ANDREA SWOBODAArt Theorist / Terrorist
The great enemy - Marginalisation of art as indicator of an entrapped society
The social media.
At first sight it seems that Art may benefit of the easy chances of
divulgation through the social media of web 2.0, that are those
commonly called social-networks. But the appearance conceals more
We all know alredy the negative fact, but it is not the main one, that
many artists, as anybody else, are self-referentially interested in
their own affirmation and in the moment, thinking that it is
represented by the followers, by sharings and by the "likes" (which can
be anyway insincere or given by those who search for mutual consensus)
that are instead tools to control and to take advantage of individual
and disjointed opinions for the sake of all-absorbing politics. Those
artists do not analyse the context and the evolution of the system in
its complexity, they see in the consensus an immediate reward for their
efforts and thus think to find opportunities, but in reality they lay
on the same level of any other individual in the fight for affirmation,
subduing to the conformism of a world that is aligned, entrapped,
forced, and at times squalid; that is not the purpose of Art: the
contemporary artistic sentiment was born with the need to emancipate
from the slavery of profit.
But the fundamental problem, about which most people may not be aware,
is that the social media favour in primis the divulgation of an
infinity of other things, either from the execrable mainstream and from
that world composed of the buffaloing uncritical, ignorant or unaware
mass, that in large part lingers on void witticisms, small talks,
gossips, outrages, adulations, etcetera, or even worse on the needless
repetition of mantras of the "politically correct" righteousness,
seasoned with jolly cartoons, forming a frightful mass, a cyclone of
things that saturate the public attention and encumber the minds,
marginalising that bit of good that is left with a crushing
This is the great enemy: the too much of everything that distracts,
snatching time from people, while Art is the opposite of everything and
quickly; Art is distillation: it requires time to be produced and time
to be tasted, so the true artist is often a hermit who voluntarily
segregates in order to think and create without the brainwashing of a
frenzied world. And also the true art lover is often a digital hermit,
who finds the calmness and lucidity, to enter into contact with the
thin conscience encoded in the work of art, only keeping outside the
cacophony of social media.
The life of people is already obliterated by errands, by the job and
responsibilities they are subjected to, so that the most common
manifestation of surrender is expressed with the phrase "I have no
time", to the point that in the little spare time, often pinched from
the sleep also augmenting the exhaustion, people is searching for
relax, especially intellectual, ending up in being trapped by the
superficiality offered in the social and mass media that soothe all the
prig's anguishes. Even worse, many people waste their own life in being
social-networks' majordomos, managing the abnormal mass of relations in
a condition of addiction and subjugation that is self-feeding right on
the too many virtual social relations, at last getting lost into the
uncertainty due to the dissonance of pluralism.
Into this bedlam, Art seems nothing more than a speck of dust and often
it is relegated to the purpose of mere visual support for the wisecrack
or of testimonial for the small talk. In the boundless global polyphony
of socials, even the sublime gets lost, and that does not benefit Art,
that has lost the aura, the charisma and the conceptual significance
that we used to confer it before the advent of social media, when the
information was coming only from catalogues and niche paper magazines,
on which we used to linger in silence, with calm and rapture. Art in
social media sometimes even undergoes (in a permanent way) to the
mocking comments of rude couldn't-care-less people, who are more
interested in pub quarrels and dirty jokes than culture.
Art does not deserve socials, and socials does not deserve Art. As
Bloch says, never argue with a fool as people might not know the
difference, and because as Wilde says, the idiot wins for experience
after having dragged you to his level; in fact, to discuss with a
stupid, the intelligent must go down to his level, the opposite will
never happen, not in the time span of a discussion, elevation requires
Social media lower the intellectual level of Art to the human lowest
grade or most superficial condition, in fact Art is loosing ground and
edge because is slowly going to be considered a frivolous phenomenon, a
devalued mass entertainment, at the same level of the vignettes about
Osho's philosophy or those pictures with tender kittens.
Artists please protect Art from this unfair comparison.
Since the first moment when this site was published, just while the
most widespread social network of today was timidly showing up, I
avoided the implementation of visitors' comments that was becoming so
common in web 2.0, preferring the possible proposal of complete and
elaborated speeches; for this reason I always refused social networks,
because their only reason to exist is functional to the agon for the
masses where the winner is who produces or looks for consensus, while
Art is often necessarily troublesome. And let alone the totalitarian
and dictatorial drift of profit that rules with its censorship for
everything is going the opposite direction. After all, private
epistolary relations, via e-mail, are more satisfying, where we can
exchange opinions unworried about being disturbed by hordes of oafs,
but also the criticisms that raise the debate when constructive, or
simply ignored if perfidious, all things that no "like" nor "dislike"
will never substitute.
Lastly, you have also to take into consideration the sharing, the
digital publication, of a myriad of works of art and of whole
portfolios for public consultation, especially into the social networks
but also on the internet generally, it makes the need for art to
extinguish too easily just browsing the web, which is offering an
appalling amount of material that is growing year after year, adding up
to centuries of classical art that is by now all visible in maximum
detail on the internet. In ancient times, artists could just give a
business card, invite people to see some artworks in their studios and
possibly offer some catalogues on request, nonetheless the modern epoch
gave birth to those myths which names can not be eclipsed by today's
artists, despite (or cause of) the exhausting on-line presence. I
always thought that the on-line publication of works of art should be
administered in dribs and drabs, recommending to the artists I came
into contact to publish when possible only the works that have been
sold or maybe already featured in exhibitions, not the new or never
exhibited ones, and to make their portfolios available privately for
the art operators or also on request for the public, even to the sake
of protecting them from plagiarism. All in all, the art lover and the
public must not extinguish their own thirst for art watching it
on-line. Last but not least, as I always underline and recommend
suggesting, Art must be seen and "touched" from real: many works of art
seen for the first time on the computer (as much as on a catalogue,
after all,) or worse on the small screen of a mobile phone, loose
efficacy and strength, they can not render the same sensations of the
artwork as seen from real, in its materiality and dimensions, meant as
Viva Ai Weiwei - Reference artist of our times
The much famous artist Ai Weiwei has recently been criticised for a
supposedly harsh comment against Italians and their relation with China
in a difficult time. It’s useless to go on about further on the debate
between points of view that can’t meet, you may know that already or
you can do a search for yourself.
The scornful way with which he pressed the Italians is nonetheless
extremely opportune, at least because they are guilty of sloth and
compliance to an oppressive government that has joined, as usual, with
what it considered the strongest power of the time, that is in this
epoch China. Before it was the Nazis, then the United Nations, now
Absolutely I love China’s culture, the Chinese people and their
traditions, its great philosophers enlightened thinkers, as much as the
Italian ones, but not their contemporary government. China is no more
the one of Lao Tzu, it’s a large oligarchic capitalism that’s hidden
behind the diaphanous spectres of a just socialism that is dead and
China is the largest, overbearing and asphyxiating dictatorship of the
world, their government succeed in subjugate extremely efficiently two
billions of individuals; this is captivating the rulers of other
nations, even if they pretend to be fighting China and self-proclaim
democratic and free, while they have the same intents.
Now Chinese dictatorship is invading the world, with its A.I.
technology, of mass surveillance, Australia already acquired the
Chinese technology, the Chinese government is a danger for individual
freedom, first of all of the artists, a danger for the free thought,
for the freedom of expression.
Do you know what living in China does mean? Do you know what you can
see, tell or do on the internet in China? Do you know that the Chinese
government is forcing a system of “social credit” for which millions of
people have been prevented to travel by train or flight just because
they are disliked by the government?
Do you know that many Chinese youngsters not even know about the riots of Tienanmen Square?
Think about it.
The western world is becoming at fast pace always more “Chinese”, or
rather the totalitarian power in today’s China has acquired all the
worst features of the turbo-capitalism, from the worst oligarchy of
It’s good to remember that Ai Weiwei, artist, disobedient, dissident, has been incarcerated for defending his own thought.
Ai Weiwei flew his own country, from his traditions, from what he
loves, like many of “lucky” fellow citizens, exiles in search for
freedom. But day after day he is stumbling again upon the shadow of
Chinese government wherever he goes, dictatorship is spreading like oil
on the sea surface.
Italy in few decades has become a highly “Chinesized” country, where
oppression become every day more heavy and asphyxiating, Ai Weiwei is
doing well treating the sleeping Italians with the same despise with
which he whacked Chinese government since ever.
In this case it’s not much important the message, but against who is
directed and the reasons at the origin, in this sense the despise is
never gratuitous. Italy, already far ahead with the oppression of
people, has now chosen China and its formidable dictatorship model.
Do you know that hundreds dissident Chinese artists are incarcerated,
and many more are kept under control and in fear of being incarcerated?
Think about it.
In our times, Ai Weiwei, along each one of the many dissident artists,
is the model artist, who should be taken as example by the artists of
all the world, whatever their ideological inclination is, to defend the
most precious common good, which is seriously in danger today: freedom.
“Never Sorry”, Ai Weiwei
The contemporary performance - Video existences beyond the society of images
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
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
videoperformance 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
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
http://www.exibart.com/notizia.asp?IDNotizia=51434 (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
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
Exibart.com 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 Artribune.com, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
David Detrich - System of Simulacra
The expression of David Detrich starts a debate on the significance that an object, in its materiality or its image, recalls in the memory of the beholder, and when we look at one of his artworks we surely recognise in him the figure of the critical artist, as he takes advantage of the connections, even unconscious, to generate new meanings, deviations from the common sense and the stereotype. To him any representation is never realist, but surrealist and conceptual. The object, the product from the consumerist system, opportunely reduced, decontextualised and finally repurposed, reveals its own essence of mere simulacrum, not devotional but rather altered into indistinct features, thus ineffectual, with the aim of spoiling the credibility of the same system, as it is a system based on simulacra.
As if they were warning totems, Detrich’s artworks reveal the great deception of the image, as already denounced by Magritte but notwithstanding that today it has evolved into a pervasive mass addiction.
But if the simulacrum is a material or visual representation of something, to the extent that we should consider all the art a production of simulacra, the situation is different for the meaning of simulacrum that we can attribute to social life, which is that of picture representing the status symbol and the status quo: it is the object of possession, the trophy and the ransom-reward, the good needed to define and flaunt one’s own social level or to give a meaning to the alienation deriving from the self-immolation on the altar of productivity, a compensation to one’s own sacrifice.
Detrich produces artworks that deal with the pseudo-reality, the socio-economic fable narrated by the materialist system of consumerism, which avails itself of the status symbol to induce an unhappiness that could be soothed only by the induced needs. The artworks with a factitious appearance evoke the frail structure of marketing, which is the foundation for the modern collective imagery and a conformist and uniform existential model, where the individual has just a role as actor reading an already written part.
We can find this personality of disillusionment in the Haute Carture series, that compares the two main “objects” in the consumerist imagination: the automobile and the female fashion, since ever strongholds of the sophistication, as well as antipodes of the stereotypical antagonistic relation male-female and its variance power-beauty, the one needed to get the other and conversely, in a continuous chase for possession and achievement of compulsory standards.
We can find it as well in the series of Art Molecules, that combines instead elements of the anxiety for the appearance pulled from female fashion magazines, where often the woman appears isolated, recluse in her own thinking about how to look to be “successful” or effectual in the same struggle for possession, the same she is trying to escape, but that many times causes big failures, as it is lost at the start cause of an artificiality and a sophistication that nothing have of definitely appealing as much as the naturalness.
In this way, the individuals, in the hard search and chase for the standardised stereotype of the object-good or for matching with the imagery, become themselves simulacra, they become diaphanous and inconsistent images of themselves, nice projections of an in ideal that however often hold nothing, inasmuch all the energies have been spent for the wrapping, for the coating; from this the term vanity originates: emptiness. For this reason we could consider these artworks by Detrich also contemporary vanitas.
In front of this panorama of conformism, Detrich presents himself as a fluid observer, free, prototypical, immune from prejudices and stereotypes, therefore with that ability to spot the Naked King, the system’s fallacy, the house of cards of the hedonistic world, but leaving the others to choose whether to make fun of that world, leave it or make it to crumble, or to continue serving it.
Classically, the simulacrum is linked also to the religious representation of the divine, to the materialisation of a metaphysical concept, of the divinities, and even this significance is perfectly fitting to the contemporary society, as this is dominated by the cult of profit, the one god, all-embracing, irascible and pitiless. The capitalistic consumer and luxury goods are ex voto glorified by the adepts of the cult of commodification, they are modern icons of the acts of saints and blessed of vainglory, of prophets and evangelists of the business.
As in the representation of the divinity, the simulacrum tries to replace the thought itself, causing its fall through crystallisation, in other words by materialising it with the purpose of imposing it as noumenon, which is something that exists absolutely and unequivocally regardless of the phenomenology of our senses, something of which we should not even dare to think that it could be inexistent or just an opinion, something absolute that nobody should doubt of.
In this way the consumerist simulacra become unethical physical instruments, idols of the immorality testable with our senses, of which today even Nietzsche would desire their sunset, because they have replaced any vital desire with the longing for possessing them, dragging mankind into the spiral of dependence on the Thing.
And today we find again the god of materialism pervading and invading fields that since ever are protected by ethics and moral, as it comes to affect self-determination, the individual freedom, and to undermine the bases of life itself. We can ascertain this in the “science” of biology, that today has its apex in the engineering of life, that is the genetic manipulation and rewriting of the DNA. The materialist narration of consumerism depicts the living beings as nothing else than meat puppets, commodifiable, modifiable, improvable, or directly artificially built and tailored, although with the use of instruments that does nothing more than imitating what nature already does, or rather with the sole addition of control, since being able to control means to take possession, to become owner, again and again.
In this context, the Flashcards series is addressed to the conscience of man in an endearing and apparently naive way, representing that narration leading to dramatic ethical implications as if it was speaking to children, surely not because it is suited to an immature audience, but because it mocks the same narration of the materialism which writes suggestive fables to tell to its own eternal infants, made incapable of seeing beyond the comfortable appearance that the system has produced and built around them.
In biology engineering, the simulacrum always acquires the meaning of imitation, the living being is replicated, cloned, with the purpose of creating a product that is more available, more efficient or more productive. The automaton is the eternal Promethean dream of scientism, it is the robota by Čapek, the Frankenstein by Shelley or the superhuman golem that can serve its demiurgic master-creator, he who above all sees in his creature the celebration of his own presumption of superiority, even to the same nature that created the maker, up to claim the status of divinity, given that he can give or take life.
Since its inception the system sees in the human being nothing else than a worker, the robota, reduced to unthinking mechanism which sole need consists in the lubrication with consumer products that it is also contributing to build. Also the artists would not be spared from being treated that way by the system indeed, as in ancient times the artist has always been considered a nameless and subordinate artisan worker. Since the Renaissance this premise started to crack, allowing the birth of the modern artist, independent and free to conceive, to think, to express. Yet today that explosion of self-determination is again under the attack of the materialistic pragmatism, that tries to devalue the independent genius, by pushing a comparison in the technical field with the machines, the artist-robots. Machines equipped with the so-called artificial “intelligence” already exist, and they mimic and even outclass the technical-artistic human skills. But Renaissance has taught, to the few who were able to grasp the lesson, that the true heritage of mankind is not technique, but the intelligent spirit, the thought, the fantasy, the genius, which makes use of technology as an expressive instrument, not as a crutch, and conversely neither allows to be guided by the instrument.
David Detrich hits again the mark, infusing these concepts in the artwork Authentic Simulation, that reaches the core of the question, similarly asked by Hamilton in the last century with his famous collage that started the Pop Art: what makes consumerism and modernity so appealing? Detrich makes use of the most advanced and fashionable technology, the 3D printing, right to open the dialogue with this modernity dominated by compulsive consumption, asking the same question, but again shifting the object of attention and of desire, with his taste for the sarcastic, the caustic, the critique of Dada lineage. The plastic artwork again imitates the imitation, mocks the simulacrum of pleasure, the pralines, the chocolate sweeties, the bonbons with features designed to satisfy a materialist obsession that often is more visual than palatal, or that matches with and satisfies that imagery built in the mind of the masses, supplying lubricating psychic “energy” to continue running the machine of profit. Moreover, the reference to sweets, and chocolate in particular, is not accidental, because the latter is recognised as a palliative backing to the lack of affection, which is caused by the same vanity of materialism and of appearance, so it can drive a person to addiction, to the exasperated consumption, because it soothes but does not satiate.
In this case the pralines, loosing the quality of physical food, become true objects, made with the most representative material of consumerism: plastic, that although of natural and sustainable origin (common leitmotifs aimed to prevent consumers from feeling guilty) makes them the emblem of the simulacrum culture, the worship of the product.
Of the object, confined in its sole superficial component, nothing remains but the epiphany of the narration that reveals its own nature of mental medicine, materialised in a pill of dubious effect: the fable told by the system is needed to convince you to swallow it.
We Are Joseph Beuys - collective art exhibition
accustomed to an allegorical narration characterised by an essential
minimalism, where pictures become essence of concepts as much abstract
as fundamental to the comprehension of important archetypes. The video
proposed in this occasion, with a visual syntax that is elemental,
direct and without frills, as yet in the title declares this attitude
by representing a subtle metaphoric abstraction to set up a comparison
between the human artistic action, meant as technology attempting to
transcend nature, and the animal action, which usually we consider
mechanical or determined by instinctual rules. Yet, both the superior
thinking of will and the instinct are systems that respond to external
stimuli, to the solicitations of the environment, thus parts of a
natural unique. The investigating spirit of the divine thought, that
transcends the Ego trying to reach the perfection of logical reasoning,
reveals to us that the so-called and alleged human being’s superiority
is the result of the inability to look ourselves from the outside as
actors in the stage of a compound cosmos.
The artist blanche the vidiot
who in reality is a binary entity resulting from the cooperation
between Szabina Péter and Kristóf János Bodnár, with the act of uniting
they make an operation of molecular breakdown of the reality, in order
to analyse it thoroughly. The collision of two forces, as in the crash
between particles, can break the nuclear bindings causing a chain
reaction that reflects on the surrounding matter, the human sphere in
this case, up to the enucleation of the elements of its substance. In
the refusal of conventions, they get up to the removal of their own
identity, not wishing to be defined, relativising the ego, becoming
distracted from the self to comprehend nature, both own and cosmic, in
its entirety, feeling part functional to the whole, and whole composed
of parts. The contemplation of cosmos, reduced to a conceivable
representation, like a bonsai, from being source of meditation about
beauty, it necessarily becomes commemoration of the reparation, of the
atonement, of the awareness about the load of the contemplation itself
and the prevarication that nature bears in order to be understood by
Benna Gaean Maris
many times an authentic interest for the respect of nature, not only
with the topics addressed in several artworks, but also and above all
with the attitude to parsimony, to the economic responsibility, besides
with the personal engagement in promoting a philosophic existence that
is as much in harmony with the cosmos as possible. The artist practices
a multifaceted art, often made of modest materials, not dissimilar from
that of Beuys, which does not flaunt materialistic aestheticisms or
technical virtuosities, but starts from basic concepts, from the
intellectual substance, from the themes that are fundamental and
important to the society and the environment, sometimes expressed also
in the literary form. In the making of performances we can easily infer
the strong tie with nature, as in “rewilding a plum tree”, which has
even been considered an evolution readapted to the contemporaneity of
the homologous well known Beuysian social sculpture, just like in other
performances promoting the respectful contemplation and the peer
confrontation between the human and the natural spheres.
thematics that are atypical for the general thinking, thus very
important, such as the critical ability and the human needs,
encouraging the interest for the perception of reality that surrounds
us, as a first step to promote the responsibility, the human beings’
awareness about their own role in the reality, in the earthly
dimension, in the natural sphere. The healthy reactive personality has
the purpose to shake the society from a numbness that too often leads
to the indifference toward the disasters caused by an egocentric and
materialistic lifestyle. The artist proves this engagement also by
showing she cares that her art is sustainable, both with the reuse of
found materials and considering immaterial disciplines, thus favouring
the contents rather than the container, and elaborating minimalist
formal interventions that underline the little importance of the
aesthetic appearance in comparison to the existential themes. With her
symbolical and intimistic expression she can manifest her own soul, yet
not making it invasive, but drawing it near the beholder, the humankind
sharing that existential common seed.
, graduated in
philosophy, has a personal background in ancestral contexts inspiring
the contemplation of life and nature. Her interest is focused on the
two fundamental elements in the existentialist philosophic search: the
human being and the natural world, as she investigates the relation
that the spirit of our intellect has with the earthly material
condition, an essential question that unites artists and philosophers
since ever, as the environmentalist movement implies profound religious
and ethical implications, and it starts from the first existential
question: why? Her works are dense of emotional and evocative tension;
the portraiture works show a remarkable care for an expressiveness that
is silent, tacit, but extremely telling, meaningful, while in the
scenic works we see a need for answers, for reassurance, for a calmness
made of rarefied, stable, unaggressive atmospheres, for a territory
that may evoke or reflect our own image, our own origin. Atmospheres
with a subtle expression, which look eloquent to those who can
understand them, as they already know that sentiment.
With an ample and determined artistic and teaching activity, Bill Psarras
demonstrates he is a proficient proponent of concepts and contents,
offering descriptive analyses of his own actions. Showing amazement for
the nature of things, in his performances Psarras represents the bond
between the human being that relates with the natural environment,
raising questions about the reasons of the human actions and bringing
the focus back on the primal role that the earth has in supporting our
civilisation, that too often we consider avulsed. The artistic action,
being born from elevated or abstract feelings, it often needs a verbal
reporting, thus, to prove its cognisant intent and purpose, to
rationalise the gesture that is necessarily subtle and archetypical,
the artist acknowledges the importance of the literary or poetic
element, both in the form of title and of descriptive narration around
intimate and environmental realities. As it is used in the
site-specific action, the artist acts with attentive observation and
consideration for the territory, listening to its genius loci to
receive its instructions on how to feel it a vital and expressive
space, elevating its elements and natural materials as protagonists.
, born in lands
tightly linked in the collective imagination to the most common idea of
naturalness, confirms our expectations about a nature that is
fulfilling, sincere, mother, able to host us and soothe our sadness, to
satisfy our questions with answers that are mute but all-inclusive,
satiating like an Agape, as much religious as pagan. In his works,
spanning between visual, literary and music arts, we find an astonished
gaze, a contemplation for the natural, wild element, where the tree and
the vegetation instill calmness and solemnity, forcing us to stop and
let our beat slow down, bringing it back to the earth’s pace, so that
we can figure out, we can shake off those constructs of a world that
here becomes distant, alien to the heavenly condition. A cineast
intrigued by the means offered by technology, but who still let himself
be fascinated by the verdant wildness, he endeavours in submitting the
instrument to the purpose of the respect of nature, relegating it to a
mere witness of how great is the creation compared to the smallness of
the human struggles.
An artist whose strength is that of acknowledging the fragility of the human condition, Lexygius Sanchez Calip
collocates his own action interstitially in the folds of the
surrounding environment, either natural or artificial, positioning
transversally to the weaves of a big cosmic design, of which he
intercepts and catalyses the gravitational forces to deflect them
toward the beholder. His presence stays discreet, conforming in a
chameleonic way, detecting and taking advantage from the tension, both
superficial and metaphysical, proving a sensitivity for the thin
currents and a union with the unity of the creation. His whole artistic
action expresses through minimalist interventions, of minimal
environmental impact, with ecological care, that is by respecting the
law of natural economics: the best result at the least energy cost. His
art is as much subtle as sustainable, lightweight and respectful,
willing of leaving discreet existential trails for a humanitarian and
social sake, but not being pitiless, not pretending too much or impose
on the world or the others, a sign of unconditional respect that can
exemplify and teach lessons.
Heir of American Natives’ oral tradition, José D. Trejo-Maya
responsibly accepts the duty of becoming witness of the great human
presumption of imposing and acting pitiless against nature and even
one’s own kind who took teachings and wisdom from nature, respecting
and observing it, manoeuvring with balance and in harmony, with
simplicity and reasoning. As a depositary of shamanic traditions that
with the sole divine inspiration were able to investigate and own the
cosmic depths and the spirit that animates things, Trejo-Maya lets the
lyrical rapture speak, allowing the mind to open itself to poetry, to a
vision non-conformed to the mundane decrees, going into contact with
the immortal soul of the human being, retracing one’s own ancestral
origins, listening to one’s own heart, which is the heart of the vital
essence, not the social compromise that permits us to live but what we
want to live for. Trejo-Maya gives us confirmation and reassures us,
that the spark never gets extinguished, it survives even in the void
and facing any attack, thanks to communication.
makes use of
the body to interact with the space in an extemporaneous way, leaving
her own instinct to feel the surrounding environment, as in the search
for an ecstatic rapture to open on new cognitive levels and
transcendence, turning from actor to acting-body, which becomes
potential, relative, adaptable, malleable, matter-word. The artist has
an exploratory, cognitive intent, becoming poetic and living allegory
in the search for knowledge, for enlightenment, often emerging from the
darkness of void. The contact is the leading means with which this
exploration is carried out, sometimes delicate and eked out, other
times impressive and direct like in the video-performance “Impact”,
where the contact with the crude and real matter of nature becomes
clear message of empathy with the real reality, unsweetened, like Beuys
utilised raw materials, heavy and uncomfortable, often bulking, to
consecrate their importance. The given example suggests to win over the
unnecessary fear of getting dirt, of becoming contaminated by earth,
because the human beings like everything animating this world originate
from the earth and are made of the same substance.
Art Of Freedom - collective art exhibition
Gifted with a profound culture, strengthened by an ethical and philosophic research developed in his own life, Mladen Bundalo
ranges in the study and interpretation of human society from different
aspects. With the lucidity suitable to an ethologist, but combined with
the affectionate empathy of the peer, he deals with the analysis of
human events of a bipolar society, from the pragmatic and
anthropological point of view and the subtle and symbolic as well,
bringing his narrative contribute with metaphors that can make to
internalise an intimate and abstract awareness in the observer.
Having lived in first person, Bundalo deals in particular with the
phenomenon of migration, that seen in its complexity has origins and
implications of collective macro-economic nature, but it can be
atomised in the conditions and existential needs of the
element-individuals, who respond to the fundamental cosmic rules of
attraction and repulsion, thus forming a collective Brownian
macro-movement. The Hyper-migration is not a contemporary only
phenomenon, but it is being examined by the artist from a way older
historic and anthropological point of view, dating back to the
proto-civilisations in the Indo-European settings, configuring the
necessity of understanding the caused that push people toward
migration, and then reorganise a horizontally developed egalitarian
society, as a criticism to the sociopathic exploitation driven by the
oligarchic politics founded on vertical and pyramidal hierarchy.
’s message is as
much important and fundamental as evident is the way to express it: to
set free the person from the small and big sufferings that tamper the
individual or hinder one’s serene existence. The representation of her
own body and the joy she infuses with a frank and direct gaze to the
observer are the medium and the technique of an art with a didactic
virtue, because it teaches, witnessing her own experience and giving
the example to imitate using her own person.
The concealment of the body drove the humankind toward a negation of
its nature, hiding everything that is emotional and true below endless
blankets of mystification, prejudice, pride and pretensions. Cloaking
the naked body, the dress, the fig leave that today everybody wear, is
archetypical expression of refusal, of others or of oneself, of
segregation or hostility, that transforms itself in attire, then in
uniform and later in armour, bunker where destructive forces that
undermine peace are harbouring.
Chyi perfected her artistic skills starting as a child and today she
can offer these paintings that do not end up in just representing the
gracious epidermal surface, but above all expresses one of the key
concepts to criticise the (un)human society and to bring it back to
love and harmony.
Interdisciplinary and eclectic artist, Adán De La Garza
stands out for that healthy ambition of who is moved by the irrepressible spark of freedom.
His expression, meeting the tradition of conceptual art, goes to the
semiological heart of the topic, freeing itself of aesthetic
Many of his artworks deal with the spirit of rebellion, extrapolating
the most intimate and primordial essence, but also analysing its
fallacies. De La Garza is concerned for how the many forms of dissent
could go on complying with to recognisable standards, conforming
to the correctness of debate, and thus being moulded on the shape
of the homogenising oppression that they would like to oppose, hence
flowing into a protest that is bridled, castrated, not completely free,
when instead it should be unpredictable, indefinable and explosive.
The visual and metaphoric syntax of his artworks does not look too
inscrutable and hieratic, but it is kept comprehensible even to the
casual person and it is often jovial and cheering up.
, despite practicing
activities that are akin to different art disciplines, - from
photography, to graphics, to lyric and literature, beside philosophy, -
does not like to be defined an artist, considering that belittling of a
more ample freedom of expression, and above all of thought, which is
the fundamental seed of creation. The creation of DUNE’s picture relies
on chance, not posing technical goals or professional ambitions
whatsoever, but rather responding to expressive urgencies due to the
need to communicate a sensational fact, that is - etymologically
speaking - monstrous, something that shakes the soul and makes us
exclaim, urges us to make the others know. The rarefied production of
the artist is conditioned by the subsistence of those unique contingent
moments, hard to catch because of metaphysical nature, as messages of
spiritist or prophetic kind channelled from the Akashic sphere from
where everything comes from, be whether tangible or intangible. DUNE’s
“psycho-photographic” artworks are nebulous entities, unknowable
because free from any restriction or definition, shadows of an energy
that, despite being ignored from the soul trapped inside the sensorial
illusion, is real and testable.
, devoting himself
to cinematography with spirit of research, made us familiar with his
sensitivity in choosing, deeply understand and develop the subject of
his works, where we can definitely perceive a personality. His
expression, both stylistic and narrative, characterise his works with a
lively empathy for the human dimension, in the sign of a serenity that
someone can reach living in harmony with the nature and the cosmos.
Successfully identifying the core of the worldly journeys, Fajardo
build evocative narrations of placid rhythm that offer a satisfying
softening to the existential uncertainties, lightening their weight and
relieving the spirit of the observer.
The video “Ephemeral” incarnates this sensation of liberation, as much
in the idyll of nature as in the subject of child lightheartedness and
imagination, combined to a pertinent lyrical comment, beside the
extemporaneousness and immediacy of the shooting done without the use
of a specialised equipment, that is catching the moment of
Yolanda García Morales
innate hermeneutical ability and a discerned philosophical culture that
permit her to transform the constructive forces of the spirit and will
into a continuous message of prophetic inspiration, the eternal
prophecy that must be told everyday to the human being’s Dasein, so
that to avoid that it may loose the gift of freedom, or it may become
slave of its own stillness.
Philosophy is a discipline that usually is linked to its male
proponents, but precious sources of wisdom originate from female
protagonists of any epoch in human civilisation, perhaps kept in the
shadow by their male counterpart because of envy for their indomitable
and disruptive personality, considering them far too strong, daring or
revolutionary. García combines this determination to a mathematically
exact reason, and succeed in illustrating the power and the
potentialities of conscience. The multi-awarded video artwork “MANJÚN”
is a multidisciplinary concert of artists joined by the same desire and
guided by the profound and salient words of the director: thought,
voice, music, image, matter and body guide the public through a journey
of knowledge and awakening.
does what he
likes to do: since he was a kid his passion for music characterised his
research path. Today he can gift us deep emotions of ancestral
communion with the cosmos, which is made itself of vibrations.
Thanks to the atmospheres of the harmonious genius loci that is typical
of his land, Iwamoto amplifies the love for nature and its primordial
essence expressed by the vibration and sound, which inner resounding
makes the space and the body immersed in it vibrate.
An artist who prefers the emotive conciseness to the verbose
complication, lets the instrument’s vibrant sound talk, so much
ancestral as the percussion. The sound reflects the perception of the
cosmic vibration, the devotion to love that pervades all the creation.
And the temple where to offer this prayer can be anywhere, it is the
cosmos itself, the planet, and also the solid rock is expression of it.
is a visual
artist who manoeuvres with breeziness in the production field, but
above all she is notable for a multifaceted fantasy that ranges without
limits in the collective imaginary, to which she brings always new
horizons flowing from her imagination. She skillfully dedicates herself
both to the practice of traditional techniques and of digital graphics
as well, but never falling in the virtuosity of technicality, in the
standardised or prepackaged special effect, that is to say using the
possibilities of the instrument in an essential and indiscernible way,
preserving the full control on the final outcome, that is to the sole
purpose of materialising the simulacrum of the picture that already
existed in the mind.
Having studied as an autodidact, with practice and experience never
mediated by the homologation of disciplines, Lange reveals a real
passion for the expression of the thought running rampant, that push to
share with others the enthusiasm of ranging through the conceivable.
A multifaceted and interdisciplinary artist, Antje Lindner
approaches to matter and imagine with the purpose of use them as a
narrative substance, of transforming and moulding them into
philosophical or conceptual manifestations. Lindner succeeds in freeing
from the things those subtle metaphysical and semeiotical implications
of existence, reporting them to the observer with simple manipulations,
adding the minimal artistic feat that transforms the object into
subject, into the idea, with a moderately Zen minimalism.
Her attention is particularly aiming to the relation between the Self
and the Other-from-Self, that are man and environment, whether natural
or artificial or social, but with a particular devotion to the
ecologist feeling, to the interdependence between human existence and
nature, as our lives depend on it.
In her artworks we can often find the denounce of the sense of
estrangement or segregation, indications for the escape toward truth,
the observation of Self in the search of the meaning of life, and the
mitigation of the antagonism between opposites, or the absolute good
and evil, to guide the dualist man of western societies toward a better
awareness of the cosmos and their own spiritual meaning, favouring a
meditation inspired to the principles of the oriental philosophies.
The pictorial art of Manuela Mordhorst
is a materialisation of the transcendental dimension, and starting from
the unexpressed seed of intimism she manifests her own research on the
meaning of worldly things and of life. With this purpose she creates
materic and informal artworks that reveal the states of the spirit and
of thought, the vibration of the energy that unites the Being to the
Cosmos, hardly explainable in words, but also, as in this case,
symbolically totemic artworks where the indefinable essence of the soul
combines to the absolutely perfect and hieratic form of the existence:
the circle, primordial condition of the I Am that from a dimensionless
point structures itself and grows aggregating particles dispersed in
the cosmic ether, abiding to the law of attraction, that is love. An
atomic and elemental nature that, as for the different fundamental
classic substances (Water / movement, Fire / energy, Earth / matter and
Air / spirit), grows like a crystal in infinite combinations and in a
free way, only apparently casual, because corresponding to the law of
reciprocal harmonious affinity.
The use of pigments autonomously made from natural materials enriches
the personal research of a life in equilibrium with the universe.
Compellingly using an objective figuration immune from aestheticisms,
in order to evoke the causal in the casual, the endeavour of the artist
and curator Yu Ching Tseng
that of investigating with rationality and argumentation the inner and
manifest facets of the individuals’ homogenisation and the society’s
dehumanisation. The field of action where this analysis is done is that
of the public image, the objective appearance, as an indisputable
semiotic evidence of the existential condition lived on the subject’s
body, of testimony of human actions and reaction. The investigating eye
is instead the inner one of the artistic sensitivity. The contrast
between humanity and artifice causes scares and marks, often invisible
because unspeakable, but that have an echo reflected as much in
behaviours and expressions as in the trails left by the human action.
Tseng uses a minimalist visual syntax with an immediate and incisive
outcome, like in the overwhelming video “The Wall”, where the sentiment
of freedom results irrepressible, uncontrollable, even facing the
impossible, giving an example to follow, offering an urgent and
obstinate impulse to react even in front of the apparent futility of
the individual’s action, which however reiterates the example to the
next one, reawakening the dozing collective self-determination.
video-photographic medium substantially to give shape and an
all-encompassing sense to her fundamental interest: to communicate, to
recount stories, whether reported in a documentary way or as the result
of her own investigation beyond the appearance, in both cases with a
particular attention in isolating the details, apparently mute but
conceptually dense, in their repetition and in their transformation
into loquacious front-row actors. Thanks to this ability, Walka
succeeds in giving to her narrations, be visual or textual, an
evocative power that reveals the reason behind a descriptivism that is
only apparently pragmatic.
In her artworks, the natural element, both environmental and human,
acquires an inalienable value, even when it is omitted. In the videos
“Débris” and “Rauschen” we find destruction and regeneration
counterposed. In the former we feel a mesmeric gratification looking to
the horrible and deafening demolition of the urban greyness, of those
boxes for humans, as much rational as inhuman, apparently durable but
destined to a planned obsolescence, dismembered by machines, that like
animals stage the reappropriation enacted by nature. In the latter we
can breathe the regenerating atmosphere that nature offers eternally
and unconditionally with its variable invariability and its caressing
murmur, where the anthropic elements appear alien, totemic, like empty
and skeletal towers of Babel.
Zach Koch - Incognito Truth
Zach Koch’s expression, strong of his excellent mastery control in the painting technique and his deep admiration for the great classics, evolves with decisive and big steps towards the search for more freedom from technical constraints and cultural premises, expanding with enthusiasm thanks to the digital medium, becoming testimony of the undeniably intrinsic potentiality that the malleable meta-substance of electronic matter offers to the expression of thought.
Koch identifies and focuses repeatedly on meaningful subjects from the metaphoric and allegoric manifestation encrypted in mass-media culture, making to emerge, from the so variegated contemporary imaginary, all those ubiquitous and transversal elements that are fundamental and eternal, that is by defining a common thread of the modern attitude that is anyway ascribable to every epoch: manifestation of Self and identity, pragmatism and consumerism, techno-addiction, nature, sexuality and sentiment, gender and sense of belonging, symbolism and existential meaning; aspects that may have an ambiguous valence, either positive or negative, as they are expression of a cyclothymic society of incertitude, lost in the fogs of panegyrics aimed to the mystification of the most simple truths, which possibly everyone may discover, if capable to mentally see that “the king is naked”; but also the queen, the retinue and above all ourselves, the people, or anyone who feels sovereign.
To the pre-IT generations, the visual syntax of the electronic era may seem a cryptical language, fitted with neo-archetypes that are comprehensible only by the young blood, and in this sense, we should better care about a more universal pre/post-divide than of the digital-divide. But in Koch’s artworks we find elements of continuity, of trans-generational connection, keys that are both modern and classic, which can work as access bridges between different epochs – as it is already happening in the video-ludic and manga culture that draws with both hands from classicism and mythology –, combining themselves between revolution and memory permanence, in order to fix reference and comparison points, uniting people in an all-embracing celebration, achieving the dream of total inclusivity of every individual in everybody’s paradise, in the total nirvana, in the akashic memory of the whole.
Since the dawn of the video-game and computer culture, a new imaginary made of fantasy and pixels was born, the protagonists of the modern fables have digital souls, they are electronic pulses producing bidimensional shapes and bodies, images, like spectres of a new cognition of knowledge, of the experienceable visuals. Although defined, they are bodies that can change at the speed of thought, and often they transform themselves; the shape-shifting is the characteristic that perhaps unites most of those simulacra: changes sometimes subtle, like a single pixel, but determinant, or macroscopic like the exaggerated and pictographic expressions animating the visages, or those that come to super-deform morphology and dimensions of the entire virtual subject.
Digital art, today, could be seen as the apotheosis and the achievement of conceptual art, and fluid representation of the metaphysics as well, the subtle dimension beyond the physical tangibility, the psychic sphere, where the thought is creator of shape and substance of all things, which are nothing but ethereal ideas, but this way they become visible, like holograms of light crystallised in a spectre, a simulacrum, appearance and proof of their existence, although intangible, or tangible only through interfaces between physics and metaphysics.In the digital world all converges and the idea wins, with always more chances to enjoy art also remotely, 3D printing and 2D reproduction, everything runs on a wire and flows inside the wire.
The power of attraction of contemporary digital iconography is surely strong in digital-native generations, but it is even stronger above all in the directly preceding one, which saw the birth of the information-technology and digital phenomenon, as for example even Andy Warhol was interested in the electronic device since last century’s 80s, despite at that time it offered barely embryonic capabilities compared to now.
Koch bestows much importance to the elemental sign of the digital shape and substance, that is the pixel, the same matter of the electronic representation of the picture. He recognises a sort of reverential fascination to this particle, searching for the best way to highlight its representational potentialities, besides trying to take advantage also of its limitations and alterations to make the beholder conscious of its all-encompassing power, likely to expose its faked essence, that is groundlessness, of the electronic matter.
The act of making the pixels’ small blocks’ expressive entity visible, becomes a techno-romanticism, a neo-nostalgia for times that are all too modern and actual, as since the very beginning in the digital culture it took shape this interest for the beloved and unforgettable pixel, which today may seem at least apparently unimportant, as technology flies at a superhuman pace.
This epoch characterised by the rapid technological evolution, where speed and impermanence dominate, offers both advantages and challenges, but for Zach Koch going from the dilated times of oil painting to the immediacy of the digital medium becomes necessary to confront with and represent a frenzied evolution also at a cultural level, which produces more than we could ever consume. Technology runs faster than what people may understand of its consequences or opportunities, as Douglas Coupland defined it an Accelerated Culture. Everything is fleeting and ethereal, limiting to the continuous here and now, but oppositely to the cognition of decay that gave birth to Romanticism, today everything persists, immortalised in the eternal computer file, as nothing deteriorates because duplicable endlessly, without the burden of restoration, but simply clicking a download button.
So, Koch compares and extends our own everlasting and nostalgic interest for the great classics from the past to the actual post-digital iconographic mythology, encouraging us to preserve memory of all the moments we live, that even if virtually represent the conceptual nucleus of the intellectual cosmos, and that otherwise – quoting the as much mythologic moment of the artificial replicant in the cult-movie Blade Runner –, “will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”
DEUS EX TERRA - collective art exhibition
Carlos A. Bracho
Bracho’s photographic artworks reveal such never soothed interest for
the primordial Self, that inalienable call for the nature, which we all
feel, sometimes unconsciously, because founding genesis hidden in the
core of the human spirit. The pictures, as much real as imaginary,
portray a thinking and divine being, sometimes mystic, spectator
transiting between the self-determination and the mimesis with the
nature, immersed into an environment apparently wild, and yet familiar
and comfortable, or before lost ruins of a society devoted to
materialism, thus destined to the decay like the matter itself. This
feeling, by now well rooted since Renaissance and then in the
post-industrial era yet contemporary to every culture since ancient
times, represents that perennial philosophical counterbalance that
perhaps can still save us from the disasters of a too rushing progress.
Christine Chin walks the most contemporary art scene that investigates
the potentialities of avant-garde technologies and sciences. Even
keeping a solid practicality, with visionary curiosity and genius she
looks to the future mankind, but never loosing that grain of subtle
sarcasm toward today’s mankind, with its flaws and fallacies. She
advances technological or attitudinal solutions that are socially
evolved, and yet in harmony with nature, and complying to the primal
needs of the living being who firstly is aware of himself and of the
environment, and sometimes raising questions on the actual scientific
achievements. The formal simplicity and the visual cleanliness evoke in
the observer a sense of equilibrium and bestow harmony between the
subjects and their own earthly dimension.
In ebeck’s artworks you can perceive a natural empathy with the
environment, both natural and metaphysical, and a consolidated
experience in probing the sidereal expanses of the external then the
internal cosmos, that is the universal and microcosm’s environmental
reality existing in each and every creature that inhabits it. Ebeck
successfully found an expressive manner that is transferring his
admiration to the observer, his cognizance of mechanisms and
connections that are otherwise indescribable, which put into contact
the whole with the parts, into a one field, interconnected,
holographic, and yet particulate, in constant motion. The pictorial
space is characterised by a perfect equilibrium, never vacuous and
never packed, populated by elements that are immutable but transitory,
that immediately evoke the hyperborean vision of an intelligence
capable of coexisting in sync with Mother Nature.
Thanks to the sensibility acquired practising interdisciplinary arts,
Jardón succeeds in restoring the deep communion between the human being
and the cosmos, finding the key, the link that was lost with centuries
of technocratic alienation. In her artworks the environmental element
and the natural matter are often combined to the human condition and
its subconscious sphere, in a symbiosis/dichotomy that represents both
the solution and the cause of human struggles. The artist promotes a
spiritually enlightened knowledge, a serendipitous attitude that does
not need peer-reviews, because interior and ingeniously intuitive, a
genuine and uncontaminated logic that does not need explanations
inasmuch unique and incontrovertible.
As if overpassing his excellent hyperrealist technique, Leclercq
depersonalises the naked body by clamping it in tight framings,
apparently to make it a universal territory, an ideal, a supreme and
archaic feminine idol like the Mother Goddess, the Nature, the Earth.
The same range of colours recalls the natural environment, while the
bond between the human skin and the foliage, despite a refined and
modern look, is the evident call to the primigenial and wild human
condition, as well as an exhortation to live a captivating and sensual
nature, an all-embracing chant in favour of a life in symbiosis with
the environment, a return to an ecological sync, expressed also in the
accurate use of artisan materials, beside of the interest in the great
master of classicism. Thanks to the setting and the chromatisms, the
eroticism is spontaneous and pure, not screaming or frenzied, making it
even more genuine, more human and accessible.
Abramo ‘Tepes’ Montini
Beyond the artistic expression, the passion of Tepes for the
environment is mainly personal and applied to real life, in the
personal choices and attitudes, among which the initiatives promoting
an art in favour of nature, which affirm his engagements. The almost
monothematic subject in his more recent artworks is based on the
feminine universe, on the female as a powerful and disquieting
mythological being gifted of the ability to pro-create, archaically
considered magical, a creature as much powerful and disquieting as
fragile and desirable, depositary of the secrets of nature and of a
knowledge designated to the preservation of life. His research of an
equilibrium between the human being and the cosmos starts from the
dissolution of exclusion, of oppression and violence, favouring the
defence of self-determination and freedom of expression, essential
requirements for a civilisation in harmony with the environment and to
feel the sentiment of affection and universal respect. The condition of
disharmony pervading the human world is represented with empty spaces
or sidereal darknesses, where idealised figures and subjects symbolise
the immortal conceptual model.
Ana Baer & Heike Salzer
Ana Baer e Heike Salzer aim the realisation of collaborative works of
video-dance where they share a real and real passion for uncontaminated
and unexplored wild territories of the planet Earth. Having a great
experience in the fields of choreography and art, they use a
comprehensible and frank language that through the performing
protagonists narrates about the sentiment of admiration and gratitude
for our own cradle of life. The presence of an idealised human being
who is interacting with the context of the landscape, from which he is
only apparently detached for his quality of exuberant creature,
proclaims the will of a meeting point, of a fusion between the divine
and earthly dimensions, as if it was for erasing the curse and to
invert the terms of the Daphne’s myth: not escaping from Nature, but
loving and living in it as human beings.
The video “Andra’s World” is part of the wide photographic and
video-dance project “ReConnect” that Orsolya Bálint is developing with
great taste for aesthetics and remarkable skill. The project reviews in
a modern and amusing key the great classic art, often including the
comparison between a more natural world of the past and the modernity
afflicted by symptomatic fallacies. In this video, Andra, the
protagonist dancer, is being immersed in the renown painting by Andrew
Wyeth, to replace Christina, bringing life to her. The dance evokes
lyricism and longing, a desire of taking off to unite with the natural
landscape, but the action is like prevented by a disturbing element
that holds the body on the floor: the idyllic scene is devalued by the
high-voltage lines, lacking in the original painting, which invisible
radiations interfere with the motion.
The interdisciplinary artist Susana Barbará utilise the video, her
choice discipline, to realise the allegoric narration “Al Paraíso” (To
Paradise). The self-evident subject is the return to the primordial
origin, hypothesis where an Eve takes his steps back, inverting the
events’ course, the fall after eating the fruit of knowledge, that is
the presumption to transcend over the nature, followed by an Adam. This
Paradise embodies the unknown from the future, abandoning oneself to
nature by refusing any pretence to know its mechanisms and manipulating
or subjugating it, trusting and accepting what it has granted us.
Transferring this association to technology, this is no more necessary
than the knowledge of the inner self to live in nature. In this sense
we can see the denial of civilization in the narrative elements: before
crossing the threshold, Eva drops the dress, that is the first
technological expedient with which to cover the body and overcome the
intolerable Self and to reach lands that were otherwise too cold, while
Adam abandons the dogs, that is the exploitation, the subjugation and
the manipulation of other lifeforms, the herding, the hunting, the
aggression, the war.
Piers Broadfoot has skilfully written, produced and interpreted
“Urbancholia”, a short film with hyperborean atmospheres that has the
intenseness and the quality of a large production. Broadfoot shines for
the high artistic level of his works. His films are impeccable,
absorbing, evocative and fascinating. The brief portray of the
protagonist’s life is sufficient to pull out and make viewers live
those empty spaces, those estranging absences of the urban man, that
many people will recognise because they already lived in their own. The
artificial life of the modern world can even return satisfactions to
the body and ego, but makes the soul fragile. The spirit always looks
for the absolute and the existence’s principle, dreaming the nature.
Camille Crampsey in the video “Trees shiver” offers an elegiac ode to
the beauty of nature, that can be grasped by those who have the
sensibility to catch the great and fractal complexity of the universe,
that exists in all its forms and even in the smallest and apparently
amorphous expression. Impressed by the enormousness of the trees,
highest exponents of the green kingdom, compares their multiple
morphological appearances to barely verbal definitions, thus human, as
if she was searching for a connection, a point of communion between the
two world, like a primal process of comprehending and giving a name to
the world. Crampsey, that made of this empathy a lifestyle, composes
this thanksgiving with a formal and elegant visual syntax, and draws
from the poem by Henri Michaux, author also of inspiring paintings
evoking magical connections with the cosmos.
Mirjam Dahl Pedersen
Mirjam Dahl Pedersen skilfully directs the poetic short film
“Nemophelia” that with a persuasive rhythm and a mystic atmosphere
captures the viewer like a fantastic tale. The scene is placid but
impended by an urgency, the one that the modern man subconsciously
feels facing an uncontaminated and eternal nature, considering it
unreachable, feeling the urge to free oneself from the load of a trite
untruth, to receive in exchange a truth that became tangible. The
portmanteau of the title evokes transience and passing, suggesting the
idea of letting die the actual own false condition, own fake, to enter
a new dimension of well-being, in peace with the nature, caressed by
the wind and fortune, breathing truth and touching the reality.
Written and directed by Paulo Fajardo, the short film “Pastor de
Sonhos” (Shepherd of Dreams) from one side sharply reports the images
of a landscape of moving beauty, precluded to the largest part of the
urban masses, and from the other it tells the profound philosophic
considerations of who lives this landscape. The hardness of life in the
mountains results insignificant compared to the benefits it offers: the
spiritual satisfaction facing the infinite, the clarity of a mind free
from chaos, the freedom. Here life is simple and needs are reduced to
the minimum, while time abounds, favouring the contemplation, the
meditation, the comprehension of those celestial mechanisms that only a
clean mind can delve; this is the meaning of a life in harmony with the
cosmos: to accept one’s own condition praising the gift of imagination.
Francisco García make use of the media that today more than ever
characterise the modern global cultural scene born with the mass
distribution of electronics: audio and video, pictures and music; his
expressive language is determinately coherent to the all-embracing
culture of the image, the visual tale, the rhythm, the music video,
immediate and enjoyable, without prolixity. In this way the video
“Genesis” tells a story in a feasible futurity setting, a future at the
reach of a hand but with a primordial taste, a demonstration of a
sensibility more natural than synthetic, where the human being is
facing the unavoidable nature, of his own and of the environment, that
exuberantly pulse again, making any attempt of dominating or studying
it through technology vain, leaving the being and the cosmos alone one
facing the other.
With an ample culture and a recognised competence in social, anthropic
and natural fields, the writer, director and interdisciplinary artist
Finn Harvor shows an immense media library centred on the relationship
between man and nature that covers uncountable ecological, social and
cultural topics. In the extemporary video-reportage “Greening Korea” he
presents his own direct and frank analysis on what we could do and from
which model we could get inspiration in the search for an existence
that on the one hand refuses to threaten the natural world and on the
other hand can not deny our attitudes of evolved and complex beings,
for which we inevitably cause changes to the environment, and after all
like any animal species does although in different extents.
Professor Emerita and multi-awarded artist, Dee Hood in her video and
paint artworks deals with topics that extend from the intimism to the
social sphere, from the ethical to the metaphysical, with an
expressionist style hinging between figurative realism and
abstractionism. The subject is the relationship between the human being
and the surrounding environment, both anthropic and natural, and
sometimes she proposes direct answers to the questions arising in the
analysis of their interaction. In the video “Circumference” a certain
feeling of uncertainty is revealed instead, like inadequacy when facing
the big doubts and alarming scenarios broadcast by environmental
propaganda, and it seems to raise a plea to the insensible who prefers
not to hear the globe’s laments, finding a solution to the fears in the
clarity of conceiving the reality of the present, in the hic et nunc.
Interested in the natural environment and fauna, in particular in the
fragile equilibrium and the species endangered by the anthropic effects
in north territories, Simone Hooymans composes, with a hand and digital
hybrid technique, fascinating animations of natural worlds, belonging
to a familiar yet fantastic ecosystem, magical, populated by a variety
of organisms that seem to come out from the Voynich manuscript, that
turns out to be just the earthly dimension of a larger universe
enclosing it, in a harmonious and poetic oneness. This connection
between natural world and cosmic deeps is evokes in a hypnotic and
mystic way, like an enlightenment reaching the prisoner in the Plato’s
cave, favouring a lucid meditation that draws near the sublime and the
cognition of cosmic belonging.
Kong, videoartist, choreographer and performer, show up to the
community’s attention as a peer, without presumption, his works are
questions he poses to himself and addresses to others politely,
questions concerning our existence, on what it means what we do,
creating minimalist videos, essential, sometimes even amusing, but that
basically open doors in the observer, as said questions as much
essential, to which we therefore feel the need to give an answer. In
the video “One Dance” Kong directs a choreography for the most
essential of the questions: who are we. We know we were born from the
earth, of having received the gift of a body that will return to the
earth; still there is the astonishment of Ego contemplating nature.
Boris Marinin starts from the appearance of things to extrapolate
metaphysical realities that are independent from preconceptions, and
the knowledge recognised as such, in other words he does find truths
inscribed in reason without the conditionings dictated by the system.
In the work “Greenhouse” he shows involvement and profound capacity for
philosophical analysis in environmental issues, which are too often
screens to protect certain economic policies, the unconscious
manifestations of an indefatigable anthropocentrism and egotism. The
fulcrum of the problem is deduced from the unconscious, the inner
unknown, the seed upon which an inexplicable and unknowable behavioural
knot is stratified, proteiform and fluid, black as petroleum, which is
a recognised metaphor of human greed, of thoughtless profit in
detriment of the environment, of depletion of the Earth, of the will to
rage and conquer everything, which must be shown before sublimating.
An internationally recognised expert filmmaker, Juliette McCawley is
personally attracted by the expressions of the many cultures, both in
urban substrates and in ethnic and tribal contexts: through the
cinematic and photographic lens she captures both the intimacy of the
being immersed in a modern context and the manifestations of the
traditional and archaic culture. In the short film “Cathedral”, using a
minimalist syntax and an evocative atmosphere, she makes a parallelism
between the central nave of an ancient French cathedral and the one
formed by the intertwining of the canes of a bamboo forest that wraps
an earthy street. The metaphorical meaning is evident, suggesting to
sublimate certain medieval fears that have entrenched humanity within
walls, within courts of privileged people who have forgotten the
county, by leaving the door towards the light, to let us enlighten by
the sunny nature, to follow that path. Nature is already our kingdom,
our home, and can embrace and protect us.
D.K. Odessa & Tara Mullins
Both operating in the green South Carolina, D.K. Odessa, a renowned
multifaceted director and artist, and Tara Zaffuto Mullins, director of
the State Dance Program, direct this short but cleverly intense
choreography. The evocative message is unmistakably characterised by
the title, the music, the movements and the context: fascination and
amazement for the nature, desire to be apt for soaring flights like a
seagull in the wind and to wander and admire the wild beauty of Earth,
conceive it in its wholeness by contemplating it from above with the
sight feeling to be part of it, to embrace it. The condition of the
human being, bound to the ground and with limited possibilities to
travel great distances, is symbolically represented by the bench, and
perhaps it is the cause of the narrow abilities to see the world from
above even in a broad sense; therefore science, meant as the desire to
understand, is the instrument with which we can make our conscience fly.
A multidisciplinary artist of great talent and marked analytical
skills, Ruchita pursues a socio-anthropological investigation that
examines the contrasts and the boundaries between the existential
condition of the contemporary human being and the natural context,
thanks also to the same extremes that characterise the country where
she lives, Brazil. The performance “State of stable disequilibrium”
shows a feminine silhouette that keeps the balance on a single foot, as
an allegorical symbol of mankind in the act of surpassing itself, of
demonstrating its ability to go beyond its nature. With a taste from
the most classic mimic tradition, that artists like the great Lindsay
Kemp gave to humanity, Ruchita with an essential scenography manages to
tell a story, the history of human civilisation, made of defeats and
José Paulo Santos
José Paulo Santos made this documentary perfectly embodying the spirit
that motivated the realisation of the exhibition, the ideal combination
of technology and nature. The protagonists are real and intellectually
rich people who show us and demonstrate how to live in harmony with
nature. A sincere demonstration is the best story that can instruct the
mankind; not metaphor, not hyperbole, but just a model, that Santos
scrupulously organises and composes in a clear and ascending narrative
fabric: who, what, how, why, the reasons are enucleated. Work and
know-how for one’s own sustenance are the technology, the peasant tools
are its expression; the knowledge of herbs and what nature can offer us
spontaneously for our well-being is science. The people in contact with
nature, contrary to certain fop’s stereotypes, are far more capable of
philosophical reasoning and spiritual elevation than those who are
freaked out by the troubles of the so-called progress, from which they
Terry Silvester expresses himself through video narration, with which
he can make to coexist the dimensions of the real and of the absurd,
that are the usual and the never seen, in a meta-realism with a strong
emotional tension, unsettling and suggestive. In his works the real
dimension is represented by a natural, ordinary environment, which is
the usual, while the absurd consists in the alien element of human
figures that disturb its balance. These figures are fragile,
cyclothymic, indeterminate or pathetically grotesque in their
indeterminate actions, actions that when reset into peculiar contexts
may seem even coherent, but show up their insignificant smallness and
disutility when displaced in the frank nature, facing the genius loci,
the spirit of Earth.
René Smaal loves to layer and manipulate meanings, breaking up the
banal and playing with the multiplicity of its fragments; by resorting
to the absurd of the surreal expression, he manages to show that there
is nothing more surreal than the appearance of reality. In the video
“Re/cycle” he evidently mentions the paintings with inconsistent trees
of the most famous of the surrealists, the namesake René Magritte,
emphasising that, as in Surrealism, rational interpretations are vain;
but we can look for an irrational interpretation to let rise an
environmentalist thinking in the observer’s mind: re-cycle – bi-cycle,
trees – paper, employee at late – placid nature, rediscovered bi-cycle
– disappearing bi-cycle, delay – trees are time-space warps >
splitting; here are the causes, effects and lack of solutions to the
Igal Stulbach decides to use a minimalist expressive language to set
the fundamental and iconic theatricality of the human being’s
technological gesture that stands out and imposes itself on nature.
This gesture, to some extent alien to the environment, in this case is
the art, which is the highest form of human expression. The art
represented in the video “Sign” clearly evokes the expression of the
great modern artists such as Pollock or Appel who used the sign as a
fingerprint of their own Ego, but also the geometries of Mondrian. This
art archetype is superimposed on the natural element par excellence:
water, the source of life, characterised by fluidity, the ability to
change and adapt. So the human being must be: fluid, able to conform to
the environment, not vice versa, to let the two worlds coexist in
Recently graduated in Visual Arts, Kat Vivaldi shows multidisciplinary
attitudes and thanks to her expression of experimental nature she
creates works in which she investigates the possible applications of
new technologies and new media, yet never limiting to technicality, but
pursuing subject and concept. In the experimental video “I” the skin
surface of the subject is magnified, which she conceptually associates
with a terrain, a form of rough and organic indefinite matter,
comparing the human being to a macrosystem, like a galaxy or a planet.
Here the limit of technology is revealed: the title I is opposed to
what the shooting instrument sees (an organic surface); where our
thought can see a human being, because we know what it means to say I
(what makes us conscious), the machine sees instead just an impersonal
organic landscape. The eye is the key to a final reading: the mirror of
EGOCRACY - Collective art exhibition
the artworks of David Detrich we can identify a juxtaposition between
the neutrality of the pure, fluid and curious observer, who is gifted
of a free and uncrystallised thought, and the representation of the
fake superficiality of society, that is the appearance of the
consumeristic objects used as lure by the hedonistic world, which feeds
the ego alone, with gratification only for the senses, but
inconsequential and ending in itself. This comparison has the purpose
of facilitating the revelation of a false-reality, what is normalised
and propagandised by the economic system of materialism and consumerism
through status symbols and induced longings. The synthetic look of the
represented objects, along elements recalling the digital world, makes
the beholder to conceive the inconsistency of that elaborately phony
world, which is inculcated by media and marketing in the imaginary of
people, whom existence and actions are dominated by conformism, are
ruled by the expectations of society, relegating the person to the
enactment of a theatrical role, a play on the stage.
Ines Maria Krämer
Her research is based on the centrality of the human being and those
elements connected to the diverse states of the emotional sphere. The
artist’s pictorial gesture represents in a concise and iconic way the
existential questioning of the individual, whose hieraticism is
mitigated by a vibrant chromatic code, which reinterprets the
Expressionism in a modern key. The confident and essential strokes
recall the clear and often caricaturist style characterising Street Art
and contemporary Pop.
A classic subject as the portrait, here becomes something extraneous
for the superimposition, or well imposition, of an external element,
alien to human nature, that the artist identifies also in the
technological instrument, in the electronics, in the virtual existence,
applying it in order to transform the subject into a totem, omen and
admonishment of the progressive disintegration of human essence, of
mankind. In this exogenous element we can espy the prodromes of an
incipient transhumanism, which is heading to the surge of an eternal
and immutable Ego, as totalitarian as much pointless.
The large artworks by Lyhne help us to come into contact with the
essence of the subject, knowing its story through the close examination
of its surface, which represents the register recording its life and
the signs of consumption, the wrinkles of facial expression, the scars,
but also the way the subject is genetically inclined to appear, or
wants to look like, its relational attitudes. Lyhne develops an
interest for the most direct and primitive physicality, representing it
as coarse surfaces that make both people and still objects seem raw and
earthy matter, but with a vibrant vitality and an identity that is
revealed in the self-observation, either Selbstbetrachtung or
narcissism, turning them into animal bodies, animals with a
well-defined and determined character, rich of experiences, narrating.
In this sense, it is clear the link between the animal and the vegetal
bodies, as suggested by the painting entitled “Mammal”: the initials
carved on the bark are both an allegory of the human anthropocentrism,
in relation to nature or their counterparts, and a metaphor of the
wounds in the flesh and the soul, almost always of the others,
inflicted by the hegemonic self, that is the one craving for possession.
Laura Migliorino cultivates a deep interest in the investigation of the
emotional, existential and social aspects that permeate the life of
individuals, thanks to an analytic taste for aesthetics and a personal
sensibility grown in the field of photography during a fruitful
exhibition curriculum and as teacher.
In the photographic series “Absentia”, the house, the dwelling,
primordial metaphor of the human body as an ark enclosing the soul and
the personality, is represented in its aspect of abandoned vestiges.
Like a skeleton, a fossil artefact, the house tells us about the
lifestyle of its inhabitants, stories of an existence attracted by the
appearance of things, which is suggesting an attachment to the culture
of the status symbol and a more than privileged life when compared to
the longings of soul, with the humble and minimal necessities of the
living being as a creature animated by the intellect or the spirit. We
take for granted that we need all the things that society taught us or
induced us to desire, but, all those things, once abandoned, appear for
what they are: a waste of resources and proofs of all the time
subtracted to the elevation of the spirit, in other words the
inhabitant of the “house.”
The paintings by Amie Neri are able to establish an immediate empathy
with a public gifted of a special sensibility for the more fundamental
questions of philosophy linked to existence, that in the psyche
determine the aptitudes and the behaviour of an individual, as a
response to the personal experiences in the relation with others.
Thanks to a suspended, oneiric imaginary and to chromatisms that favour
introspection, the paintings induce clarity and predispose to
meditation, the temporal pause where to linger observing, beyond the
painting, oneself. Subdivided in elemental series, the artist’s work
deals with specific implications of the relationship, the condition,
the causes, and analyses with a therapeutic intent the trauma of the
endured spiritual scars. It is no coincidence that the subjects
animating the “emotional rooms” of her paintings are children, who are
too often victims of that subtle violence, not always physical, but so
common as much as considered normal, that would like to
annihilate them, bending their natural personality to the economic
hegemony of a society made in the imagine of subjugators. Those
“children” are also among the adults.
Alexandra Tudosia creates paintings where matter clearly has a central
role, but it is found in two antithetical and complementary forms. The
first one, the most obvious, consists in the thematic subjects and in
the selection of materials used to represent them; the second one, more
subtle, is related to morality and the philosophical considerations on
the materialist attitudes of those human beings who, entrapped in
pragmatism, can not perceive the cosmos in its metaphysical complexity.
Matter, utilised or represented, becomes admonishment, for it is
relating to earth, meant as soil that receives the remains of life, as
decay, deterioration or oxidation. In the paintings animated by
figures, the persons are grotesque or deformed, sometimes compared to
rats committing the most visceral actions, for whom the artist does not
conceal a proud and evident reproach, for both the ones laying on the
privileges granted by the elites and the hoi polloi ruled by baser
instincts, both joining the same ethic misery.
Hanwen Zhang pursues a conceptual and analytical research path on the
main elements of social existence, such as the identity of the
individual, the role and the belonging. The artist is conscious of the
pragmatic approach of man in the relation with nature, of the
interpretation of the surrounding environment done by the individual
through an egocentric filter, essentially utilitarian or opportunistic.
Because of this limited and dichotomic relativism, the individual
excludes the possibility to conceive a metaphysical reality, beyond the
appearance of social relations. The photomontage series “A Real Fake
Artist” is a natural consequence of this research. Utilising 3D
computer graphics he recreates a double of himself, as actor that can
also represent that Self of whatever other individual, or the one that
we may encounter through telematics, in the vanity fairs of social
networks, those electronic non-places where there are hanging
multitudes of egos born to beg the appreciation of others, in the
mutual trade of consensus and sharing, because educated to fake their
own role, to build up their own public image.
In this series the virtual double represents the image of oneself, but
it appears displaced, it does not coincide with its supposed position,
for the purpose of creating the surreal Dada paradox, that is the
breach opened in the fiction of the “reality”, from which to escape.
EGOSOPHY - Collective art exhibition
The personality may be innate, but strengthens with the experiences,
above all when they put us on the test, so they give us the chance to
increase our inner force. Parul Bouvart, through the sublimation
process that is possible thanks to the artistic expression, by using
either a symbolism made tangible with evocative objects and materials
beside the more direct eloquence of performance, strengthens her
resistance and personal determination, sharing with others those
essential steps in the human journey, with a particular stress on the
female condition as well, up to the composition of a totemic
In other words, Bouvart’s variegated expressive context is based on the
ability of turning the sorrow and the circumstances of interdiction
into sapiential matter, that is spiritual nourishment. It is like a
shamanic healing process practised by going through the metaphysical
dimension of mind, where the body represents just the gate of access.
Cyborg Art Collective
The artworks of Cyborg Art Collective, despite centred on the
employment of technologies such as virtual or augmented reality,
artificial intelligence, new media and telematics, are far from
supporting a transhumanist evolution, that is the enhancement of human
abilities and the reaching of a man-machine singularity, instead they
offer the chance to estrange the ego, to relativise the self, the
person, that in the human and earthly dimension has familiar sensory
features, visual, auditive, tactile, but when seen through other
cognitive paradigms, it would look different, alien. The matter is
nothing more than a structure made of electromagnetic particles, a
cloud of significant data. This exercise of self-alienation is
necessary to catch who we are and who we may become, it is the
revelation of the Plato’s cave that gives us the chance to come out, to
expand the bounds of our thought.
In nature, we can observe the omnipresence of repetition, which is
normally suppressed totally from our perception. The similarity between
specimens or individuals of the same kind, whatever crystals, daisies,
insects or people, represents a fractal mathematical model where the
repetition is at the base of the cosmic synchronisms of a holographic
universe, which is taking us back to mystical concepts such as Word of
God and Creation, either divine or demiurgic. Gabriel Embeha loves to
investigate those aspects of the least obvious reality of the universe,
either from a visual-material and verbal-conceptual points of view,
placing the alleged unchangeability of our ego in front of the
destabilising vision of a split and reaching an infinite replication by
superimposition. As observing one’s own image reflected in the mirror,
but seen from the back, one is lifted to the awareness that we are not
unique, but multiple, shared. Our ego does not belong to an exclusive
domain, but it is part of a shared ancestral system, either at
metaphysical and cultural levels.
The strong emotive impact characterising Valentina Lari’s artworks
arises from that frank and disenchanted acuity of those who are gifted,
or have the sensibility acquired with experiences, of being able to
catch the deep psychic essence of the human being, being able to
observe it as an actor on the metaphoric stage of the existential
With this uncommon perceptive ability it is possible to see those
aspects that are often obscure, as the world of a superficial society
prefers to deny, omit and repress them, like ghosts to be forgotten,
but that coexist in the same space and share the apparent reality of
everyone, in every moment in life, the subconscious to which everybody
soon or later will have to deal with.
In the photographic pictures of her repertoire, as much variegated as
consistently characterised, the technical and composition competence is
not virtuosity, but it permits the artist to reach that mesmeric
strength that captures the beholders, pushing them to live the scene,
estranging themselves for a moment, necessary condition to reconsider
one’s own certainties and self-confidence, and consider the others’
The artistic dimension of Nikolaos Mantziaris originates along with a
fervid personal urge to pose questions on human society, while both
grow with the accumulation of philosophical observations raised facing
the evidence of acts rather than the justification of reasons.
This inclination to judge the society by its facts is evidently due to
the scientific education of the artist and his knowledge of the
material tangibility of human existence, of its potential but also of
its flaws and physical transience, an inclination that is showing also
on the meticulous care for the materials used fin the creation of the
Mantziaris reaches a vision of the human condition that is
all-embracing, lucid and impartial, necessarily merciless since
empathic, taking on the responsibility to keep the social debate and
the chance to change the world alive. Artist and person coexist as
proof of the obsolescence of the dichotomy between sacred and profane.
Tim Rudolph acknowledges the great efforts of the philosophic mind to
spread in the collectivity, which is kept profane and is dominated by
the mass culture that mystifies every access to the knowledge of
cosmos, this is to say it conceals the exit from Plato’s cave.
Rudolph understands the fundamental role of the word, as natural tool
of divulgation, but at the same time considering it an imprecise and
distracting protocol in representing the inner complexity of mental
pictures, which are interconnected more through symbolic similitude
than by verbal association, to the point that explanation schemes and
logic diagrams are needed, as in the assembly of a planetarium of
The outcome of the research, as fundamental conceptual summary, is then
transposed on common found materials, as emblematic simulacra of the
materialist society, over which the artist, refusing rhetoric
aesthetics, intervenes with the use of graphical aesthetics, that
confers a taste of otherness to the conceptual elements passed to the
collectivity, to evoke the need for a cognitive effort and for
Stefano Sansoni (Orma)
In the artistic expression of Stefano Sansoni, known as Orma, the
highest thought that conscience may develop is something so essentially
intimate and transcendental that it can not conform easily to the
interpretation passing through the interface of a communication
protocol like language or writing, neither to the own individual filter
of who has received it.
In his artworks we find complex traces and evocations that go beyond
the chances offered by images, which resort to the visual and tangible
experiences of life, but not dissolving in the abstraction.
Those traces, not having the limit of representation, assume multiple
appearances: unintelligible phrases, ideograms and cryptic marks,
fields, shapes and doodles; they are mnemonic clues seemingly coming
from the Akashic dimension and remind us about the existence of an
entire cosmos beyond our sensory shell, helping us to expand our
perception outside the Id.
Andrew Shaw instils in The Silent Academy the perfect ideal of thought
sharing, free from any interest or hypocrisy, since it disregards the
separation between herald and receiver. The most noble concern of the
human being is to do good deeds to others expecting nothing in return,
and the outline of anonymous cooperation between different artists
inspires such vocation.
The concept, according to which, if we want to live in a better world
then we must apply ourselves to make it better, is applied in the
project explicitly, going beyond the simple interaction
actor-spectator, asking the beholder to participate, to enter into the
artistic and creative process, to feel free to carry out that change,
at least in one’s own mind: to improve oneself assures already that
improvement to the world.
The Silent Academy was born in the digital natives’ epoch, where the
multimedia means are always more spread among people at any social
level and worldwide, but beside utilising social media the artist
develops on-site projects, proving awareness about the dangers of the
inhumanity caused by virtuality.
VITA TUA, VITA MEA - Art and Interrelations
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.
VITA TUA, VITA MEA
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Abounaddara collective is very active in the safeguard of the past,
proceeding with the building of a sort of visual archive of local
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ego In Spectra
17-23 June 2011
Double solo exhibition
The Art of self observation
- 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
, 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
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
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
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
Collective exhibition of contemporary Art
- Anna Copello
- Davide Loi
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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