Explosions in the sky
November 8-21, 2011
Photon Gallery, Križevniška ulica 10, Ljubljana
Opening view: Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7 pm
Curated by: Vesna Bukovec, Metka Zupanič (KOLEKTIVA)
The main characteristic of Aldo Giannotti’s works is the deconstruction of iconographic images, representative and semantic clichés as well as stereotypes of various cultural environments. The artist refers to his work as “an experiment to shift paradigms”; he is interested in new and different interpretations of set patterns and established role models. This far, his oeuvre may be considered in two ways: on one hand, Giannotti generates situations and narratives that re-visit social structures, power relations, conflicts of interest, etc. In these stories, he is simultaneously the actor, director and narrator. He is a sort of a contemporary story-teller who uses improvisation, transformation and inscenation through the words, images and sounds of performative video work. One the other hand Giannotti’s art is deeply contemplative, but at the same time socially engaged and produced as a reaction to social and political events in order to clearly and publicly communicate his critical view of the world.
The installation Explosions in the Sky, exhibited at the Photon Gallery, combines two videos and an actual object — two hand grenades carved from marble. The video entitled Ciclo Continuo presents an artistic action in a public space as the artist’s revolt against the social and political situation in which the individual is driven to the point where — totally helpless — they can do nothing but “scream”. Giannotti placed a hand-cranked siren on the balcony of the Palazzo Ducale in Massa (Italy) and invited local inhabitants to vent their feelings and anger through operating the alarm. A symbol of authority and political power, the offices of the Province and Prefecture ‘fall’ in the hands of the populous who are thus able to alert their fellow citizens to the danger of authority (an allusion to the current political situation in Italy).
In the second part of the installation — the video entitled Masclet a crowd of people observe an event. Their initial enthusiasm and fascination transform to apathy due to sounds which become ever more alarming. These noises might well be the sound of explosion and war, though they are actually merely those of a public spectacle — fireworks. The situation resembles the reaction of people while watching the television news, blindly gazing at images which no longer move them to any feeling of a pain, but rather the opposite — media images have become mere images of spectacle. The crowd and their facial expressions make us ask ourselves how the individual can possibly exert any influence on the political and social system in this era of increasing apathy, which is itself symptomatic of the social disease of the modern world. War, suffering and social turmoil happen far away, and we pretend they have nothing to do with us. Through a minimal gesture the artist thus creates an effective sense of ambivalence, and simultaneously leaves to us the possibility of various interpretations of his work. Such an approach is also one of the principal features of Giannotti’s artistic endeavours. (Metka Zupanič)