in the case of the "street artists"), and sometimes rich (as in the case of illusionists like David Copperfield); it has been the profession of those people who, having no purely productive skills, or finding themselves in scurvy conditions, were venturing in doing the buffoon at the court of nobles trying to animate their evenings in the hope to obtain providential alms; or even in the public squares, sometimes exposing themselves to the cad's plebeian derision.
Being that jester a wealthy prestidigitator, or a famous singer, or a begging "street artist", the very heart of his role does not change: entertain the beholder for livelihood (now i do not ever consider the role of other jesters of the mainstream entertainment, who have also other purposes, not only the economic gain).

Contrarily to the jester, the Artist, as we know it since Renaissance up to now, decides to express himself. As i always uphold, it is necessary that the artists have an ethics of his own that is not built around the need of his own economic sustenance, to impose himself commercially; in other words, for this sake, they must not conform their own Art to the liking of the audience, to the market trends, to the art collecting, to the fashion or the customer's requests.

The work of Art must not become entertainment.

Today we are the witnesses of several attempts to make us to recognize as Art all the proliferating design materials born within the commercial entertainment, such as movies and video-games (not talking about the design of commercial goods: mere attempt to pass the compulsory impulse to consume as a cultural virtue); that is very dangerous.
It is necessary that everybody, artists and public, think about that. Art must be kept free from the mechanisms of that production that needs to please the public; that would be as to begin a discussion giving always the reason to  the interlocutor: thing absolutely useless, hypocritical and prejudicial; absolutely, that is not the purpose of Art.

Let us take for example a movie: it is a work made by a commercial company, but rare exceptions (which anyway almost never reach the theatres); it is a product having as first purpose to produce a profit, and to achieve it, almost as a rule, firstly it will have to please the audience (i pass over what would really want the audience and what would be indeed a conditioning). When a movie does not produce profit, as much as it wastes the initial investments, it is considered a flop, and it will be detrimental to the working career of who made it.
From this point of view, a colossal movie in the theatres or a "living statue" in the street are the same thing.
And that same thing is also the artwork of that Artist who, craving to self impose commercially, subdues his own creativity to the game of the entertainment, to the likes of the audience: a pandering.

Coming back to the commercial entertainment topic, the  materials of the products are often property of the multinational corporations that financed them: in many spheres, the artists taking part in the making of the product can not even be individuated, ending up anonymously in the cauldron of a special-effects house of productions; a little like it may be for the Milan Cathedral, of which the countless workers are conjoined in this colossal collegial work of religious promotion: comprehensibly, nobody says "i am looking to a work realized by the many: Michelino da Besozzo, il Cerano, Vincenzo Foppa, Leonardo da Vinci, Cristoforo de' Mottis, Simone d'Orsenigo, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, etcetera etcetera..." but they say "i am looking to the Milan Cathedral", maybe just recalling the archbishop who commissioned its construction.

Today the commercial entertainment has been put under trial by the crisis tasted by all the "westernized" world, or better the "system", in other words his market economy; and that has involved also Art, although above all that art subdued to the system, this is to say that has let the profit to win.

True Art will never die; perhaps artists may decline, but not the true Art, at least until there will be one person who appreciates it.
But, if in this epoch, all the art is living a phase of inertia, it is not only the global crisis to be blamed, but also because too many artists have really lost ethics, that of the true Artist who acts for passion.
It is useless if many try to simulate a lyrical torment fallen from the sky in order to entice the most intellectual customers: they may deceive one person now, but not everybody always; the Artist's status is reached only in the deep of one's own personality, with sincerity to oneself.
The beholder who in his deep sincerely loves Art, or in other words putting aside the crave for possession or investment, is an emotional and smart person, as mush as how may or should be the Artist; that person can love and hate the expression of the human intellect; thanks to the sensibility spirit he can easily recognize the falseness. The pandering game of the market and the insincerity of a complaisant art are being unmasked, and after several decades of this prostitution game, love perishes, one realizes he has been deceived, and the true love has been betrayed. The disappointment takes over, then the dislike.

"ideoque philosophi sunt quodammodo pictores atque poetae, poetae pictores et philosophi, pictores philosophi et poetae, mutuoque veri poetae, veri pictores et veri philosophi se diligunt et admirantur;" - Iordanus Brunus Nolanus
"and therefore philosophers are in some way both painters and poets, poets are painters and philosophers, painters are philosophers and poets, thus the true poets, the true painters and the true philosophers esteem and admire one each other;" - Giordano Bruno

Now, the artists, to regain trust, must prove to be real, sincere persons.

Nevertheless, obviously, there will always be a market that continues to scream the price for an authorial falseness. Anyway, sincerity will be useful for everybody, at least to separate the wheat from the darnel (after all, there is always who loves the latter).

Then, the very risk is that in this epoch we are witness of a slow accustoming to the idea that Art is just an entertainment phenomenon (both mass or niche) as an alternative to an evening at the cinema, or a rainy Sunday at the mall: pay the ticket hoping in an adequate fun. One may notice how many museums of institutional grade, sometimes prefer to resort to the exhibition of the most extravagant artists: with all the respect for the personal expressions of these artists, that is due to the need to let Art become a phenomenon for circus booths, an exhibition of absurdities, a gallery of horrors, with the purpose to raise the curiosity of the big masses indifferent to Art, and then to make cash with more tickets.
In the vicious mechanism of "supply and demand", common to market and entertainment, even the artists are pushed to opportunistically dare an insincere eccentricity, in order to be considered by the trend of the mainstream entertainment.

Besides the sincerity of the artists, also the education of the public will do the difference.

At last, i would emphasize that, considering Art as a form of communication, it does not exist an absolute opposition between artists and non-artists, actors and public, chosen ones and profane ones; acts do exist, persons do exist, who create artworks that are made for other persons.
The work of Art is a debate, between who in that moment takes the role of Artist and the others who in that moment look at him; in fact, who often likes to have the role of Artist, in the rest of the time loves to be also a beholder.

Everybody can express hiss own thought becoming Artist, touching those strings that only Art can make to  vibrate. Not necessarily with painting only, but with any mean.

"If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." - Edward Hopper

There's the need to understand one thing: as a confirmation for the fact that Art is communication, an Artist, as presumptuous as he may appear, is often searching for a debate with the public, maybe calling attention or provoking a conflict. Fundamentally, the Artist "speaks" because he wants to discuss with the society, he wants to open a conversation.
The jester artist, instead, wants to open your wallet.


The deception of the Art
Understanding the perception of reality

Many people know that famous anecdote about the fourteenth-century painter Giotto, who one day, still a student at the bottega, painted a fly on the nose of a figure frescoed by the teacher Cimabue; the fly was so much well painted that the teacher acknowledged the trick only after having tried to send it away with the hand several times.
Cimabue fell in the deception of his student, and for this he considered him an already skilled artist superior to himself.
This anecdote is perhaps the most classical example that remembers us that the Art manifests itself as deception, and that the artist is the one who realize this deception to the best.

To say the truth, the Artist is just an accomplice of this deception, because the deceiver is in primis the image in itself: the image is deception, it is a virtual, partial, relativistic and interpretative representation.
In fact, with the word artifice we also intend a mystification.

Anyway, as we will see, the deception given by the Art offers a positive opportunity in favour of the observer.

In the history of the Art, the deception has been a constant presence and there are examples even in the frescos of ancient Greece.

In the same epoch, the philosopher Plato was posing the question about the deception given by the image, and of how the sensorial perception can deceive our sense of the reality.
In his "myth of the cave" he hypothesizes the condition of a person confined since the birth in the bottom of a dark cave, and chained in such a way that he can see only a wall of the cave in which his jailers, hidden behind a wall, are projecting the weak shadows of shapes, animating them in front of a fire.
This person, having never seen the world outside, would believe that the reality is made of those shapes and the resounding echoes. This person, if brought out of the cave by that time in advanced age, he would have an unbearable trauma in denying his "reality", and in front of the opportunity to opt for a world of blinding light he probably would prefer to return to his "normal" condition of segregation.

The myth of the cave let us to understand that man is naturally given to the belief in his sensorial perception. Plato, as the artists, cares to warn the people from this deception.

The deception in the visual arts was called with the term Trompe-l'œil (deceiving the eye) only starting from the Baroque period, epoch that saw the triumph of this kind of paintings and frescoes, which were the fruit of the studies about perspective divulged starting from the Renaissance. The Trompe-l'œil had various intents: to make rooms to seem wider or to simulate openings on the ceiling toward the sky thanks to false sights; to enrich the architectures with decorations cheaper than the sculptural ones, like false friezes, columns, statues and windows (technique used still nowadays that takes the name of quadraturism); or as jokes of giottesque kind; and obviously as simple demonstrations of one's own pictorial virtues.

Today the pictorial art of deceiving the eye is a little old-fashioned, because the advent of the photography (and then of the three-dimensional graphics) has vanished the last goal of the hyper-realistic painting, relegating it in the purest technical virtuosity.

In a period that has seen to grow the interest for the photography, the famous surrealist painter René Magritte, remembers us the teaching of Plato, that the image is a deception. Magritte, and all the Surrealism, founds his Art upon this concept of mendacity of the image; a concept expressed in a direct and emblematic way by his most famous painting "La trahison des images" (The betrayal of the images), which brings the attention of the beholders on the fact that the represented one on the canvas is not a pipe (but it is the image of a pipe).

Again, about the middle of the XX century, another artistic movement was devoted in a more specific way to the visual deception: it was the Op Art or Optical Art, which uses true optic illusions to put the observer in front of the dimensional paradoxes.
Again the Art puts us in front of the deception of our senses, but above all of how even the brain is fallacious.

Anyway the Art and the artists, as Plato too, care about making the beholder conscious of this deception; and to do this it uses the same deception. It is not therefore fate if today the contemporary Art does it not only visually, but also conceptually, using that "intellectual spurs" proper of the philosophers.

In the modern Art this will to unmask the deception of the image is present more and more, just like it was almost a self-criticism, a denounce of its own capability to deceive.
This happens in all the artistic disciplines, for example in the sculptures of people that seem true, created by artists like Duane Hanson, before, and then Ron Mueck: in a technological evolution started with the wax statues, these artists realize human figures of fibres or polymers of the extraordinary realism, even being subjects that are evidently false and surreal.

These sculptures do not have just the purpose to deceive the observer to the end, because they represent situations often impossible or in a lower or higher scale than normal, even though visually realistic. These artworks want to vivify intangible ideas, philosophical and metaphysical intuitions, materially putting them in front of us. In this kind of artworks it is evident the will to make the deception of the Art an opportunity of cognitive elevation, of perceptive emancipation. Vivifying the unreality, the beholder, unaware or forgetful of the deception, comes to understand the narrowness of his perception of the reality.

Also the Swiss duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss realizes absolutely realistic sculptures of common objects and whole furnitures reproduced in polymeric fibres and manually painted, in order to then compose them in installations that seem real messy and dirty places: they are sculptural Trompe-l'œil. But in this case, differently from Hanson and Mueck, and apart the conceptual and social values of the proposed subjects, the will to deceive the observer is total: the deception is revealed only by the knowledge to be in front of reproductions, or by the artwork labels.

Also Thomas Demand is another contemporary artist who works with the perceptive deception: his artworks consist in photographs of rooms that seem absolutely real, but that indeed they are photos of models realized with common cardboard. In this case the perceptive deception has two stages: the material reproduction and the photographic one. Also those painters that portray from photographs subject the reality to two different stages of reproduction.

Also the photography and the cinema are arts of the illusion and of the deception. Many believe that the photography is absolutely a truthful medium, that represents the reality as how it is, as much as to be used as incontestable proofs in a trial.
But the photographic realism and the cinema Neorealism do not exist: the cinematographic or photographic device is always a method to do samplings, to mediate the reality, moreover it is used by a human being that has an own vision of the reality, and therefore he will make choices even unwilling.
The most serious lack of these media consists in omitting the totality of the reality, because they are finite windows, they are partial visions, both in time and in space, from which an image of the reality filtrates: the image which is deception.
An evident example of mystifying photograph is the famous case of "Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville" by Robert Doisneau, of which i have already talked in this file-card of the Collection.

The important thing is not much if the artwork represents or not the reality of things, but it is the message that brings, even thanks to the deception: the image must be considered for what it communicates, but not pretending that it have a bond with the reality.

In the cinema, which is perhaps the most deceptive of the arts, it is again exposed the classical myth of the cave. Films like "The Matrix" by the Watchowski brothers do not do nothing more than to bring back again the fundamental idea of Plato, modernizing it with situations more suitable to the modern era. In "The Matrix" as in other films of the kind, like "The Truman Show", he who is "took out of the cave" sees the ruin of his own world of imagination which is surely more inviting, perfect and pleasant than the crude reality, and like in the myth he could prefer the cave.

From "The Matrix" it is an instant to reach the latest frontier of the deception: the Virtual Reality, that however today represents that territory in which the Art loses the ability to warn of the deception of the image, being that the special dominion of the serpentine will, fortunately of scarce success, to propose the deception as alternative reality, often to redeem an oppressive real life.
This way, in the Virtual Reality are rising more and more sparkling and inviting worlds, communities of souls that choose their own platonic cave.

Also in the Nature the perceptive and sensorial deception is in use, but in this case we are speaking about mimesis aimed to the survival: the creatures defend themselves with mimicry and camouflage, both to escape the sight of the predator, and to look menacing to frighten it.

By the social point of view, the deception given by the perceptive fallacy is an aspect of our psyche that is academically studied and exploited for commercial purpose: from the advertising, to the subliminal messages, to the multi-sensorial stimulation that instils associations between consumer products and instincts.
Wanting to complete this panoramic view on the mystifying capability of the Art, also the beautician make-up is an example of social practice finalized to deceive the other, improving the look of a person, that is to say creating an artifice, an altered perception of the reality.

Revelation of the artistic deception

The image is deception; we may say: appearances are deceiving.

The Art is fiction, artifice, deception. But this deception is done for beneficent, humanitarian purpose: the deception of the Art is revealing by manifesting itself as what it is, therefore it becomes a warning that reveals the mystification.
The Art serves for this: to go beyond, to break the limits of the Virtual Realities, to shed a light in the cave making it visible to the people that sometimes find themselves imprisoned in it without their knowledge.

Since ever, the function of the Art is the one to go beyond and to bring back; it is the ability to see beyond the limits of our mystifying perception and to know how to prophetically communicate to whom is still trapped within that limits. As the primitive men made, telling to the others what they had seen in the grasslands, drawing it on the walls of the cave.


Art per metre
(base in mm. + height in mm.) * coefficient

Nowadays in the art market the gallerists and the artists comply to this formula with which they determine the selling price of the artworks: the sum of base and height expressed in millimetres (or in centimetres adding a zero) is multiplied by the actual coefficient of the Artist, which expresses the value of that Artist.
That coefficient will grow in time as that Artist will make its way, and it may start with a fraction of one for the beginners, till to arrive to values of many tens for the biggest artists and the masters of the past.

But, does it have a meaning the method of evaluating the price of a work of Art depending on its sizes? Does it have a logic for correctness in defining prices, or is it a commercial ethic?
Or that is a blind computation based on the official quotation of the Artist, whatever it does, not taking under consideration other elements, such as: the peculiar beauty of a work in respect to another, the preciosity of the materials, the expression intensity, and the relative value that it can have for a certain buyer or the Artist itself; in this latter case is not it more logic the mechanism of the auctions where the best offerer wins?

In my opinion, in many cases the quotation per metre may influence the work of an Artist, because it may be constrained, at least for the lowest amounts, to the production of artworks that may fit into the expenses and the necessary engagement; yet, also pushing it to create following a production standard, this is to say, a seriality that may come to the repetition and the loss of imagination. It is not a coincidence that we can see a surplus of artworks that are more similar to a commercial mass product than a product of the genius that stands for its uniqueness.

Entitling this article "art per metre" does not mean that selling per metre is devaluing, but it is referred to the method per sé that takes under consideration only the Artist's person. In my opinion it is possible to find another way to value an artwork other than the Artists' signature.

I do not want to disbelieve that may there be who, painting in an invariable way, may standardize its own price with a coefficient per metre; but, the point is that for somebody it may confine them into the standardization of even the expression method, and the technique.

Besides, even to quantify the quality of an intellectual contribution in an artwork is a non measurable matter, since it is subjective; for this reason it would seem more logic the method of an auction sale.

Moreover, we must consider also that somebody may desire to create large or huge sized works in order to earn much with a minimum effort.

Another topic is the realization of a sculpture: its production cost is a preponderant factor, at least for the sculptures of large sizes that often require the work of more professionals. In fact, often these works are commissioned before the realization with a cost estimation enquire. Indeed the matter of sizes * coefficient applies to bidimensional arts.
But, if we would apply the method to sculpture, maybe talking of art per weight, we could make an example with ham: cured ham so much per weight and salami so much per weight; hence marble so much per weight and bronze so much per weight.
If we talk about materials there is nothing to except: the Artist charges the client for the material that constitutes the artwork, just as the car repairer charges you for the spare part. In the case of artists with very high quotations, the cost for materials represents anyway just a minimal part of an artwork's price.
Then, we could ask ourselves how much to value the other factors: contents, liking, subjective beauty, transmission of concepts or intellectual affinity; I do not consider the time and the commitment spent in the realization of an artwork, because in my opinion the ratio between time and commitment spent is proportional to the genius of the Artist: there is who in a short time makes an excellent artwork without efforts, and who spends much time and efforts for mediocre achievements; shortly: only the result is important.

Surely the Artist may take on the responsibility to be more or less marketable, choosing higher or modest quotations and determining the prices at will, but, in a market system that contemplates the use of the method sizes * coefficient, a gallerist does not even consider other possibilities, rejecting the Artist too pricey or not much fruitful, that is not generating profit.

And going beyond: if the coefficient with which the price of an artwork is determined would determine also some parameters artistic-expressive such as creativity, poetics and concepts, then who can arrogate the right to decide for the buyers what is the size of their appreciation, of their likes? And here it is: we arrive to the salient point: nobody may decide how much could be worth an artwork and there is no mathematical method to pre-establish its price, which is revealed only with the issue from the negotiation between who is giving the artwork and who in buying it.


The Artist with capital letter
An eminent individual

You may have noticed that I am used to write Artist with the initial capital letter; this may seem excessively presumptuous, but it does not deal with the attribution of whatsoever supreme aura to a person.

Sure that it is quite sumptuous to read "the Artist" instead of "the artist", and I cannot conceal that the capital letter is also refined, but above all it is useful to underline the role of that individual that believe to be or is defined an Artist; in the society this role is in my opinion very important.

This is a matter of equality with the other figures of the culture's world, of the social roles and duties.
If it is true that one cares to write Engineer, Manager, Professor, Doctor, Teacher and Bishop, I don't understand why one could not use the capital letter for an Artist.
Among the artists, hierarchies do not exist: any artist can be an Artist.

The modern artist, the one born with the Renaissance, has assumed an active role in the intellectual evolution of the society bringing his own personal contribution, contrarily to what previously happened, for which the artist was considered just an artisan, an executive worker.

So, are the artists perhaps social figures less important than a Manager or an Engineer? I would really say not.
Or the difference perhaps is in the fact of having obtained or not academic degrees? No, the artistic activity surely cannot drown in the swamp of this classism for bureaucrats: the Artist, at least the one that I consider worthy to have the capital letter, is a person who makes a research, either metaphysical and spiritual or practical and materialist, and brings it to the society.

The Artist has a very important role; it could seem that only the politicians, the religious people, the scientists and the soldiers are changing the world, but it is also true that often just one artwork of an Artist can change the way of thinking of even millions of people: just think about the singers, the directors, the writers.

The Artist is one of the many individuals searching for an active and eminent role in the evolution of the human society. Hence it deserves to be considered as it is due. At least for the courage to have chosen a way not always easier than others.

Anyway, at last do not forget that, as a Professor or a Cardinal, also the Artist would not exist without the estimable Public (with capital letter).


The inheritance of Futurism
From the apex one can descend or fly away

The Futurism, what it was, a movement looking into the progress, with no respect for the stillness, hymning to the frenzy of the creation, of the conquering of new peaks.

In 2004 Osvaldo Peruzzi died; he is considered the last Futurist. The last? It seems that this movement is by now dead, however it is founded on a fundamental concept which is valid in any epoch: the progress, not wanting to necessarily define it a positive thing. How the Futurism has evolved? Where it has gone? In what it has transformed to?

The GAMeC of Bergamo (Italy) in this period proposes a big exhibition entitled "The future of the Futurism", placing the Masters of that movement side by side to contemporary artists, somehow looking for connections.

However my opinion is that we live in an epoch of afterthought; generally the Art potentially shows an introspective personality, of existential contemplation, of pondering.

The reason for this hesitation of the artistic expression is because the contemporary western society is already living an epoch founded on this Futurism.
Firstly we have to imagine the epoch that preceded the Futurism, before the XX century, and also antecedently, before the industrial revolution: the individual rhythms seemed to flow slowly, the people had a relaxed behaviour and the pondering of the concepts was a custom; in this context the Futurism rose, like a wish to accelerate, to shift the statics humankind, even in the danger to provoke its collapse.

Here it is, the Futurism has shifted the society, or at least it has been witness of its dangerous agitations. The contemporary society was born therefore exactly from those disquietudes, and in fact it has assimilated the Futurism, used as a fundamental part of its own culture.
The contemporary western society is Futurism: techno-music, high speed, we all live with a chronometer on the wrist, prey of the anxiety to lose the opportunities, we all produce without control, we all accelerate in every field with scorn of the danger, we all act careless of the consequences, we all have no time. Having an aid also from the affirmations of ancient memento mori, the modernity has pushed us to move anywhere without rest.

Here it is, in this context proposing the Futurism does not make sense any more, because the Futurism is already the soul of the society. The Futurist mind has been already awarded by the economic and social structure, it has already known the glory.

And after having seen the apex of Futurism, for its sons perhaps now it is already time for a Pastism.


Indolent world
How many beholders look beyond the appearance?

Let us admit it: it seems that the public at an Art gallery never linger to deepen the contents of the artworks. But Art is there also for that purpose; or maybe today we are in an epoch in which only the appearance counts and the value of an artwork is just the economic investment or as house decor?

Why people do not linger, do not deepen? Art, the one that in my opinion is worthy of the capital letter, has also the mission to show us new horizons, to make us to think and to intellectually interact.
Sure, It is not the only purpose, but in my opinion it is one of the most important.

The sign of the modern times? People do not have time, they do feel to have no time: they feel forced to frantically race, to pursue something unattainable, perpetually and without rest. "Who stops is lost" or "time is money" will be the epitaphs that will be written on the tombstone of this epoch?

Now I recall that vision of the Hell in the Divina Comedia by Dante Alighieri in which the cowardly people, for punishment, eternally run after a rag as ensign.
The torture reserved by Dante to the cowards is to pursue a "useless ideal", represented by a ragged and worn-out flag.

I do not want to say that today's people suffer from sloth, indeed the contrary; because they have to live the same situation of those damned in the Divine Comedy, but they suffer the torture in the earthly life without having ever been a sinner.

In fact the reason why the public do not linger in front of a work is not the laziness, indeed: it deals with a frenzy for something intangible, unknown.
Obviously to search for a purpose, to have a goal, is legitimate and necessary; however the frenzy to lose the possibility to find something better, does not allow to stand for a while and better evaluate all the possibilities.

Morally I do not think that people can be accused of sloth, because, in case, they are the victims of this frenzy. A slothful person is one who snuggles in his own laziness; we could define him an indifferent, a superficial. Indeed I think that this condition of the contemporary man is induced by the great diffusion of interested opinions of the economy.
Simply speaking we could say that many people do not know which way to turn, they are at the mercy of a total confusion.

In front of an artwork these people do not linger because confused and searching for something that they could easily recognize and give them a minimum of certainty, or an artwork that is direct, easily understandable.
Evidently their mind is overloaded and it answers only to what matches to the most tenacious engrams (the mnemonic memories unconsciously or compulsorily stored); it answers only to what is not overloading any further.

This is just an analysis, not a conclusion.


Who wants to be a Videoartist?
Considerations on the concept of Videoart

Nam June Paik, Bill Viola and Matthew Barney are pre-eminently the names that every Videoart lover would mention without hesitation.

But what is the Videoart? Looking at what is proposed today, one would say that it is everything that deals with the moving pictures and Art.

Personally i believe that there is confusion, or at least that the term is misused to define any cinematic artwork.

The Videoart was born only four decades ago, yet today it has been already distorted, and many expressive techniques joined in it.
The Videoart was born with the appearance of the first television systems and the relative methods of video-recording.
Nam June Paik can be considered the father of Videoart; he has defined the two ways with which an artwork of Videoart can be enjoyed.

The first way is the simple and direct one for which the artwork is transmitted by a television screen; for example as in the video of Zbigniew 'Zbig' Rybczynski.

The second way is the one that expects the use of the television screen itself as a part that constitutes the artwork; in this case we are talking of Videoart installations. This is the way that characterizes the artworks by Nam June Paik.

In both cases the Videoart expects that the artwork is based on the use or the presence of video and television technologies.

We could mention for example also the commercial videoclips by Chris Cunningham, known for his collaboration with Aphex Twin. Many of his Cyberpunk style videos are artworks of Videoart in every aspect, because the video is at the base of their realization, of the fruition and sometimes also of the subject.

If we accept these parameters on which the Videoart has been founded, we realize that some artworks, today considered Videoart, indeed do not suit to this definition.

In fact today the Videoart seems to have become the cauldron where to include all the cinematographic artworks that still do not have a proper category, a proper definition.

Let us take for example the cycle "Cremaster" by Matthew Barney: where the video element is present? The video is absolutely not determinant: the artwork is too close to the cinematographic productions, and if it were a film or a theatrical representation it would not change much. In my opinion the series "Cremaster" needs a different definition; they are artistic films, experimental cinema or something that has not been defined yet.
 Moreover "Cremaster" introduces all those characteristics typical of the cinematographic Art, that is to say they are artworks realized thanks to an establishment of different artistic disciplines, with the collaboration of different artists: scenography, lights, make-up, costumes, dance, et cetera.

If artworks like "Cremaster" can be defined Videoart, then it is Videoart the whole cinematography, including the films with super-heroes, sentimental dramas and comedies.

Do not misunderstand me: Matthew Barney is an Artist and i am not comparing him to that merely commercial films.
I am saying that the Videoart and the experimental cinema are different things; and a film with some intellectual contents, not easily comprehensible or with an eccentric aesthetics, is not necessarily Videoart. With Cremaster we estrange too much from the definition of Videoart, landing to an "artist's cinematography", as for example the one by David Lynch.

Cinematography, Videoart or what other? If we made to join all the animation visual arts in one only category, this would be too much generic. In the other hand definitions are used to define finite ensembles of things.


Robot artists and artist robots
The swamp of technique

An Artist should be esteemed not for the technique, but firstly for what he communicates.

Technique is just a tool or an aesthetic ornamentation, and not the aim. That artist who makes of technique his only strength, declares to be an executor, an artisan, a labourer, a machine: he is a robot artist.
And it will soon come the moment for the artificial art, sorry for the etymological pun. Then, hordes of artist robots could supply stylistically artistic contents restlessly and of infinite varieties, even on demand, tailored and in short times. The robot artist will be replaced directly by the purchaser, that is the commissioner, while the artist robot will be the worker. Then, who will search for the robot artists, whom in comparison will be just clumsy and pricey emulators of the more perfect machines?

Look at the early prodigies of this painter robot called e-David:

This robotic application may seem even redundant for it emulates what is already done by painters of flesh and bones, but we must consider the economical potentialities as the technology progresses, and above all, yet from the few experimental samples, we can glimpse and imagine new possibilities that a person may hardly reach, slowly at high costs.
An artist could also take advantage of an artist robot, but obviously what he will propose to the public will not be the technical artwork, but just the intellectual one, as it should be since ever with all those artists who commend the making of their ideas to specialized labourers, a custom that in my opinion is ethically unbecoming anyway.

To pursue the technique leads to become addicted to it, in the perennial chase for the surmount to avoid exclusion. Instead, Art is to think, to say and to act freely, being etymologically derived from the Arian root ar that means to go, to move, to act; the obsession for the technique is just a swamp that limits freedom.

Nowadays, with the support of technology, almost everybody can boast artistic attitudes,  believing amiss that to be able to technically execute  an artwork is the aim. But the intent that motivates to express oneself is missing, after all even animals can learn to draw:

A technical comparison with machines built by ourselves to surpass our possibilities is meaningless, other than to be a losing game. That is the case of the chess game, where the computers, programmed by humans, have definitively defeated the possibilities of human beings, who have recently renounced, cleverly, to duel again with them.
The difference between human mind and the computer is that the first is incline to error, used as a genial and creative spark. In the unfailing computer we could emulate even this characteristic, but it will always be a machine programmed to emulate, while the metaphysical mystery of human mind is the free will, at all costs. This is at last the aim: freedom, the being stands out because he is free, he is not a machine or a labourer. To worry about technique limits the possibilities to act and possibly it could make you obsolete.

It is better to care of own thought and to keep it free, to listen to own nature and to be possibly esteemed for that, either manifesting it through artistic actions or not.

Critical texts

VITA TUA, VITA MEA - Art and Interrelations

“I was brought up feeling that art is a very important part of one’s life. It’s something that I not only enjoy, it’s something I can share with others.” - David Rockefeller


I wanted to introduce the exhibition with a quote from a personality recently passed away who in some aspects may be controversial or hated by many: the eminent magnate and remarkable art collector David Rockefeller; for two reasons: the first one is because an artist, when he creates a work of art, he could never decide who can love it and who can not, in which collection it will end up one day: the artist with his artwork does an unconditional act of altruism.
The second reason, regardless of the merits or the demerits that one may have to live in this world, is that a thought, a phrase, a statement, is something absolute, it is a meaning that must be read for what it reads per se, and maybe it represents the most profound ideal, the true dream of who is expressing it.


With the title “Viva Arte Viva” (viva means either alive or hurray) the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia.launches once again a message of optimism, or more sceptically of illusion, secluding art into a no man’s land, an enclave where to set it free from the responsibilities and the troubles of reality.
Let us welcome with pleasure this optimism, but with a grain of salt, since the Biennale still seems wanting to ignore the contemporary social context. It is not possible to alienate from the international socio-political and economic situation: the unrest of entire countries perpetrated with wars or rigged monetary crises do not hit the headlines more than the umpteenth summer gossip scandal, incommensurable disparities between super-rich and oppressed people, constant erosion of human rights and freedom both in new capitalism and in the regimes of developing countries, dictatorship of this as an alternative to the dictatorship of that. It is unacceptable that the art world sticks its head in the sand, isolating itself in a sugar-coated elitism, into a soap bubble, just to offer tourists an amusing festival; that is not the purpose of art, it is not the carefree diversion: art served since ever to reflect on reality, in order to imagine another one.

VITA TUA, VITA MEA is an antithesis of the famous Latin motto “mors tua, vita mea” (your death is my life), precursor of the opportunistic and egocentric model where the modern socio-economic world has been founded on, in order to propose instead a model of personal wellness as a consequence of the wellness of the society, which is a textile of relations: if you stress them beyond measure, the textile tears, causing epochal crises like the ones we are witnessing.

Art and interrelations

As Giordano Bruno wrote in his Triginta sigillorum explicatio, poets, painters and philosophers love and admire one each other: a feeling of empathy between artists and thinkers in general do exist, a form of superior respect that crosses the barriers of diversity, regardless of the individual ideological needs, because it comes from people so liberal that they can comprehend even the illiberal.
The arts, the expressions of the human action, are often subdivided into specialisations, into technical disciplines, sometimes exclusive because they require much practise to be mastered, but among them obviously there is a unique longing, an interrelation grouping the artists: freedom. On the other side, the interdisciplinary artists, since Leonardo to this day always more in larger numbers, can be considered also interrelational artists because they oppose and demolish the specialisation, that instrument with which the economic system subjugates people since ever, depriving them of the widest free will, of one’s own pleasure, turning them into mechanisms, or the gears that move the deus ex machina of profit.

From another point of view, contemporary art, considered by many an aesthetic practise often self-referential and without a practical usefulness, is indeed the interrelational glue of society, because the artist creates relations between aesthetics and applied technique making his own works starting from the metaphysical dimension to explicate it with symbolistic interpretations, just like when one prefers to render a picture of a thought rather than to explicate it. For example, trends are behavioural proposals directed to the society through visual or aesthetic memes.
Lastly, as I always assert, in first stance art is message, is always relational in itself; even going back to the most archaic form of artistic expression, the portrait, we realise how much art is fundamentally relational.

Moreover today, with telecommunications, the interrelations have become the most significant phenomenon of contemporary society, albeit the exponential increase of connections has nothing to do with communication, because it is limited to the mere gossip of memes foisted by centres of economic power or to the abuse of self-referentialism. There is a need for artists proposing a smarter use of the available technologies: some tried to do the same with television, but notwithstanding that it has now irremediably become a domestic electrical appliance like a washing machine, that washes and do the spin cycle on brains.

Even if descendant or mimicking the Fluxus of John Cage and George Maciunas, in the contemporary epoch a relational art is taking shape, as you can imagine it reading Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud, to which we may ascribe in a heterogeneous way artists like Rirkrit Tiravanija, Philippe Parreno, Cesare Pietroiusti or Scott Snibbe. Relational is one of the latest adjectives that are always more used in the artistic field; in fact it is just the mirror of this historic period where the global mass connection is predominant. Merging with the flow of performance, a discipline attracting more and more artists, and thanks to the close consideration for the centrality of the human being, probably relational art is destined to become one of the biggest forms of expression in the times to come, promoting that evolutional process of the human expression toward a meta-verbal communication form, expressionist if you like.

The centrality of human relations go beyond the mono-directionality of the work of art, crossing the barrier between the artist and the public, searching the interrelation, that is the interaction between the actor and the audience, getting spectators involved and making them participating sometimes physically, but in first stance emotionally, up to become co-authors of the artwork.
Sometimes contemporary art has forgotten the necessary involvement of the observer, becoming something incomprehensible and detached, in a dichotomy between sacred and profane. It is better to remember that interpersonal relations can be the most critical aspect in the life of an artist, in better or worse, besides the fact that the most intense art often springs from a feeling for a person or a category of persons, for the affections and the passions, or the pain.

The recent case of Salvador Dalì, whose remains risk to be exhumed for a possible bloodline test, reminds us that sometimes human relations can move things that not even an artist could ever imagine.


ELATE MEMORIES - Collective art exhibition


Elate Memories continues the thematic subject started with the previous exhibition Future and Behind where the certainty and the values of our past were set against the instability of a crumbling modern society characterised by the uncertainty due to the feebleness’ prospects of the future.

This time we want to investigate the role that memory and remembrances have in being happy. Elate memories is an exhortation to search serenity within ourselves, in our experience and knowledge: cheer up, exult for the memories.

Amusement, joy, optimism and exultation are often connected to light heartedness, holidays, diversion in the search for newness, but equally we can find these mood feelings in the cultural heritage, in the traditions. The ephemeral present becomes immortal in the memento.

Our present condition is the result of our past, of all our life, of the best choices we could ever have made. To be here and now is by itself indeed the outcome of a past full of successes.

Mass memories

We live in the selfie epoch, commonly recognised as voluptuary expression of the most superficial and individualist carefreeness, made possible by the pervasive availability of mobile phones of thousand uses, real prosthesis of the being, vanguard of the transhumanism.
They are called smartphones, intelligent telephones; well, it seems that they have replaced this brain’s function in some people, even making them to appear more capable, while indeed they are addicted to the bionic symbiosis, especially in the ability to remember, by now largely delegated to the near-infallibility of the silicon memories; but, how many people lost their memories along with their own tablet, maybe ended in stranger’s hands? And this is just one of the consequences caused by the expulsion of memory from the own inner being.

Remembering Fromm, after all if the technological temptation has not yet succeeded in subjugate the humans to the craze of “having”, then it corrupts them in their deepest essence: the “being.”

Anyway, billions of people produce thousands billions of pictures that, even when superficial or insignificant in front of the immense global amount, they assume a role of visual memory, today perhaps a negligible expression of the individualistic need for being at the centre of attention, but that some day will inevitably become collective memory, like the yellowed vintage photographs you may find on street markets today are: memory of beauty, memory of happy times, memory to denounce or commemorate an event. Each photograph, picture or work of art is memory in itself.

Some say that with time our mind fades unpleasant memories, leaving us an edulcorated picture of the past: that is not so to everybody; to many memory is painful, so much unbearable to need suppression.
But actually nothing of what happens is universally regrettable, because in the cosmos everything can lead back to a purpose that transcends the individual relativism. The interpretation of the occurrences depends on the point of view, on the personal attitude in front of the events. The memory is not nice or bad, but its value is always positive. This is not a question of nostalgia: the memory represents our experiential background, indispensable to face the world in a lucid and aware way.

Art, despite that is the representation of the thought pointing toward the future, is always a re-elaboration of cultural memory, that is the consequence of our past experiences; but above all it is a metalanguage with which we give shape to the intellect, soul or subconscious, or the vital essence that the technocratic society would wish to annihilate in favour of a robot-man, ignorant and excellent productive machine suiting the requirements of exclusive thinking elites. Also for this reason memory should be taken under big consideration by people, because it can keep us free and away from possible slaveries and devious subjugations; right, as mankind is historically susceptible to habit-forming: thanks or cause of its adaptation ability, it gets accustomed to any condition. Without a fundamental point, a precise existential ideal impressed in memory, the human being slowly conforms itself to the ever changing order of current time, up to become even totally dependent on its own state of subjugation.

Notoriously, modern art stood out right in the progressive self-determination that led it to the contemporary explosion of expressive styles, in several cases turning out to be the only fortress of freedom. It is during Renaissance that this sentiment emerged again, pushing some artists in the search for an emancipation from the subjection to the commission, which since Middle Ages relegated them to the condition of mere executing artisans, manufacturers of other’s wills.
Since then, art returned to be that archaic metalanguage aimed to the expression of self and  ending in itself.
Art is as much materially useless as spiritually indispensable. Let us think about the cave paintings made by our prehistoric ancestors: serene recollections, sometimes disquieting epochs of fight, but in any case great events to remember, memorable deeds.
Currently, the glorification of memorable events is quite an out of practice habit: apart the disdained festivities considered just for the vacations, what people do passionately commemorate today? The street festival? The winning of a soccer match? A birthday? A general flaccid indetermination dominates, where many people feel like gripped by worries, instead of being vigorous for the awareness of panta rei, attempting to hide the insecurity in the materialist excesses, desperately trying to “live” as much as possible, but perhaps never grasping its meaning.
This incertitude generated by the lack of aims built on the base of own inner memory and a conscious rationalisation of own existence, lead even more toward the craving for the accumulation of memories in places that are external from our mind, like photos of flash-vacations, that is too busy at keeping the frenzy of a momentary living. The memory is being expelled from our inner, relegated in the memory card of a mobile telephone, it becomes a mere datum for possible use, like archived into dusty annals, dislocated from our Self, thus not naturally accessible any more and, in short, forgotten.

To evoke making own: it is one of the reasons for art does exist, like philosophy and poetry too, that Art spurring us to think, to conceive.

To be, rather than to have, memories.

The art that changes the future

Ancient cave graffiti or allegorical Egyptian wall paintings, Gilanic artifacts or statues from ancient Greece, all testaments of a living that have survived centuries or millenniums, returning archaic images, scenes from an ideal panorama and observations on the cosmic mistery of existence, created not by the divine, but by people, artists who have interpreted their own divine experience, immortalising it in artworks that have inspired and where the following civilisations have developed.

This way it happens that artists re-elaborate the past, that is the existing material, and transform it into future, like Marcel Duchamp with his readymade inspired us to see the reality with different eyes, reconsidering things unconditionally; or like Cindy Sherman1 who makes use of the collective imagination to reconsider herself, modifying and moulding her own appearance as it was a plastic substance.
The Duchampian teaching today is  broadly put in practice in its most contemporary implementation, the so called “recycle art”, but the fundamental need to re-elaborate the existent is expressed also by the artists who love to reproduce on their creations the deterioration of the artworks from the past, as if it was conferring the same old solemnity.

The proof that culture lives in the constant reconsideration of the existing material can be found in the recurring rising of movements revamping previous schools of thought, for example like the Pre-Raphaelites one, or the Symbolism of Gustave Moreau and of Odilon Redon, or more simply also in the stylistic innovation of classical myths proposed by painters like Anselm Kiefer or William Blake.

So many artists are particularly inspired by the recollection, which was lingering indelibly impressed into the soul, from which it re-emerges in an irrepressible way, to the point that it pushes them to represent it in order to satisfy that natural instinct of sharing own experiences with others, painting from memory. For example, in his naive drawings, an elderly self-taught Alfred Wallis 2 evokes the pictures from his past life passed between harbours and ships; or also, the so amazing mnemonic ability of the autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire 3, who can reproduce immense urban panoramas extremely in detail after just few minutes of observation.

The serene lucidity that an artist feels when he creates mnemonically takes origin right from the immersion into memory, that is an exercise for wellness that can be experienced by anyone, even not painting. We can perceive it for example in the famous boxes full of memories made by Joseph Cornell 4.

To Roman Opalka, the preservation of memory has even been the supreme and self-sufficient essence of his own artworks: for all his life he was engaged in immortalising exclusively the aseptic datum of the flowing time over his own life, painting and recording progressive numbers, then combining them to the imperceptibly slow but constant ageing of his own face, every day.

We can verify this great power of the representation of memories in the fact that they are really changing the future of the society: in fact most of the artists, even carrying out the selfsame work of transformation, do not paint making use of their own memory, but of the others’ memory, of the collective memory, which is not experienced directly through own senses. For example, painters like Henri Rousseau and Antonio Ligabue were painting wild and exotic scenes even if they have never been in those places. It does not matter if the result would be improbable or incoherent, because the purpose of art is not just to represent the experiences, but right also to re-elaborate them, transforming them.

Often the artworks acquire value only when they become themselves memory, that is when they loose their state of being contemporary, when they become absolute because not tied any more to the current thought; that happened to many photographers who portrayed their context and whose work has been reconsidered only successively by attentive people, as in the case of Eugène Atget 5, Francesca Woodman or Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.

In any epoch, to many artists the beauty and genius loci of nature are the subject to be delivered to immortal memory: landscape painters as Albert Bierdstadt, Thomas Cole or Salvator Rosa have represented solemn wild scenes that have kept the sentiment for environment alive until today.

Artists like Christian Boltanski and Jannis Kounellis instead express their attention for human memory realising impressive and contemplative artworks made with used material and personal images of painful kind, often installed like heaps or archives of memories with an unbearable weight.

Sometimes memory can even become an obsession, as in the case of Mark Rothko, whose tragic childhood memories have probably marked the character of his painting, which represents anyway their sublimation, a distillation or transformation into something acceptable to be transmitted separated from the horror.

It is true that the sublimation of the personal sorrow is one of the roles of art, but in many cases it happens that the anguish is being reiterated and re-proposed to the world, transmitting to the society that model always requiring the need for penance to reach happiness.
To this sake, the purpose of this exhibition is also to promote an arbitrarily filtered memory, returning a serene picture of the past, so that it would make a model that is suitable to develop an ideal future, just like when a land is being prepared to receive the cultivations, making it fertile.
After all, like George Orwell teaches us in the novel “1984”, who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past: the artists can decide today which model to give to society where to build a better future.

Critical gloss

Daria Baiocchi in “1916” evokes atmospheres of reminiscence, traces apparently forgotten, like DNA of a creature that has not become extinct, but that is smoothly surviving at the bottom of an abyss, in the wait for the favourable conditions to return to light, like an ancient seed designed to resist extremely hostile conditions that finally sprouts on the appropriate time.

Anne-Cathrin Brenner with the small series of watercolours entitled “Heimat” asks the public to call into question own social belongings. Heimat is a German word that literally can be translated with homeland, but it has meanings more ample that range on the social belonging indeed, the patriotic feeling, the traditions and the home. Like decomposing the heimat in something like an alphabet, the artist succeed in making us understand that is nothing more than images into our memory, thus the true home, that place where we feel happy, is made of memories.

Claire Burke is interested in the obsolescence, typical of technology. In her works regarding the analog video, supplanted by the digital one, the shapes and the colours that are part by now of the collective imaginary, are being manipulated through a improper reproduction transforming them into indistinct and hypnotic haloes, which induce that sensation of feeble resurfacing of the memory.

Despite the title “Malinconia” (Melancholy), the collage of Albino Caramazza seems emanating an intense good fragrance, hinted by the monochromatisms warm and deep like coffee, but also by the flower. The artist to create the original collages utilises exclusively sugar sachets, that are obviously recalling the very Italian habit of the coffee break, which is suggesting everyone that nice moment occurring regularly in the days of a life.

Lily-Orthodoxia Christou transmits her own inner being and memory trying to keep an unconditional expression of the form, not subordinated to prerequisites, and fluid like the thought itself, leaving to the public the task to perceive convergences with own sentiments, that the title “Innocence” suggests they could be found in the childhood memories.

The artistic expression of Elle is based on the examination and the re-elaboration of the memories and the implications of psyche, interpreted through the reuse of humble materials of anthropic origin where she feels a metaphysical potential, elevating them to the status of magical relic. In the series “Ripola” she does manipulate Polaroid photos through material applications and chemical damaging to transfigure what essentially was a visual memory by completing it with inner perceptions. The installation “Cloud” represents the imaginative ability to recognise shapes in the clouds, the pareidolia making us to project figures on them because already existing into our memory; the sculpture is like illuminated by lightnings recalling the electric pulses that activate the synapses in the instant of recollection; the title is referring to that collective memory represented by the computer systems of remote archiviation.

Benna Gaean Maris wanted to deliver full sovereignty to the word alone, instrument for the manifestation of feelings that comes just after the body expression, presenting us a poem to transmit a positive empathy for memory.

The stylistic hallmark of Alfredo Gioventù’s unmistakable ceramics is directly drawn from the memory of natural forces, the recording of geomorphic precesses manifested in the striping of the characteristic stones then smoothed by the sea. The sculpture “Daphne” is inspired to the homonymous mythological figure in the search for an aesthetic perfection, a condition of superior and contemplative pureness aiming to intellectually rejoice for the nature, by uniting with it.

With the painting “Memories Dream Choice”, Claudia Grimaldi visualises images representing her own experiential background to which she relied in the existential choices, that we all face sometimes. Thus the artist does not offer her own moral lesson, indeed she wants to provide a symbolic and evocative patterns collection that is distinct but familiar to the observer, through the estranging tones of a black and white film.

Darren Houser obliterates the classic imaginary of memento mori composing a fine and modern allegory that crosses the miserable reprimand in favour of a lucid consciousness of one’s own aims and a clear vision of our future: the experience can bring fruits only with the determination to proceed toward an ideal, otherwise its destiny is the consumption in inconclusive paths.

The preservation of memory is a consolidated base in the research of Winnie KS Hui. The series “To the Infinity” has been painted from memory, making use of own and collective imaginary, employing the traditional oriental brush technique on rice paper. The naturalistic images, nearly  oneiric presences searching for materialisation, reiterate the essence of the ecstasy that great authors of the past experienced in front of the memorable landscapes along the Yellow River, which are today progressively undermined by a blind and ruthless exploitation, for it is even more necessary to preserve them, at least into memory.

Caren Kinne makes use of her own memory and of the aesthetics inherited by cultures and styles from diverse epochs, but going beyond the simple visual representation of memories, in order to propose to the observer a vigorous imaginary but as more neutral and versatile as possible, made of fundamental elements, similar to tantric paintings or tiles of a metaphysical, meta-material puzzle, that everyone can integrate and match with one’s own, up to form new inner landscapes.

A superior engagement in social news often leads Mar.Gu to counterpoise vices and virtues, setting the miserable contemporary fallacies in contrast to the recollection of the certainties of a recent past that easily annihilate falsity, immediately awaking the conscience from the hypnotic sleep induced by propaganda. In the painting “Quando la Zecca non era un albergo” (When the Mint was not a hotel) the simple writings on a 500 Liras banknote remind us how the Res Publica is by now a fleeting memory.

The painter Mary M. creates almost exclusively from memory; her imagination makes use of personal recollections, in particular going back to childhood and adolescence lived in a sunny Tuscany, in that epoch characterised by the joy and the ecstasy of a rural society with centuries-old traditions and suddenly erased by the abrupt run to modernity in the forthcoming postwar. Her paintings evoke happy memories full of poetry from a natural world, landscapes full of life and colours, today completely transformed in monotone expanses of industrialised glyphosate flavoured monocultures.

Abramo ‘Tepes’ Montini often resorts to a pop and personal modern symbology, sometimes combined to classic allegories, to explicate a precise conceptual objective as much refined and subtle as surreal and vague, with the purpose to leave the observer free to readjust it to own self. In “underglass 4” the glass dome represents again a preotective element, a time capsule preserving the memory of self, of the most infantile and pure own essence, other than of own genetic makeup.

The video “Attempting the Island” by Jaakko Myyri investigates on how the mass-media culture inherited from the contemporary world could be re-elaborated to reach one’s own ideal of serenity, through the documentation of feelings and considerations recorded during a tour in United Kingdom of the band The Scenes. The questioning of the precepts is not due only to the sentiment of rebellion, but is the selfsame mechanism that is pushing the artists toward the creation of new models of future.

The artwork “Servez-vous!” (Help yourself!) by Sanchis at first sight represents in an immediate and very raw way an exhortation and the willpower to change the status quo,  principal function of the artists; but another fundamental intent is also the evocation of historical memories that are repeating, in fact the installation is dedicated to the as much revolutionary famous painting “La liberté guidant le peuple” by Delacroix: both have in common the same will to create a better world, destroying the chains that are preventing the reaching of happiness.

The frank and sunny video-portrait that Giuliana Silvestrini dedicates to her mother is the contemporary implementation of the tribute with which the artists of any epoch have thanked or commemorated they who have made possible their happiness.  By positively representing the traditions of one’s own ancestors, their endorsement is being revealed, or perhaps the nostalgic feeling to not be able to pursue them in the current society.

The style and the chromaticism in the paintings created by Elle Smith always lead to a feeling of steadiness and of serenity, even when they are dealing with introspective or existential themes. The artist achieves this result by iconifying the shapes, making them similar to pictographs that are easily readable. The work “Purple Rain”, the common saying to define an impossible dream, other than suggesting that the happiness have to be pursued even if it seems out of reach, also gives afterwards honour to the memory of the recently passed away musician Prince. Instead, “Thinking Outside the Box” is exhorting to get rid of the negative memes, which are interdicting to take advantage of the experience by instilling uncertainty.

The video “Pulse Generator Pastry” by Charles Woodman is a generational tribute with which he pays honour to the art of his mother, the renowned ceramist Betty Woodman, appropriating the shapes she utilises to transform them into electronic memory, reiterating them in order to be surely extended to an ubiquitous existence. Notwithstanding the psychedelic flickering of the electronic signal, the simplicity of the shapes, in which the observer may recognise familiar figures, successfully evoke a feeling of tranquillity.

Serena Zanardi draws inspiration either from the contemplation of collective memory and her own recollections to create works permeated by an atmosphere of solemn serendipity, of wonder for the finding in ancient images of one’s own human nature, unchanged, unitary and communal. The burden of responsibility imparted by the even comforting awareness of the social belonging, is being relieved by a subtle open-minded and mutable spirit.


FUTURE AND BEHIND - (Un)contemporary art exhibition


The 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia has been entitled “All the World’s Futures”, a title that perhaps would be more appropriate with an ending question mark. We live in present times characterised by agitations at a planetary level, by the fragmentation of thought, by the crumbling of ideals, where the disinterest in searching justice and respect is raging, where the past is repudiated, erased, or adjusted according to one’s own interests.
In their introductory speeches, Paolo Baratta and Okwui Enwezor, respectively President and Curator of the Biennale, clearly proved to be conscious of the no more negligible extent of social uproars, to the extent that you can feel they disguised some hesitation proposing a title so obstinately positivist and evoking hopeful prospects.
Carefully examining the reality of facts, the worrisome worldwide socio-economic lack of balance is caused by radical injustices exacerbated beyond any tolerance, and searching at any cost a way out in the prospects of future rather seems rhetoric for the last Titanic’s lifeboat.

FUTURE AND BEHIND is an exhibition aimed to answer with critical sense to the prospects hinted by the title of this Biennale. Through the artworks of the invited artists, impartially selected for the motivations on the argument, it explicates a thematic itinerary deliberately biased: starting from the concept held in the phrase “aka-ta qhipa uru”, that in the language of Aymara people means “from now to behind”, this exhibition wants to suggest that if we want to see what are the good things in our hands, from which to restart, we must inevitably look at the past.
The mentality of Aymara people is characterised by a one-of-a-kind and antithetical conception of time: unlike the contemporary man, who imagines himself transiting in the present with the future in front and the past behind, Aymaras see themselves with the past in front and the future behind.

The past is the future

The idea of FUTURE AND BEHIND was born to investigate on how human mind perceives the relationship between future and past, and how time conjecturally interfere with the actions in the present. The initiative can be considered as a due continuation of the question started with the “ecointegralist” exhibition OIKOS dedicated to the relationship between man and environment, while the title was chosen in contrast to the one of the 56th Art Biennial of Venice.

The idea was conceived as soon as the title “All the World’s Futures” for the 56th edition of the Biennale was announced, wanting to be in juxtaposition against the prospects it evoked.
In the global context we witness wide humanitarian issues, masses of people forced to migrate, harsh social injustice, prevarications, wars. We wonder: but, of which futures are we talking about? We are in the middle of a planetary disaster, into ethical decline, pollution, financial speculation and worsening of conflicts, a world at the mercy of the lowest couldn’t-care-less attitude, of mors tua vita mea, of thoughtlessness caused by cynicism and greed.
How can you look to the future, if the world where you are going to walk is already crumbling under the feet? Shall we have to climb over the corpses of the fallen ones to look beyond?
Perhaps we should instead roll up our sleeves, cure what is corrupted and strengthen what remains.

Later, during the presentation of the 56th edition, and surprisingly in contrast with the title of the Biennale, the President Paolo Baratta has proved to have a remarkable care for the memory and the past, that was expressed with the metaphor that the history is inexorably growing like a mountain, in addition to the awareness of the social turmoil by calling this epoch “Age of Anxiety.”
Therefore, FUTURE AND BEHIND is rather in harmony with these words he said, to the extent that it could be considered an external contribution composed of thirty-one voices that, for the sake of plurality, are answering to his “Parliament of Forms”, this is to say joining the voices of the one hundred thirty-six artists summoned by the Curator Okwui Enwezor, who has surely been chosen for his personal awareness about these social issues.

In the presentation of the Biennale held by Enwezor, the reference to the interpretation of Angelus Novus by Paul Klee in the theses of history of philosophy by Walter Benjamin¹ is an astounding coincidence: it may seem implausible, but the similarity to the metaphor of Aymara’s philosophy is sincerely fortuitous.

The evocation of the issues and the horrors in contemporary society done by the President of the Biennale during the presentation, albeit commendable, is limited to the mere awareness. You can comprehend that for a reality as complex as the Biennale, that has to to uphold both its own existence and the involved partners, to be exposed politically against the state of facts and interests, which go far beyond the ones of artistic cosmetics, may be difficult. You can go further than the simple tourist circumnavigation of the events, deepening the reasons, searching for the causes and possibly revealing the responsibilities.
But it is exactly the metaphor of the Angelus Novus interpretation by Benjamin that makes you perplexed indeed: why not dig your heels and oppose to that storm? Why not fight back? It can not be divine that metaphorical wind which pushes toward the future and pulls away from the past. Surely, time seems to us like a wind that is flowing always and just forward, but man has learnt to sail also against the wind, pointing where he wants, even turning back to the point from where he started, and from this point of view Art is something divine, surely.

Again in spite of the title of the Biennale, many works chosen by Enwezor look to the past, and have a humanist vocation, or humanitarian; that could not be otherwise, considering the origins of the Curator who surely knows the wounds endured by African continent, the wars, where nevertheless many populations have preserved an attachment to the nature and the rurality maintaining a high level of civilisation and respect, similarly to the peasant civilisation in the Western world. This Biennale looks like the inevitable continuation of the discussion opened by the work that we may consider the most touching, amazing and powerful of the last edition: “The Enclave” by Richard Mosse for the Irish pavilion, where the military insanity, with the lure of modernity, insinuates into the ancestral idyll of an agrestic Africa until its dramatic devastation.

The denial of the past or its demolition is a destructive behaviour, it is not by chance that Futurists were incline to war: their works today seem even antiquated, and this let us understand that everything is inevitably tied to the fleeting contemporary and it is a consequence of the past, a reaction to what happened, becoming immediately and inexorably part of the past. To believe in future is a state of agitation that, when taken to the extreme, leads to the destruction of everything in the name of nothing, because the future is just a conjecture.
But this is not pastism, not an inclination for nostalgia: to consider the past means to have the knowledge of what exists, that is the cosmos, to avoid groping around.
The future is by now a stereotype, a blind faith behind which people obstinately barricade since too much, lingering on anaesthetising slogans with no flavours done as a pretext, which look like the affected clichés flaunted in some vernissages by inconclusive protagonists in the brothel of smugness.

What is lacking in this epoch is an impulse, a logical and embraceable motivation. That impulse can not be anymore the obstinacy for the development, since we suffer exactly for an excessive growth: the production and consumerism bulimia has succeeded in plenty of ways to pour out its nefarious consequences even to contexts far away, both in space and time.
Inevitably this fast and hypertrophic development in the name of the future is crumbling for the lack of a steady base, as it happens for the speculative bubbles; you can see that in the effects of the so called economical crisis. A bursting bubble leaves no traces but a diaphanous residue, and magically reveals the only certain thing it concealed: the past, formed at slow pace, by sedimentation.

The same need from which artistic expression originates, that is materialised in the works of art, has the purpose to immortalise the prior events, to leave contemporary traces of the experience, so that they may be observed in the future, as in the attempt to mark the path that has been covered by mankind.

The works of art are at our disposal in moments of crisis, when we will find ourselves in a blind alley or the ground will be crumbling under the feet.

Let us ponder, look back to find again the way we have travelled, evaluating if it was the right one, let us understand what is the past we are from.

Even the text you have just read is a message from the past.

¹ “A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. ... His face is turned toward the past. ... The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, ...”
Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

(Un)contemporary art

Venice is a perfect metaphor for the constant mutation of the things: it is a city deeply different confronted to that of the past, with that lazy Mannian relaxedness and the harmony impressed in the 50s film “I nua” (they swim) by Enzo Luparelli, that today have been replaced by the opportunistic economy of mass tourism, turning the Lagoon into an enormous theme park, like an entangled Riviera Romagnola disguised by solemn and antique stage wings, and populated by actors who play their own role to not disappoint the expectations of tourists.

The present evolves constantly, both in the cultural and technological aspects. Art is the weapon with which we face the future, the unknown, but it is anyway a weapon built with just what we have inherited from the past. Let us allow technology to be projected into the future, but the human essence is always the same, our longing for communication, our vital needs, are the same from the dawn of times.

Art is commonly defined by its coevals as contemporary; actually Art is an immutable concept that is eternal, we should rather call it un-contemporary, but, if it is true that the concept of hic et nunc is the sole reality of the present that is evolving, it is even unnecessary to identify it with any temporal definition.

The artists strengthen this idea of immutable mutability: many take inspiration from the masters of the past, often using or simulating ancient techniques; all respond to the past events by re-elaboration. To a certain extent, all Art is Recycle Art, because everything is created starting from what already exists.

In the exhibition cycle of CON-TEMPORARY Art Observatorium, each exhibition corpus is usually compared to the global context, searching for parallelisms between the participating artists and the others from the international artistic panorama.
In this case, considering the specificity of FUTURE AND BEHIND, the comparison is limited to the artists included in the concomitant 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia.

After the preponderant presence of works of Western and European taste in the last exhibitions “ILLUMInations” and “The Encyclopaedic Palace”, this year many works from the Biennale have a soul that is more contemplative, warm, tribal and generally archaic, obviously thanks to the Curator.

For example, in the assemblages on canvas created by the Cuban Lavar Munroe1 we find the tribal archetypes recalling the ancestral origins of mankind, contaminated by contemporary.

The Mozambican Gonçalo Mabunda2 makes figures, furnitures and more common objects reusing just decommissioned weapons to expose the destructive horror of the wars and their markets. Also the bell that Iraqi Hiwa K. molten with the steel from war weapons reveals the pacifist inclination of the Curator coming from a continent oppressed by conflicts.

The attention for the past is particularly present in the works of Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, as much as in the previous photographic reports by Sammy Baloji3, representing the alienated condition of the human being after the industrial exploitation intruded into cultures otherwise characterised by rural harmony.

The mark, protagonist in the archaic artistic expression, is a very important presence: we can find it for example in the works of aborigine Emily Kame Kngwarreye and of Daniel Boyd4, who investigate the Australian ancestral semiotic legacy.

Zhijie Qiu instead deals with the cyclic nature of history, while David Maljkovic investigates the reiterated reproduction of photographic archiving.

The Abounaddara collective is very active in the safeguard of the past, proceeding with the building of a sort of visual archive of local cultural traditions.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot pays homage to the nature making a real tree into the protagonist, placing it contrastingly in the aseptic rooms. Plants are the protagonists also for Marcel Broodthaers.

Vanessa Beecroft gives up with models in flesh and blood proposing their marble replicas, returning back to the straight artistic longing for immortality.

The absolute un-contemporary is reached through an all-embracing vision of cosmos, of what is surrounding us, and above all what is not surrounding us, what we can not see because metaphysical.
The grandeur of a work of art lies in the balance, when it separates from the conventional representation in order to get closer to conceptual abstraction and yet keeping the ability to communicate and to be understood. The communication is as grander as it is more un-contemporary and universal, distant from the chronicles, in this way a message can be resistant to change and it can be understood in any epoch.

Critical comment

In the works of the artists invited to express the thematic subject of FUTURE AND BEHIND, three orientations can be recognised: one is promoting the revaluation of the past, the cycles of nature and the respect; another, supportively to the first, instead represents with a critical sense the frenetic agitations of that society obstinately projected into the renovation and that is looking only toward the future; a third, finally reflects on the un-contemporary, searching connections between dots scattered in the oblivion through the comparison, the universality or the revaluation, seemingly willing to mend a torn fabric of time and to define a multidimensional point where past and future may coexist.

In the first group we can notice the recurrence of the sentiment for preservation, symbolically expressed with the auxiliary protection represented by the glass dome.
Elle Smith encloses into glass spheres, like soap bubbles, the iconic memories of ideal cities, meant as utopian places, crystallising them in an idyllic poetical imaginary. In this case paying homage to the most fantastic city par excellence, Venice. The bubble symbolises either the longing for preservation and the fragility of memories.
Tete de Alencar resorts to the sculptural assemblage in materialising the sentiment of preservation for the places of thought, naturalistic utopias represented with very exquisite miniatures of vintage taste, enclosed like valuables into protective boxes, in this case a glass dome. The emergence of stereotypes continuously evoked from the past, demonstrates their genuineness and confirms their unavoidable indispensability.
Abramo ‘Tepes’ Montini paints mysterious babies, like preformed reproductions of the adult, that are placed under glass. From the very strong wish to protect them from contingent dangers we deduct that the procreation is the process of regeneration of self in the necessary adaptation to future new conditions. But the glass symbolises also the wish to preserve them, maybe by preventing their birth until more opportune times, or perhaps as if they were our message in the bottle to be delivered to the sea in the hope that it may arrive to future receivers.
Cyclic nature of life, regeneration and remembrance are the fil rouge of the visually diversified paintings by Mary M.: starting from the reproduction of the famous Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and through a naïve self-portrait painted by memory after more than half a century, we arrive to an expressionist vision where we find a deep symbolism in elements such as the dark of nonentity and the tunnel as direction and rebirth.
In the astronauts of Eskild Beck we find again the centrality and the essential self-sufficiency of human being in the immanent journey through the cosmic void, archaic and metaphysical figures of bodies allowing us to travel like spaceships in time and space, with no need for spacesuits.
Claudia-M. Grimaldi, Corsican by adoption, invites us to savour again the bucolic rhythms: nude bodies of a man and a woman are the protagonists of an ideal and rural naturalness recalling past atmospheres and paintings. Since ever, artists from any epoch were engaged in immortalising the thoughts through their works, as corporeal life is regenerating through the eroticism and the mating.
The video “Two birds in a sink.” by B. Quinn contextualises into an ordinary contemporary everyday life two ancient origamis of the crane, which since the ancient times were traditionally given as a gift for wishing a long life, but that since the atomic slaughter of Hiroshima they also commemorate the unfortunate destiny of the little Sadako. Being burned, these two birds turn into phoenixes, the mythological animal that can revive from its own ashes, metaphor of immortality through the regeneration.
The persistence of memory is at the base of the installation “Before It Fades” by Winnie KS Hui, who with commitment reproduces antique Chinese steles severely deteriorated, returning, to what they represent, the same importance that has motivated the original creators in making them. The particular technique utilised and the fragmentary reproducibility of the original remnants blend together into a mystical authority.
Edgar Askelovic resorts to the reconsideration of ancient artifacts, by recalling the Mother Goddess, which is protagonist in cultures of all times: from the countless Paleolithic statuettes up to the modern epoch and through the famous Courbet’s “Origine du Monde”. Even if actualised with the use of a modern synthetic material that makes it looking like an erotic toy, this Venus keeps the capability to ideally represent the essential, immutable and sovereign shape that everybody recognise as the essential prototype of maternal womb.
Leo Jahaan with an accurate historiographical research expressed through pop aesthetics, analyses the transiency of things, reminding us with “Kuku-Oba” that time passing by is an illusion due to the transformation of cosmos, and with “Caretta caretta” that it depends also on the speed of your life. The turtle, with its slowness, is an animal with a very long life, but it is also very fragile when it comes into contact with a world going at high-speed.
The revival of dilated times and of sociality, that are often lost into the excitement of the world, is the purpose of the video by Adrienne Outlaw, who invites us to observe and to give fair importance to those gestures corresponding to ancient and primal needs joined by mankind, like the sharing of food.
The modern man reveals all his presumption in the video by Tiffany Joy Butler, where, with an inflexible sarcasm, a highlight is put over the prejudices about indigenous civilisations, often so deeply rooted to the extent that they endure in the imaginary of many people.

In the second group of works, about the criticism to the frenzied run for the future, the existential disquietude and the danger of dehumanisation in the electronic era are the predominant feelings.
In the video by Marie-France Giraudon & Emmanuel Avenel, the viewer is projected into a psychedelic journey, with the same progression of a Divine Comedy, in the attempt to find the redemption from a modern digital Inferno through the expiation in the Purgatory of virtual reality, that is simulating a natural Paradise, which attainment is however not guaranteed.
“Job Interview” by Dénes Ruzsa & Fruzsina Spitzer is a dystopia about the dehumanisation in the electronic era, where we all have been unwittingly captivated already, beyond the latent prodromes: maybe our inquisition will not be managed by robots, nor we will grill them, but already now many people behave like drudge robots, programmed for the functions they are appointed to by governments that do not want us to be freethinkers, but manageable and impersonal slaves, instructed by the media promoting a mental transhumanism.
The dehumanisation born with the computer era is the subject of “Fluid Bodies” by Jeffu Warmouth, who chooses to mitigate the drama of electronic dystopia with a sarcastic sense of humour: the human being becomes a BLOB, the sprite of video-games from the 80s, enclosed into a world of pointless dares and dangers of which you can not see the aim.
Jody Zellen with “Time Jitters” represents the human society, with its agitations and its irreducible dissatisfaction, translating it into a hypothetical analytical vision of an information technology system, a precarious world characterised by the transiency where everything is computerised, catalogued and archived for future use, like a datum lacking a soul that is not worth to be experienced in the present.
The assemblage “Do I stand a chance?” by Jorge Mansilla, beside demonstrating a commitment for environmentalism, is an allegory of the pathetic uncertainty of human being lost in the chaos of the digital existence, like an ancient god by now incapable to perform prodigies because rapt in the amazement for the latest technological gadget.
In the sculpture “Cage of Thoughts” by Anne Cecile Surga you can recognise the relationship between the Being, who is living an endless present, and the society, requiring the Being to be positioned in time. If on one hand the sculpture can be interpreted as a metaphor of one’s own convictions that generating from the thought are going to create a cage where to segregate, on the other hand the bars made of cold and surgical steel can also be seen as if they were bursting from the outside into the head, thus representing the schemes, the precepts and the bounds imposed by a technocratic world, futuristic but also really contemporary.
The frenzy of the human being, who is craving to reach anything inconsiderately and go beyond oneself in the search for an intangible elsewhere, takes one’s own actions to an extreme level, getting close to the catastrophe, as you can see in the video “mountain-water-painting” by Christin Bolewski where the technological and analytical efforts of man do not exclude the predictable disasters, of which the mountains are majestic witnesses since ever.
Duygu Nazlı Akova in the video “Hive” represents the alienation of the personality. A society devoted to a blind and frenetic renovation is reported in its exasperating reiteration of activities ruled by economical needs, where the human being is downgraded to a mere executor of featureless gestures.
In the context of existential disquietude in front of the events, RoC promotes the self-determination of the Being with the expressionist abstraction of “Demain surement” (surely tomorrow) where the colours of a clear sky and of a foggy unknown are counterposed, while in “Le nécessaire Malentendu” (the necessary misunderstanding) a phantasmagorical appearance evokes that heart-rending vital struggle in the attempt to escape the eternal void.

The last group of works, sharing the comparison between past and future, is characterised by the search for a persistent balance and an all-encompassing cognition.
Detlef E. Aderhold emancipates himself from the illusion of time combining past, present and future in the oneness of hic et nunc. The elements belonging to personal and collective cultural baggages, while keeping the potentiality of uncertainty, emerge either evoking past epochs, and creating possible future scenarios.
The two paintings by Massimo Jose Monaco are representations of a past that can not be erased, and slowly but inexorably returns with the purpose to redeem the debt of the present: animals depicted in ancient Japanese style burst into the everyday life of forgetful and idle figures seated in their comfortable sofas.
Sao Fan Leong in her works encourages the searching for balance in the adimensionality of present and the illumination through the symbols and the teachings of the oriental Buddhist religion, that shares with other philosophies the concepts of nonexistence of time and of its cyclic nature, as in the Tao and the Ouroboros.
The cyclic repetition of the changes is an aspect of the personal research of Rachel Boyle, that is hinged on identity and genetics. The natural and uncontaminated element is symbolised by white roses that are laid down on faces with an astonished expression, as if they were trying to prevent further pronouncements whatsoever on what has been already set by nature.
The video by Oleg Chorny, although a specific condemnation of the Ukrainian conflicts in 2014, through a prolonged and intimate framing of a soil, underlines the almost therapeutic harmony of nature, with which you can detoxify yourself from the clamours of a mankind fallen pray of the folly, thanks to the exemplar sufficiency.
The music video “reaction” by Benna Gaean Maris, epilogue of a trilogy, concludes a philosophical reasoning visualised using sophisticated symbolisms, revealing finally the self-sufficiency and the serendipity of nature: the protagonists observe the course of events and time flowing, engaged in a metaphysical journey yet standing motionless.
David Theobald in “Jingle Bells” renders a disenchanted vision of the technology, that is always used as a lure to administer the stereotype of a luminous future. The remains of that future, seen once they have become part of the past, appear just as what they are: toys for bored children, banal gadgets, a heap of garbage over which nature always returns to prevail with his slowness.
The video “P100” by Claire Burke examines the recent past, represented by the technologies that have become obsolete in few decades since their birth, trying to revalue what has been already condemned to the oblivion, lingering on the lively fluidity and magical unpredictability of a technology that, albeit electronic, was much more close to the analogical nature of cosmos.
“Cowboy Romance” is a Baruchello like video cut-up with which Charles Woodman wants to counterweight the unbalance caused by the cinematographic fictions that are distorting the vision of the past, which is mystified in a reiterated violence for the purpose of making it compliant to the agitations of the futurist mind.
Nara Walker will complete this itinerary with the first representation of the performance “Hair Pull”, of which it can be foretold the correlation to the line as conceptual visualisation of time, since it has one direction beside the double function of connecting two points and of tracing a ridge between before and after.


Alexander Barner Project

I do not like Alexander Barner’s artworks, and stating so I believe I am gratifying the artist: surely, he impresses extreme aggressiveness onto his strokes in order to shock the beholder, but not only.
At first sight in these drawings, so obsessively in the reiteration of determined subjects, we find the subversion and the fury arisen from the repression that is typical in European Expressionism, insomuch as to mention it with well known shapes like the face in “The scream” by Munch.
But beyond the visual phase, the subjects become the fundamental element of the message: spoilt visages, hostile eyes, resembling the aliens in “They live”, mouths shut with money, pentacle stars, skyscrapers and pyramids. A perfect X-ray picture of the society. That is it, for this I like Alexander Barner’s drawings.


Starting from the archaic philosophical question on the meaning of life, up to the eternal “swan song” of the defeated, we can deduce from history that the obstinate reiteration of a thought in any case is always expression of an irrepressible absolute, unavoidable manifestation of frictions in the dualist cosmos.
A project continued with resolution, an inalterable and coherent constancy that does not leave you uninterested, even with a quite clear evolution of the strokes that led to an always more excited expressionist exasperation.
The represented reality is the mortifying conspiracy of a socio-economic system that segregates the defenceless individual soul constricting it into determined claustrophobic, rugged, cold and hostile spaces.


OIKOS - ecointegralist art exhibition

After a transient moment of good hope, we live an epoch of prevailing huge economical upsets that determine heavy social unfairness, anguish and injustices in all the world. So more and more war conflicts are on the raise, justified with hypocritical and fabricated reasons, which only purpose is the ravaging of the resources, mainly of the lands that were the cradle of civilisation. Many populations come under unspeakable sufferings and massacres, finding salvation only in the getaway.

In such a context of humanitarian emergency, speaking of ecology may seem of secondary importance, but it is the very altered equilibrium between human being and environment where we find the cause of all: to one side, powerful and wealthy elites sustain a system of luxurious abuse of resources where squander reach unprecedented peaks and volumes, which is followed as a model by a middle class that, just to be no less, becomes always more poor or gets into debts; to the other side, always more numerous down-and-out masses find themselves to survive with, among and of the waste for need, suffering the obvious consequences. Thus there are who is living near to the nuclear plant where he works and who travels into the urban chaos breathing smog for work; there is who believe to be lucky to live near an airport or a cell phone repeater; there is who eats junk food, who buys near to expiry date groceries at a loss, who goes to soup kitchens, who waits for the humanitarian aids thrown with the parachute, who lives in the garbage dumps sorting waste to survive. At last, there is who blame misfortune when becomes ill physically or spiritually, and then he allows to be recycled like scrap by the same system that made them sick, producing more profits.

We have been teach that living into the dirt causes illnesses, but in the name of profit the human beings seem to have forgotten this principle; or well, to not incur into penalties they have learnt how to hide and dissimulate their own waste, making them always more invisible, odourless, intangible and devious, up to transforming them in ultra thin nano-dusts; otherwise making them alluring, even pleasant.

The production of a residue is always inherently an anti-economic and anti-ecological  act.

In every field always more new artificial substances are invented, as much valuable as polluting: solid, gaseous, biological, nuclear or electromagnetic. The contamination is so much ubiquitous, pervading and creeping that it does spare no one.

From a naturalistic point of view, the technological discoveries usually considered products most of the times are not so much different from garbage: both pollute for their artificial nature.

Even many of the materials and processes with which artworks are made cause pollution, therefore also all this exhibition, but we can accept the extenuation that everybody is son of his epoch and to speak of change it is necessary to start from where we find ourselves, using what we have and in a way that can be understood by contemporaneity; moreover it is useful to display the body of evidence as much as the weapon used to commit the crime.

In that sense Video Art, although it depends too on not so eco-friendly technologies, it could be considered an ecological evolution of classic visual arts, because it dematerializes the artwork reducing it just to its most important essence, that is the message that it transmits by means of its virtual image, its incorporeal ghost, thus relieving the environment from the weight of new material products / garbage.

In the sphere of environmentalism, I consider that more than the lack of information, it is more detrimental the misinformation, which is extremely sought by the corporations interested just in the profits generated by their huge businesses that they have  tagged with an ecology false label.
Sometimes also the artists are unknowingly part of that game, trusting the slogans that are passed off like mantras by mass media, hence I wanted to impress to the exhibition my personal opinion, carefully selecting the artworks in order to skim anything I consider an result of scams aimed to economical rather than ecological interests.
A glaring example is the waste recycling: instead of limiting the upstream production of waste, to one side they force recycling and to the other side they incite a mass distribution based on the prepackaged of retail products (e.g.: few ham slices are often on sale along with an equivalent mass of plastic) and on planned obsolescence (products / waste are not designed to last long). Therefore I have omitted one of the newest paragraphs of contemporary artistic expressions: Recycle Art with just an end in itself.
Also the theory of the supposed global warming caused by CO2, already inconsistent and vague in light of ampler independent studies, after the biased data scandal it had to change its name, becoming a more chancy climate change.

With the term ecointegralist I wanted to define a “fundamentalist” attitude strongly respectful of nature’s equilibriums. It is a hope for a change of mind on human lifestyles according to some of the precepts of ecosophy (philosophic ecology) related to the interaction between ourselves and the ecosystem, through a rapprochement with natural rhythms, circadian and seasonal cycles, a care for the fundamental principles of our existence, of out role and presence on the planet, that is the survival through our adaptation to environment and not vice versa.

Òikos, οἶκος: Greek «house, residence, family»

There is a certain culture portraying the environmentalist and ecological feeling as expression of a fanaticism; it is sarcastically nicknamed “ecotism”, with obvious assonance to egotism. They are partially right: ecology and respect for the environment really are egotism forms, or interest for one’s own safety: eco, from Greek òikos, means house, and our house is that sphere of finite extent called Earth. The one who make a mess of his own house is artless to say the least.

More and more people already have a high consciousness of the damages inflicted to the environment, and in their soul they passionately wish for a society respecting nature, but it seems that is not enough, in effect we assist to an always more frequent and insidious destruction and contamination of every aspect of the environment surrounding us. It is obvious that decisions are not made by citizenry.
Technology advances at exponential pace, creating every day new side effects to which most of the people are not prepared or are not even aware: nano-particles, biotechnologies, etcetera.
For the sake of immediate earnings, no one cares for the effect on the environment in the long term, and by now not even in the short term; in the best case, the expedients to contrast the health issues need decades to be assimilated by mass communications, so they become obsolete before they could ever be effective. To defend oneself, it is necessary to be well-informed and to understand the changes, and above all to catch the principle.

The artists can humbly offer to society their avant-garde perspicacity rising from their natural sensitivity and from the necessary observation skill, which sometimes eccentric and multifaceted spirit may lead to a wider vision of reality.

For that sake I have called artists having different languages, renowned or emerging, but all joined by a previous and disinterested personal engagement on environmental thematics, and that through their artworks have expressed themselves favouring the public denunciation of this set of problems.

Willing to win the resilience due to apathy and carelessness that prevent the action finalised to problem solving, this exhibition wants to sensitise everybody, favouring them to become conscious of realities too often omitted, concealed or marginalised into an elsewhere, and affirming that to preserve the environment where we live it is necessary also the resolute dissent combined to the free adoption of attitudes by the side of single individuals, and above all a change in the ethic of those who contribute to move those very socioeconomic gears that set the lifestyles of community.


Environmental Art

We have the proofs the the sentiment of admiration and respect, even of anxious veneration for the splendour of natural environment has always been present in human culture since its dawning; that is revealed by the cave art of primitive people depicting an adventurous existence in which man was just a supporting actor in the ecosystem proscenium. It goes along mankind since millions years, enduring many anthropocentric declines, but always reviving in humanistic historic periods and through harmonious expressions: from Ancient Greece’s philosophy to the great landscape painters of the new American continent, from the phytotherapy of the Scuola Salernitana to the studies of Renaissance, from the lavishly decked tables painted by Flemish to the naturist movement.
However in the last 150 years, the studying of nature has generated also the industrial revolution, which result has been a sudden and unprecedented squandering of resources; in the last 50 years a new ecologist wave rose necessarily, the principle is always the same, the damage is the one already lamented by ancient Greeks, the solution is identical; anyway everything is as much amplified exponentially as spread in a fractal way.

Environmentalism updates itself to the contemporary needs and to the new manifestations of the anthropic ravaging, thus expressing through new artistic and conceptual movements.

Actually the expression of many environmental artists is into a more propositional phase, suggesting solutions and lifestyles rather than denouncing the mess. That is perhaps still premature: many artists have the capability to see ahead, beyond their own epoch, turning out to be sometimes not clear enough because too much far-sighted; instead society is much more pragmatic, since people are normally inclined to live confronting with the problems of the moment, rather than pursue futuristic attitudes or to disperse between different utopian hypotheses.

Thus I have considered more essential to continue the reporting of real facts with an exhibition to denounce once again the large and small disasters inflicted to the environment by human lifestyles, so shameful to be withhold, so common to be by now omitted and understood, as if all was normal.

But we must keep in mind that environmental art is a quite ambiguous conceptual ensemble, particularly in one of its most important forms, Land Art, since it includes essentially two positions even antithetical: the ones who use the planet as a medium, changing it to their liking, and the ones who instead denounce this abuse. The modification of the planet is the entrance toward the concept of geoengineering, a neologism indicating that megalomaniac intent aimed to the alteration of Earth and its atmosphere, forcing them to follow anthropic needs or caprices. That will is iconically expressed by the gigantic artwork “Spiral Jetty” conceived in 1970 by Robert Smithson that required the transfer of huge amounts of seashore land just for the sake of aesthetics.
Other exemplar alterations of nature are the artworks and performances by Antti Laitinen recently exhibited at the 55th Biennial of Venice; as in the series “Forest Square” featuring the manipulation of forest portions, which trees are reduced to small debris, subsequently evaluated, sorted by typology and then arranged within rectangles subdivided a la Mondrian.
Another land artist is Christo, often criticised by environmentalists for his gigantic interventions on nature, that he covers with miles of coloured textiles, because they are disrespectful and endanger underlying flora and fauna. In his “wrappings” I personally see also the concept of shroud, the cloth used to wrap the corpses.
In most cases environmental art of the manipulative kind has the characteristics of Pop Art: it deals more with aesthetics and frivolity than concept and engagement.

On the contrary, art in defence of environment is necessarily alarmist, sometimes permeated by a brutal atmosphere of seriousness and pain that may be confused with pessimism, thus turning out irksome, while no behaviour is more pessimist than unwillingness to see the problems.
The large sized installation “Construction Materials of the Spanish Pavilion” by Lara Almarcegui gives a good picture of the brutality that can be reached by environmental art exposés, simply bringing to the eyes of the public some enormous and raw piles of debris coming from the demolition of  industrial factories ruining the Venetian Lagoon.
Then, in the trunks of the artwork “Kreupelhout” by Berlinde De Bruyckere, dedicated to the paintings of Saint Sebastian, we can see a sense of pain expressed by bandages and ligatures that make it to resemble a tortured human body.
But there are also artists speaking of the relation with environment that use a more serene and sarcastic language, like Wim Delvoye, notorious firstly for the installation “Cloaca”, a terrible industrial machinery reproducing the working principles of the human digestive system that turns the inserted aliments into intestinal waste, who has conceived the series “Deft Cabinet”, representing showcases with blades for brush cutters made of Delftware; or Piero Gilardi with his Tappeto Natura “Dopo l’incendio”.
Joseph Beuys, one of the most fundamental environmentalist artists, instead gives to his artworks a tone in balance between denunciation and attitude, with a sense of unbiased austerity but also of solemn serenity.
The installation “La scorta” by Gianfranco Baruchello can be interpreted as absolutely propositional and as a denunciation of the squandering, he simply combines two antagonist symbols: the bicycle as an ecology respecting symbol and the system power represented by the big deployment of forces defending it, to which we have unfortunately become accustomed.
This artwork is also metaphorically symbolising the split between personal interests and longings juxtaposed to the interests for environment and society, of which we should feel to be part.


DIOYDEA - Conspazioranea

I knew Dioydea in the times when she compiled her curriculum-flipper or pinball, needed to rearrange the chaos of vicissitudes into a form intelligible to the public. Coherently, she faced that chaos of existence with adamancy until today, while artworks are scrutinized for a concise anthological exam to which the parallelism with the pinball is very apt.

However her artistic expression is not a game, but a profound grammatical, logical, illogical, analysis, jeering criticism of human knowledge, because most of the times, paradoxically, we do not really know that, not even scientifically.

To deeply know the wholeness of her expression implies to wish no peace, to turn fast toward everything and come back; it is a pretence, because it is likewise a pretence to analyse and to re-elaborate without rest any aspect of the wholeness that we face; however, it is at last the spur to emancipate ourselves from habits, rescuing the mind from the unavoidable necrosis caused by the stagnant thought.

This exhibition tries to place those few but meaningful pieces from the jigsaw puzzle of that incognizable knowledge, like many small windows opened on the scenery of disillusion, otherwise concealed behind the wall of preconceptions and of certainties.


BENNA - europawns
21-29 April 2012

The nineteen caustic artworks of the recent series “europawns” make the body of this experimental show: a telematic exhibition with uncensored real-time chat-vernissage.
When the sensorialism of materials is relevant, the artworks should always be seen in the reality. Anyway, in cases like this, the black on white neatness of the prints from digital graphics makes it possible an adequate use even on the screen.

The artworks of this series keenly deal with the recent events of the Europeanism supporting socio-economic panorama, starting from the Italic territory and arriving to the global context that changes and bustles turbulently. For this reason these artworks are ephemeral: they will become soon obsolete as the politics’ figurants, which are alternating in the parliaments of the self-styled international class of politics. Or perhaps they will become totemic milestones of a bad story not to forget.
The events are so fast that there is no time to find the right words on these arguments or to realize a well structured exhibition before the panorama had already changed: it is necessary to act, offering visibility to the engaged artists. And, what is more adequate than an exhibition that can be seen in all the world, wherever there is an internet access?

This is not the time to show objects of art for sale, indeed it would be good to open the speech, to expose one’s own point of view. Time passes by, the pawns on the European chessboard are changing, but the game is always as before, the Agenda is always the same. Horrible heads fall down, but considering them just incompetent would be an illusion, and under even more abominable ones are rising, all theatrical sacrificial victims by Superior Order.
It is lamented the overruling of national governments, but it is not understood that the national governments had already prepared this way overruling the people of their rights, of the control on who and how to govern, and even of the decision for themselves, to the point that by now the citizen would be pleased with just a right whatsoever, as long as seen on television. Indeed people always decided nothing, they were just lead to believe it.

The beloved, old and pointless satire never solved people’s problems, indeed, it has aggravated them, because it is just an escape-valve for the constriction, to free the rage with a laughter. The artworks of the “europawns” series may even seem just satirical, but they prove glacial lucidity and unbiased acrimony in judging the decrepit and corrupted incivility of Homo venalicus. More than raising a smile, they lead to think, and perhaps they make aware or raise the wish to deepen by exchanging informations; this is the intent that the show purposes.

The exhibition event is virtually sited in Brussels, which time zone (GMT +1) has been adopted as reference for the opening time of the vernissage.


Ego In Spectra
17-23 June 2011
Double solo exhibition

The Art of self observation
Elle - Sara Manotti

Since the dawn of the modern era, the tendency toward the self observation, toward the introspection, has progressively made its way among the artists, and by reflection the whole society. This notion would be enough to make people declaring they still not understand contemporary Art to change their mind. Despite this, with the attainment of a superior crypticism, the interpretation of the expressive contents has become necessary.

Many contemporary artists manifest themselves with a personal intimist language, or they describe a self-referential imaginary. In some cases this may be due to the necessity to sublimate passions and uneasiness, and in other to the difficulty to represent extremely deep, thin, abstract or metaphysical feelings.
In the first case, the introspection (the analytical course that passes through self) represents the necessary and one only way to avoid intolerable other options, the halt caused by the impossibility to go on, the contemplation of the past, the searching backward along the humanity's journey for that deviation from which we arrived to the actual condition. A stepping back that eventually will take to the ancestral origins.
And in those same origins there are the archetypes of the cryptic expression, which, in the second case, constitutes the predominant and peculiar characteristic of this Art that always originates in the arduous attempt to explain the intangible.

This introspective journey through Art starts in the Renaissance, thanks to the change caused by the artists of these times who redeemed the value of their own intellectual individuality, which became real in the first self-portraits in Art's history, like the ones of Jean Fouquet and Albrecht Dürer. The Renaissance is that period in which the modern Artist was born, which emancipated itself from the subdued position of workman, labourer or artisan, bringing its own individuality to a worthy higher consideration.
The analysis of its own exterior image has then evolved in that of the human mind and of the inner life, both physical and psychic: from the anatomical studies of Leonardo da Vinci to the sculptures by Gunther von Hagens, from the oneiric symbology of the paintings by Hieronymus Bosch to the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud.
Since Renaissance till today, the representation of the deep and the unfathomable has been the strong element of many artistic movements: the Metaphysical Art of De Chirico, the Surrealism of Dalì, the Symbolism of Moreau, the Blake's one, the Oneirism, and obviously the Expressionism, founded on the interpretation of reality through the filter of one's own inner life, of which artists like Kubin and Munch are masters. This journey reaches its apex in movements of strong crypticism like the Abstract Surrealism, the Abstractism, the Minimalism of Jean Arp, arriving up to, paradoxically, the extreme antithesis, for example as in the annihilation of any individual expression of the Pittura Analitica.

Surely history has been always marked by horrible and blameworthy events, and the search for introspection provides, besides the soothing for the wounds, also an escape-valve for the spirit.  That's why contemporary Art is so permeated by this necessary analysis of the self and  the human being: it is a research aimed to understand and to solve the causes that lead to the sufferings of mankind.
And thanks to the diverse approaches with which the contemporary artists face this research, no path is omitted.
There is who is devoted to the introspective analysis of self: the first performances about the interaction with space by Bruce Nauman and those about human interaction by Marina Abramović; the insertion of her own image into the common imaginary done by Cindy Sherman and the manifestation of the own inner imaginary of Francesca Woodman; the evanescent serial self-portraits by Roman Opalka and the representation of the personal subconscious of Matthew Barney.
Others are devoted to this research exploring the sensorial reality and the tangible essence of the human being: the upsetting photographic allegories by Joel-Peter Witkin; the radiographic chimeras of Benedetta Bonichi; the overturning of the concept of Vanitas that Damien Hirst proposed with the famous skull covered with diamonds.
Others else, staying between the physical observation and psychic expression, represent the human mind perceiving those thin signals with which it shows in the sensorial reality: the misty portraits by Gerhard Richter; the algid realism with which Rineke Dijkstra represents the human essence; the sarcastic sensibility with which Ruth Gwily succeeds in describing the uneasiness; the immanent condemnation of the human beings painted by Guy Denning.

Elle has participated in several collective and solo exhibitions in the Tigullio, Merano, Rome and United States of America. Prizes: American Red Cross Saturno Foundation. Studies: Istituto Statale d'Arte of Chiavari, Accademia di Belle Arti of Genoa. The thematics of her paintings are devoted to the remembrance and to the world of human history. The decay is always present, as if it had to remember the caducity of everything is alive and that, anyway, will be inherited to the posterity as experience.

Sara Manotti takes advantage of photography to represent the dense pathos that springs from her imaginary. She took part in several collective photographic exhibitions in the Tigullio and in contemporary Art exhibitions in Zoagli, Genoa and Milan organized curated by Jizaino. Studies: Istituto Statale d'Arte of Chiavari, DAMS of Bologna and Giuliana Traverso's school of photography in Genoa.


13-19 May 2011
Double solo exhibition
Abramo ‘Tepes’ Montini - Mary

The inexplicable outline of Pop Culture

Highbrow, Lowbrow... Middlebrow. Is Art a matter of eyebrow?

The lowbrow term has been used by the Seattle's gallerist Kirsten Anderson in order to give a name to that movement, until then indefinite, of artists considered of low profile by the art system. The term was coined in opposition to highbrow, that metaphorically defines something of highly cultural profile (from the snobbery way to raise an eyebrow, weighing one's own culture over the others).
Thus Lowbrow Art defines that underground artistic movement of popular descent, little interested to an intellectual involvement with the high culture or the fine arts, and which rather finds its own origins in the culture of comic strips, Punk, Street and Graffiti Art, often borrowing the subjects which are often very hard.
We are talking about a populist movement enumerating a large number of practisers and a wide and hardly catalogable production. Maybe for these reasons, Lowbrow Art is not taken in good consideration by the art system and the critics, who have to do with outsider artists characterized by the multiform and uncontrollable vulgarization of the expressive languages, which, being extraneous to the academic world, result hardly understandable.
But, may it exist an Art which is “in” or “out”? Creating an artistic apartheid, it would approve the idea that Art must be subdued to restricting parameters, either technical skill or academic coherence. It is not so: Art is in primis a way to communicate feelings and concepts that could not be expressed otherwise; the manner and the technique are just of secondary importance.
On the other hand, also the Lowbrow movement does not like the hegemony of critics and art system dominated by marketing logics.
Nevertheless, few years after the birth of Lowbrow, to be considered artists of low cultural profile became undesirable to some, therefore the movement evolved in the more qualifying Pop Surrealism.

Although interchangeable with Lowbrow, Pop Surrealism is sometimes visually sweetened and gentle, therefore more proper for a vast public in comparison to the sometimes scabrous subjects of the first, anyway preserving the eccentric thematics of it, which are represented with a pompous imaginary that recalls Gothic or Victorian style. Even technical skill gets greater attention in comparison to Lowbrow, up to assume the varnished clearness of the illustration, but always preserving a naïve appearance, often representing super deformed or boterian figures.
The style and the subjects of Pop Surrealism are often conformed to an almost monolithic collective mannerism that makes the artists adopting it sometimes very similar.

A certain degree of mannerism is the evidence of a transitory phenomenon tied to the fashion of an epoch, this is to say, to a contemporary stylistic palette. But rising upon the manner's appearance and looking at the contents in a more historicized and general context, we can ascertain the evidence of a fact: what the contemporary fashion before calls it Lowbrow and then Pop Surrealism is always that same Art of populist and naïf kind that exists since ever and with time changes only its shape. In the XIX century it was the Art Naïve of Camille Bombois and Antonio Ligabue, then it was the Primitive Art of Alfred Wallis, the Art Brut of Jean Dubuffet and the Raw Art, the Outsider Art, the Graffiti Art and the Hip-Hop culture of Basquiat and Banksy; all variations of the great revolution celebrated by the Pop Art, or Popular Art. It is that one that made its way on its own legs, because it is promoted by critics and the art system only when it is already acclaimed; that one wrongly considered outsider, because universal and accessible.

Mary, self-taught Artist, uses the visual syntaxes typical of Naïf and of Expressionism, she has a spontaneous personality, strengthened by the culture of Nature that she engraves in her paintings together with a sensibility acquired with the individual experiences, positive or negative that they may have been: in the paintings are living subjects from an imaginary which is personal as much as intercultural and unexpectedly actual, expressed with lines and colours that return up to certain juvenile manners typical of Street Art and Hip-Hop culture. Besides the vibrating and aesthetical impact free from conventions, a parallel cultural and spiritual dimension is found, a dreamed vision of the reality that can be synthesized in a word: idyll.

Also Abramo 'Tepes' Montini is a self-taught Artist. His expression, even overlapping to the stylistic elements and the kitsch taste proper of Pop Surrealism, has an unmistakable Dark Pop style: the subjects are slight and in the meantime distressing, almost nightmares, with that surreal aura typical of dreams. His paintings seem to come upon in the dark of sleep, originating from the depths of the conscience; they bring afloat some fragments, like finds submerged and forgotten in the abyss of psyche. These disquieting finds do not emerge for the simple purpose to disturb the observer, and not even for an apotropaic purpose; on the contrary because they are the human anguishes that the dualist society tries to bury under a blanket of hypocrisy and do-goodism. They set the observer in front of a magic mirror that reflects the most concealed and denied recesses of the soul.


Benna - Critical Mess
22-28 April 2011
Solo exhibition

Multiplicity and global context

The title is a wordplay between the locution critical mass, term used in sociology to define the critical point beyond which an event becomes uncontrollable, and the word mess.

Human society is the basic matter that constitutes the artworks of this exhibition; beyond the surface of appearance, they face very profound thematics starting from an intimate philosophic base. Images and concepts try to return intellectual harmony to a society which reveals itself as deeply unbalanced, cause it's founded on the culture of coercion and mystification. The human being is victim or witness of the continuous leaking of tribulations, coming from the dripping of events that generate from prevarications and injustices of which he is the same cause.

Mess also meant as food ration; and in the social tissue also food has its important role. Benna often faces with the topic of nutrition, both in its socio-economical implications of panem et circenses and in the shifting from its metaphysical value to a reduction to mere simulacrum.

Artist of eclectic manifestation, Benna's expression utilizes video, photography, painting, digital graphics, plastic art, sculpting, poetry, sound; not necessarily limiting to these disciplines.

His artworks sometimes coexist over diverse media, for example in form of video and photographs. This is a tendency that is going to gain more attention in the contemporary Art, also for the need to objectify those forms of Art which are more ephemeral or experimental; as an example, the performances of Vanessa Beecroft, that become tangible in the form of photographs or videos.
The interdisciplinary ubiquity in the development of a subject is sometimes also due to the necessity of varying or multiply the offer to satisfy a public more and more bigger and diversified; we can ascertain this behaviour in the projects of artists like Jeff Koons, who realized his famous inflatables both as paintings and as sculptures of diverse materials, as chromed steel or vinyl.
The multiplicity is a factor that nowadays has become almost necessary: the artworks are going to produced in series or in multiples, in a number more or less limited, making them available to a larger number of people that otherwise would be excluded. In fact, as the notorious critic Philippe Daverio underlined in an interview: “that century [the XVII, NdT] the artists were three hundreds, the people interested of art one hundred twenty thousands; today the people interested of art are probably three millions, then instead of one and a half or three hundreds artists we should have the courage to accept that we have three or six thousands of them.”
Or, lacking artists who can rouse an interest in people, multiply the artworks of the most wanted ones.

The expressive and technical eclecticism, on another side, is opposed to that presumed requisite of the market which prefers artists with a high recognizability. This presupposition is unfounded, as this is demonstrated by eclectic artists that have become very famous even without a strongly uniform and visually characterized artistic expression; like the controversial Damien Hirst, who indeed, dissimilarly to others, does not take part in the realization of his own artworks, commissioning them to others.
Although eclecticism, since Renaissance up to now, is gaining attention as a prerogative associated to creative genius, hence as a desirable artistic skill, it is not yet easy to find artists who can nimbly manage the different techniques. In the ancient times, where a technical specialization with a servile and working vocation was dominating, the most versatile artists, as the great geniuses Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer, were more likely unique than rare. In the modern epoch, the gushing creativity of great artists like Andy Warhol and Bruno Munari, together with the disorienting conceptual ductility of personages like Marcel Duchamp, have given an impulse to the multidisciplinary generations of today: from Bruce Nauman to Michelangelo Pistoletto, from Gottfried Helnwein to David Lynch.

In this exhibition, just a small part of the artworks of Benna are taken under consideration.
This selection, although keeping rooted eclectic features, is limited to static visual arts, as a discussion including also video, plastic and sound art, would be too complex.
Instead, as the exhibition's title elliptically expresses, the focus has been put on the conceptual contents of global pertinence, inherent to the contemporary human condition dominated by the instability which is caused by big stirrings and by the intercultural meeting/collision, at the same time exhibiting artworks that try to embank that induction of a subtle indetermination inside the cognitive intimacy of the individual.


Collective exhibition of contemporary Art
Andrea Corbetta - Anna CopelloBenna - Davide Loi - Elle
13-29 September 2007

The daedalic maze can be considered a metaphor of the human existence: each decision we make is like to turn the corner of the cosmic unknown, of which we know only the dilemmas that we encounter in the places and on the needs of the moment; because the road that we can follow is always only one.

This metaphor of the maze is valid today more than in the past: contemporary mankind faces and challenges the Cosmos with science thinking to be at one step to the victory, but it is like a blind man who makes little steps gropingly, and go forward with repetitive attempts, as much improvident as done by chance.

Surely the will is a good thing: it is the necessary ingredient to evolve, but who is gifted with it does not have to think it is useful only for our human dimension, that is not the universal purpose in the name of which to declare a post-humanist and anthropocentric war against the Cosmos.
Yes, because we’re talking of a war, since to impose oneself means to do it in detriment of something else; and the revenge of the opponent is the consequence. And as it happens in any war, turbulent periods of fighting are succeeding, and of illusion of victory, and of desperation. And soon or later, as in any war, one can win.
Or lose.

Invitation to the pondering

As it is already stated in the introductory text, surely the will is necessary to evolve, but the humankind withdraws in itself thinking that it serves only to a human still dimension, declaring a post-humanist and anthropocentric war  against the Cosmos.

To declare a war is always a vain thing, since everything changes; and if one chooses to dare the Cosmos, then one will have to fight with the change, and so much science becomes useless at every move.

The modern man attacks furiously in the struggle to prevail on the Cosmos, becoming obstinate more and more; in this battle the men enlist themselves in the batteries of the modern scientific research, trying the path of the brute force, of the systematic empiricism, ending up resembling to small and unaware components of abnormal electronic calculators.

The individual must not lose his characterizing qualities: the conscience and the spirituality, from which the ability to understand the Cosmos can spring, and therefore to know how to foresee the future, and above all to accept it.

Because the humankind is nothing but a part of the Cosmos, and to fight against the Cosmos means to fight also against oneself. One could also just remember as the humankind, with its rashness, in a little more of one hundred years, has managed to rage on the environment where it lives too, poisoning the source of its own life.

One have to pose the question if the Good were so important, when it is just for a part of the whole.
Who should win the fight? A part or the whole?

Anna Copello

In the first wing of the exhibition we find Anna Copello, that since when she was a child learned the photographic Art from her grandfather Andrea and from her father Aldo. Anna is recently carrying out an anthropological research, with an interest on habit and landscape in various cultures.

There are two selections of photographic prints: one of the two proposes some prints taken from the series "Il sentiero del mondo" (The path of the world) and it represents situations of poverty; some of these photos have appeared in various exhibitions and publications.
These subjects are pervaded of that disquietude which is a characteristic of the desperation, that is often originated from the lack of horizons caused by the intangible boundaries of the society that trap the being.

The second selection proposes some experimental works entitled for the occasion "Il mondo di Dedalo" (The world of Dedalo), of which we can see an example to the side.

Andrea Corbetta

In the next section we find the assemblages of Arte Povera by Andrea Corbetta.

Among the various artworks there is an enormous gecko that is grasped to the wall, still, as a bundle of bionic fibres ready to jerk and to attack the prey.

These are some of the mechanical beasts of the series "Mechanimals".
They are like simulacra of a Nature extinct by now, robotic golems, motionless but ready to animate.
The cloning, the genetics, the robotics and all the sciences in the vanguard are today the point of ethical dilemmas, that are present however for a long time since the most ancient mythology.
What does drive us to give life to new creatures? In order to use them? Or perhaps to leave them to destroy us?


Continuing the visit we encounter some artworks of Benna realized with different techniques, as one could expect from the eclectic Artist.
The work that firstly attracts the attention is an audio installation to be listened, in a distorted way, through an old telephone handset. It is entitled "Evergreen".
"Evergreen" speaks (or perhaps we could say that it sings) about a frail humankind, that disperses like a singing in the atmosphere of an evergreen planet.

Just beside we find an oil painting on canvas entitled "Magic mirror" where it is depicted a skyscraper of glass on which the face of an old man is reflected.
Relating the title of the painting with the sad face imprisoned in the surface, we can clearly deduce the reference to the renown genius of the fables, who in this case desolately stares at us.
Then we encounter three large photographic elaborations belonging to the series entitled "Food patterns"; in them some very common fruits are represented: an apple, a banana and a kiwifruit, that however after a closer examination they reveal to be constituted by a dense weft of coloured small dots, apart the label over them (see the detail in the picture at the side). Moreover on each artwork a bar code is applied, which contains some statistic data of the fruit in question.
Finally there is the polyptych of photographic elaborations entitled "Decrypted signs". With this artwork Benna invites to ponder on the consequences that can originate from the defection of one's responsibility in favour of a blind observance for the dogmas and the schematisms. The feature that the human being have to pursue is that of being ratiocinating, of being able to determine his own path with no need to depend on absolutist or generic directives.
The aesthetics and the structure of these photographs transform those street signals in obsessive and unquestionable presences: for the casual way with which the frames are composed, for the repetition of some elements, and obviously for the grievously surreal atmosphere, like that of a nightmare. The inscriptions bring to mind the ones in the film "They live" by John Carpenter.
The infrared photography is usually used for portraits and landscapes. But in "Decrypted signs" it does not find a proper application of that kind, but it makes use of the surreal atmosphere for the purpose to place the artwork, and consequently also the beholder, in an extraneous dimension, where it is possible to conceive the reality with other sensorial and metaphysical abilities. For this purpose the hue of the photographs is not modified after the pictures have been taken; that is a typical modification done most of the times with this kind of photographs. Instead modifications are done on the inscriptions using photo-retouch techniques.


The artworks by Elle are arranged in a route that unfolds in five parts that express the progressive sublimation of the mental degeneration.
The polyptych route is composed by four paintings, in mixed technique as it is used by the Artist, realized on canvas and a small stele realized with an ancient piece of wood.
The titles, ordered following the established route, are: "Degenerazione (paranoia)", "Ricerca (xyz)", "Scoperta (chiodo fisso)", "Evoluzione (choreus)" ed "Evoluzione (ritorno a casa)", ("Degeneration (paranoia)", "Research (xyz)", "Discovery (fixed idea), "Evolution (choreus)" and "Evolution (return to home)").

Elle describes to us the use she makes of visually decayed, spoilt and ancient materials, saying that "the decaying is always present in her artworks, as to remind the frailty of every living thing and that, however, it will remain to the posterity as experience"; in the picture below there is a detail that shows the use of these materials.

Davide Loi

We arrive finally to the room dedicated to Davide Loi, an Artist born in Turin, and active since some years in Liguria.

Loi stands out for the great painting skill, due to the study of the great classical Masters, particularly the Flemish school.
But his paintings go beyond the technique: they show a particular intellectual sensibility, that is expressed through subjects supported by complementary hints that invite us to search for the hidden meanings of his works. The artworks by Loi are simple enigmatic situations that when they are revealed, they become pearls that are as small as amazing.

Loi have proposed to Dedalo the following artworks, all realized in oil on canvas of medium and large sizes:
Noche, quiero decirte una cosa" ("Night, i would say to you one thing"), "Concreta ipotesi di gioia" (Real hypothesis of joy), "Incertezza assoluta" (absolute uncertainty), the triptych "Rain" and "Una goccia di splendore" (A drop of splendour).
These artworks offer an estranging vision of the daily normality that is invaded by metaphysical symbols, that are tangible thoughts extracted by the meander of the psyche.

Loi after the artistic high school has begun to work as restorer at the studio of Alina Pastorini.
Successively he has collaborated with the scenographer Angelo Cucchi for several theatrical events and expositions in Turin. Besides the activity of painter he is also devoted to graphics and illustration, and he has realized drawings for the publishing of didactic books for children.


The fib of Mark Rothko
When a Jew adopts a thought of Adolf Hitler

Last month i have visited the great anthological exposition on Mark Rothko, closed on 6 January 2008 at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome (Italy). Today, 25 February, anniversary of the death of the painter, i found myself writing a consideration that i had when i was standing in front of his artworks and that it has returned in my mind reading again the pamphlet.

This painter is mainly known for his numerous abstract paintings of simple rectangles or fields in which the representation is totally absent.
My consideration concerns exactly these paintings of the abstract period.

Approximately in the first fifteen years of his career as a painter, Rothko has had a stylistic evolution that has led him to a progression from the expressionism, to the symbolism, to the surrealism. Then, between 1945 and 1947, its painting has a rapid change, eliminating any element of representation to definitely become abstract.

That abstractionism will be a constant for the remaining twenty and more years of his life.

In the same time of this breakup with the representative Art, Rothko also decides to paint his abstract paintings on canvases of large and very large size.

The exposition in Rome offered a very complete panorama of this evolutionary process of Rothko, allowing to quantify the dimensions of this stylistic progression.
The show occupied up to seven of the big halls of the ground floor located around the porch.
Well: the first fifteen years of his painting evolution exhausted itself in the first two halls, while the rest of the abstract production occupied the other five.

Apart the first two halls and the explanatory texts, the rest of the show could be visited in two minutes, at a fast pace, since the abstract artworks by Rothko are all similar.

Obviously on the Abstract Art of Rothko several critique essays do exist, in this case perhaps extremely wordy, that propose technical virtuosities or cravings of the painter as justifications of his crystallization of the contents, his obsession for a sole subject.

Personally I do not appreciate the serial production, the reiteration of a subject, unless it persists just for a limited period or is justified by a conceptual reason; anyway I cannot conceive how a painter can keep on painting exclusively the same thing for over twenty years. To me such a behaviour is mere commercial opportunism.
Or the passive reiteration could be caused by an intellectual exhaustion or by a pathological apathy that has become desperation.
One could also consider that Rothko, some years before this change of expression, suffered of depression after a divorce, but exactly in 1945 he married again and had a happy marriage. In any case the desperation and the self-pity are not compatible with genius. The genius of an Artist can be seen in his multi-faceted personality, in the eclecticism, in his capacity to adapt himself to the changes of the world, in expressing his own intellectual or spiritual evolution, revealing his own vitality, his own wish to oppose even to the troubles of life.

Rothko was of Jewish Russian family: still a child he saw to the violent retaliations of the Cossacks against the Jews, to the point that somebody wants to relate the paintings with rectangles to the vision of the mass graves, scenes of several slaughters, that shocked him when he was a child.
Anyway a weird coincidence reminds me that the reality is not so simple, but is a complex mixture composed by many things: revenge, envy, contamination and respect, besides hate and exorcism.

Adolf Hitler, adopting a thought of the Minister of National Socialist Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, said:

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

Exactly starting in the period in which the second world war ended, Rothko began to realize big paintings, of extremely simple subjects and in an absolutely repetitive way.

Today Rothko is one of the highly rated painters: in 2007 one of his paintings has been purchased at Sotheby's New York for nearly 73 millions of dollars. That is a painting of 1950 entitled "White center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)"; it is the third one in the upper row of the previous picture.

Anyway this assiduous repetition of coloured rectangles had a sort of evolution: toward the last years of life of the painter, the colours became darker and less gaudy, with more and more preference for greys and blacks.

In 1969 Marcus Rothkowitz committed suicide at the age of 66 cutting his veins of both arms with a razor.

Jokingly we could even find an interpretation to his abstract artworks: they could be the revelation of his states of mind through the use of the colours; as if they were litmus papers, to which these paintings curiously resemble.

And we could even say that sometimes the fibs become unbearable and they lead to a blind alley.


Die andere Seite
Deep considerations on the novel by Alfred Kubin


Alfred Kubin, besides to have been a famous expressionist engraver, he have been also a writer; "Die Andere Seite" (The Other Side) is his first and most important literary work, that he wrote in just twelve weeks after the death of his father to sublimate the shock of the loss that had brought him to a psychological jam. In the weeks following the drafting, Kubin provided the book with over fifty drawings.

The following article is a deep analysis of the story, a careful examination of its meaning, therefore you are warned that it would spoil the surprise; however it may help who have already read the book to deepen its understanding, or to serve as a guide to whom that want to read it in a reasoned way, and obviously to arouse the curiosity in those people who did not know it.

The book can be read at different levels: as simple entertainment during a relaxing vacation, allowing oneself to be fascinated by that ancient taste for narrative excited by episodes of a mild and naïf horror, which remembers that aura of immanent curse that preceded the apparitions of that ghosts, as diaphanous as merciless, described in the nineteenth-century Gothic stories of James.
Or at a psychoanalytic level, taking those metaphors and symbologies enriching the book; up to a deeper examination of the metaphysical and philosophical meanings, that will be possible to better appreciate by deeply knowing the artistic work of Kubin (to this purpose i invite you to read also the file cards of some artworks of him that are included in the Collection at this room).


The story talks about an elderly artist of Munich who is invited with his wife to become a citizen of Pearl, which is the capital city of a mysterious new kingdom founded in the far east: the Dream Realm.
The invitation is coming from an old companion of his youth, Claus Patera, Ruler of this kingdom, who became immensely rich thanks to an unexpected inheritance. The invitation comes together with a generous money reward and the guarantee to live in a country that aspires to an utopistic perfection, a promised land for worthy people.
But in order to enter the Dream Realm a particular requisite do exists: nobody can bring with himself brand-new objects that belongs to epochs after the second half of the XIX century, because Patera does not like those tricky things of the modernity; all of what is found in his Realm, even the houses, have been carefully selected around the world and transported in the capital following his personal taste for things that are second-hand and belonging to the past.

The protagonist, accepting the invitation, will be progressively overwhelmed into a psychic and physical odyssey: early during the travel he will be obsessed by creepy bad premonitions, and his stay, disappointing since the beginning, will become a spiral of madness without escape, up to reach the final hecatomb, when the Dream Realm collapses in a earthly and spiritual apocalypse in surreal and magical shades.
This apocalyptic epilogue is caused by a quarrelsome American, the multimillionaire Hercules Bell, who comes in the Dream Realm even not having been ever invited, with the intentional aim to foment a revolt.
To the protagonist, who has a sickly wife, it has been assured that the climate of Pearl is absolutely mild and constant all the year, therefore healthy and relaxing; but at their arrival they discover instead that the city of Pearl is perpetually dimmed by a blanket of clouds of inexplicable origin, and therefore it is immersed in a ghostly and depressing dullness, where the sun is a pale remembrance.


The story is very evocative, as one could expect from an illustrator Artist like Kubin: he succeeds to arouse in the mind of the reader the visualization of complex scenes, in detail but concisely.
Who already knows the etchings and the other artworks of Kubin, will find them again one by one in the concepts and the scenes described in this book.

Kubin, as young as thirty-one, seems wanting to pour all his experience in this book, exposing all the aspects of his intellect, all of what presumably belongs to a life by now completed and that it has achieved its own philosophical considerations in a definitive way; surely in the past times the life of a person matured soon and in a quite resolute way, certainly not as in the contemporary epoch where the immaturity and the uncertainty of the Becoming are eternal companions of life.

The Realm where the protagonist happens to be is a decaying world; at the beginning it seems like a rather eccentric place, certainly suitable for an artist, but slowly it turns out a Dante's Hell where the very same favourers and conniving people do perish for their vices and errors.
The bad of this kingdom is the stillness, the unwillingness to change or to evolve, the immobilism caused by the necessity to maintain one's own miserable or great advantages; in other words: greed, opportunism and sloth.

The inhabitants of Pearl are essentially vicious or weak-minded, they have been deliberately selected by the Ruler for those characteristics. "Deformed" people, imperfect, grotesque, as initially described by the protagonist at his arrival in Pearl: paranoids, neurasthenic men, hysterical women, hazard players, hyper-religious subjects, counterfeiters, alcohol addicted people and even wanted murderers; or physically abnormal: enormous goitres, cluster noses, gigantic hunches.

The people selected to become citizens of the Dream Realm are persuaded thanks to great money rewards lavished by the Sovereign Patera that possesses incalculable wealths, the same to which Bell, the American, will be interested.
Whoever would try to meet the Ruler, even just to thank him, will face a wall made of bureaucracy, impossible requisites, false promises and also veiled threats. Also, who would try to resolutely investigate on the origin of so much magnanimity, will got lost inside the daedalic and inexpugnable Palace of Patera, living a surreal and terrible experience.

Money is the bait that attracts people inside a trap, a vicious circle that slowly leads them to the immobilism and the conservatism; just like it happens in the reality, where, to maintain one's own status in the context of the unstable speculative system manipulated by the powerful, people tend to grasp more and more at their own certainties represented by the properties.

During the story some promises of the protagonist to deepen certain important matters are not kept, as for instance the investigation on the presence of a secret freemasonry, for the happening of new and serious contingencies; this gives to the reader the impression that things does not always go as one would them to be and one needs to conform to the changing of the events. A lot of details remain a mystery, like the autochtonous people with blue eyes, the homicide of a messenger of Bell that would have driven the Russian divisions in the occupation of Pearl, or the origin of the powers of Patera.

One of the mysterious customs of the inhabitants of Pearl is the "great spell of the clock": an eccentric rite that the inhabitants are impatient to celebrate daily without a true knowledge of the reason why it is so necessary and gratifying.
The rite consists in entering one after the other, at an appointed hour, inside a clock tower, where in the inside there are some enigmatic symbols over which a stream of water flows and you can hear the usual ticking of the clock. The people prolong as much as possible the stay inside the tower, although the other ones urge to enter, then they say a phrase of religious prostration and they exit evidently satisfied.
The rite is an evident metaphor of the frenzy for "tempus fugit" (time is running) or of the "panta rei" (everything flows), that however in the dull life of Pearl it seems reduced to a simple rite deprived of any consequence for the reality.

Anyway in the Dream Realm the flowing of time time has a positive value: in another episode the protagonist has a mystical meeting with the Sovereign during which an unbelievable fact happens: for an instant the time stops and men and animals of the Realm stand still as wood statues; in this episode the Ruler promises to help the severely sick wife of the protagonist, but, after a sudden and apparent improvement, she dies in a short time.
This is to mean that the help does not consist in changing what had been decided, but just in the acceleration of the events in order to end the sufferings as soon as possible. The rite of the clock have to be seen from this point of view.

The novel also has a socio-political value, other than metaphysical: in it there are clearly facing the immobilism of well rooted European empires, represented by the Dream Realm and his mystical Sovereign Claus Patera, whose status is overturned by the overwhelming progressist advance of the newly forming empire, represented by the American Hercules Bell, who propagandizes a necessary and pressing rebellion against the abuses of the Kingdom.
Hercules Bell, in order to induce the people to the revolt, publishes an inspired proclamation where there is also the depiction of a female figure completely similar to the Statue of Liberty of the United States (which is right away inspired to Semiramis of Babylon), which brings a sentence where the tripartite motto of the French Revolution is associated with Masonic ideals.
In the conclusion of his proclamation, Bell exhorts the readers to be all "children of Lucifer", while previously he is giving the appellative of Satan to Patera: the illuministic ideals of the American are proposed as bearers of light (Lucifer = light bearer), but evidently they serve for nothing else but to hand the dominion from a demon to another.
In fact the true interest of Bell is to take the power of the Realm to put his hands on its immense wealths. The American casts disorder in that rotten world only in the hope to take possession of the supposed treasures of the sovereign Patera; eventually Bell and the other forces called to sustain this revolution will be disappointed: of the Dream Realm, that is crumbled sinking in the mud as in an Atlantean apocalypse, won't remain but slime, wastes and ash.

In this political antagonism, Kubin stays neutral, leaving the inheritance of the world, that is finally freed from the schizophrenia of the conquerors, to the pacific autochtonous inhabitants with blue eyes, that populate those lands with mystical peace since before the arrival of Patera.
Alfred Kubin, despite a troubled life and the propensity to depict disquieting scenes, proves to have a lot of equilibrium, to succeed in understanding the harmony, with a Taoist balancing and a monist understanding of the Cosmos; so that he ends the novel with the sentence "The Demiurge is a hybrid."

This antagonism between preservation and revolution culminates with the apocalyptic final fight between the two mighty contenders to the supremacy, Patera and Bell, that are turned into colossuses of cosmic dimensions.
In the fight, their bodies melt together nullifying one each other, becoming an only mass composed by million of crying individuals; the matter returns to the one, to the source, to the quiet of primordial nothing from where everything started and restarts every time: the cosmic Chaos.
At the end Patera, that represents the past, inevitably succumbs, leaving the present to pass.
In this whirlwind caused by antagonist forces there is an acknowledgement of the dualism as generator of the things (as the eraclitean Pólemos), where the surreal vision of the membrum virile, as substantial synthesis of Bell, is a metaphor of the stretching out of the Cosmos toward the side lacking to itself, an attempt to reach the other side in a simultaneous monoecy, the rising as an entity different from the Cosmos, even being also paradoxically equal.
This Love completes "inter feces et urinas" (into faeces and urines), because in the immanent duality of the Creation even the most elevated spirituality will always need a carnal antithesis.

Kubin has a great ability to understand the movements of the mankind, succeeding in foreseeing the big sufferings that the human beings will have to face. This novel offers prophetic visions of the great upsets that the world will face in the years to come. In fact the book precedes few years the first world war, describing the end of the old world of the monarchic empires that will be defeated by the new empire of the democratic republics.

But this prophetic skill goes much further in time: Kubin tells that in Pearl the whole movements of the money happens absolutely in a symbolic and quackish way, the payments were never backed with a real availability of money, that nobody knew after all how much he owns, and everyone sooner or later were getting unexpected earnings and fantastic opportunities as much as facing clamorous losses or fines that reduced them in poverty from dusk till dawn. All of this became true twenty years later in the Great Depression caused by the Wall Street collapse in 1929, which was caused right by the virtualization of money, that is to say the great economic speculation that yet nowadays it is based on the excessive distribution of money not really backed by a value in gold or by a real wealth produced by the people.

Still going further, the prophetic visions of Kubin reach recent times.
Over the city of Pearl a tedious feeling constantly lingers: the citizens do feel to be like puppets, they do not think to be able to decide their own life, which seems to be in the hands of a superior mind which decides their destiny, rewarding or punishing with the purpose to correct their behaviour.
Kubin explains that the Dream Realm is indeed dominated by this government that controls and spies every aspects of the life of its subjects as an eye that penetrates in every crack and can not be eluded, almighty and sole certainty to which the Realm's inhabitants can appeal to when in the need.
That is the power of the Ruler, who with a "mesmeric force" manipulates the destiny of his Kingdom, which runs like a creation of his mind, as a projection of his thought, as a dream, as the Dream.
Kubin depicts this monstrous power full of awful curiosity, which extends in every place, as an octopus that penetrates inside the homes of the people with flexible tentacles, omnipresent, as fugacious as obstinate, managing to manipulate the destiny of the people and the course of events.
There are sensationally evident correlations with the control of the masses, that in today's reality is performed at every level through a variegated and capillary insinuation of the mass-media and the systems of mass control in the private life of people: from the cell phones to the internet, from the analysis of the supermarkets customers to biometrics databases, from the television to the closed circuit cameras, from the environmental spying to the satellites, which are all connected to an omniscient control web that records everything.
Kubin is a precursor of what has been exposed in recent movies like "The Matrix" (1999) by the Wachowski brothers, which is a metaphor of the contemporary society, or even before in the kafkaesque "Brazil" (1985) by Terry Gilliam, and in the unmissable novel "1984" or "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1849) by George Orwell, which nowadays unfortunately can not even be much considered a political fiction.
With these topics Kubin is advising us that our society and all its problems is just an induced dream, of which we could command the end in the instant when we all decided to wake up, or at least that we could modify with the force of thought simply knowing that it is just a dream; everything could disappear as it disappears the Realm of Pearl with no trace.
In fact, in the novel by Kubin, the incapability to realize that one is living in a dream, is that prejudice, for "the world can not be changed", which creeps in the homes as an octopus and it pervades the lazy inhabitants of Pearl, who live their condition innerly, taking no care for the reality, living maintained by the dream which is provided by the Sovereign-octopus thanks to his capillary tentacles (which today we could identify in the television) with which he manipulates his subjects turned into puppets.

Always speaking about prophetic visions, Kubin reaches our days and over: the fact for the Dream Realm is perpetually covered by a mysterious blanket of clouds, which deprives the inhabitants of a healthy sunlight, seems to depict what in the latest years is really delineating as the biggest wickedness that mankind is going to perform: the geoengineering through the weather manipulations, among which there is the insane will to dim the sunlight through the dispersion of toxic aerosols into the atmosphere, with the pretext to aim to defend us from the climatic variations of the planet Earth.

At the end of the novel the Dream of Patera is disintegrating and the American fails in his search for wealths. All the wishes of supremacy have set; the individual remains, in the person of the protagonist, who witnesses the catastrophic events caused by those deceptive wishes of power; the native inhabitants remain: primitive, serene, so simple and so depositaries of an ancient wisdom.

In the period that precedes the final apocalypse, as it always happens, clamorous events and "tribulations" do happen.
At first the wild nature, from a state of calm absence,  suddenly storms in the city as it has gone crazy: animals of every species and ants of every kind pour in the capital: they are like the mice that abandon the sinking ship, saving themselves when they first perceive the danger.
Then the people too is starting to show insane behaviours more and more, more than usual, more than what would have ever happened even in the ill-famed French district: there are happening scenes in sequential progression, like in a Via Crucis, of homicidal madness, of maniacal violence, of millenarian lasciviousness, of desperate abandonment into the abulia, of cannibalism, while the Realm shows the signs of a corruption which is no more only spiritual: the mould, the rust, the dirt and the rotting wins and covers anything.

During this progressive and unstoppable disintegration, the protagonist lives an experience of  mystical visions and of spiritual elevation that open to him the doors to a deep knowledge of Cosmos, while the autochtonous people with blue eyes do assist with serene indifference.
The description that Kubin makes of the autochtonous inhabitants, native of the lands where the Dream Realm has risen, makes come to mind the story of the redskins during the conquest of North America, and generally all the pre-Columbian populations who suffered the colonialist invasions of the Europeans. When the Dream Realm disappears into the nothing altogether with all its supposed wealths, in those lands the sun and the ancient balance of the meek native people do return.
This proves the desire of justice that Alfred Kubin feels and his blame for the prevaricating greed that poisons the world; the same retired life of him, in the wild country between animals, is a confirmation of it.

The people with blue eyes will take care of the funeral of the Sovereign: he has turned again to be a mortal man; its body, now stripped of all the vanities and corruptions, and after having suffered a terrible expiation, it lies in a calm and religious atmosphere showing a sacred, perfect and human beauty. The attention with which Kubin describes the corpse of Patera, of supernatural perfection and beauty, is a confirmation of his intimate admiration for the sacredness of the Nature and the perfection of the Creation, as well as of his feeling for respectful pietas.

Kubin writes this novel right after the death of his father. Patera himself is the father of that ancient world which is disintegrating under the shovels of the renewal: in Greek pateras means father.


The novel is a bright and coherent description of surreal events that prophetically have become our real recent history. The weak and conservative calm is overwhelmed by the revolution of the modernity sweetened with unbridled dances, excessive wealth and feasts, which however bring to the over excitation, to the stress and the obsession, to an extreme unbalancing that determines the collapse of both the antagonist parts, the mutual nullifying into a violent impact of opposite charges.
In this fight, both the luciferian Bell and the satanic Patera, are temping the people with thrilling or reassuring promises, but at the end of the story the purest human being wins, unattackable by the schizophrenia; the individual wins, as it wins the calmness of the blue eyed natives who were relegated in the suburb where they have waited with patience for the quenching of these schizophrenic and destructive impulses.


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