STANZE VI edition

Borrowed identity

Multimedial project of Wanda Nazzari
By Ivo Serafino Fenu

Giulia Sale - Pietrolio - Gianni Nieddu
Christian Chironi - Alberto Marci - Gianfranco Setzu

Citadel of the Museums of Cagliari, Piazza Arsenale
From May 20th until Juny 5th


That one about the Identity, in the time of the fragmentation and/or of the crush of the I, of the being and not being, of the being one, no one and one hundred thousand, of the multiple identities, indefinable and exchangeable, ambiguous and elusive in relation to distinctions and hierarchies of the society or, vice versa, of the schizoid and not remodular identities, in last analysis, this one about the Borrowed Identity or about the loan of identity, became one of the theme that is the most delicate, the most controversial and necessarily the most debated in the contemporary art.
In this context, the theme of the identity and, in a wider sense, of identity feeling seen as a secure landfall, as a privileged place of the social recognition, of recognizing first in the collective sphere and then in precise subjective models, did not can not enter in crisis. The deflagrating reality and the roles are mixed up, the certainties- those few survived to relativism devastating for some, fertile for others-, sway and dissolve in some colored and chaotic kaleidoscope where games of reflection, refraction and distortion of personality become more real and coercive of the reality. Inevitably concepted as “identity” and the same “dialectic of the recognition” are subverted, changed and ambiguosly polluted.
And the body, in its material concreteness and its symbolic valence of “place” of the identity, is felt always more as a cloth, but not in the classic and Christian meaning of involucre or covering of the soul, but in the radicalization of the cosmetic surgery, of the makeup, of the bodybuilding and of the more or less permanent alterations of the tattoo, so that, by now, “the real opposition is not between soul and body, but between life and cloth” (M. Perniola, 1994).
Could the art remain insensible to a little morbid and certainly very voyeuristic charm of phenomenons characterized by the expropriation and by the loss of the identity, by the defloration of the individual biographies and by their “delocalization” with the relative fall in the knots of spatial contiguity and of territorial community, where cohabit and intertwine local and global, where dominates an “I” always more poly-identity, in continuous process of scrapping and precarious redefinition?

chironi02 In the work Lina and in the performance Singer Cristian Chironi brings back the theme of the identity to extremely difficult dimension addressed to the recovery of some broken memory: recovery of places and of collective identities, recovery of persons through dangerous transfer tensed to the ritual evocation of dear dead persons. The research of a dialogue with one that was and that, for the imponderable games of the destiny is not here anymore, is entrusted to the body, to fisicity loaded of implications and of psychoanalitical facings that bring to various and proper loans of identity. His interventions place oneself as “acts” or “dolorous mysteries” of corporal liturgy mindful of Gina Pane and come to poetics of the memory that can approach the work of Christian Boltanski, about which shares the consideration that “during the childhood we accumulate a lot of images and for all the life we proceed to recognize them. Things or feelings that they are, we will never discover nothing. We do not do other that recognize and, through the proper culture,  comprehend”. Chironi relates in his works and his performance the whole relation between the one and the all, the individual and the collectivity. But the attention about the social and its dynamics of relation with single- coercive and protective in the same time-, is cancelled in favor of an analysis that is autoreferential, fought inside the domestic microcosm in some painful dialogue between the I and proper phantoms. Any still, overexposed by the process of the mnemonic recovery, is placed as fragment of cathartic rituality, a deposit of memory of the strong symbolic valence. And work after work, intervention after intervention, in spite of the showy autoreferentiality or, maybe, thanks to it, the female icon of the mother assumes a character that is always more connected to general imaginary that overtakes and empty of sense the pure autobiographic fact. And if the point of reference is the memory- in this point indifferently individual and collective-, the memory is Mother, primordial mother, mother to recover, dogmatic and absolute.
pietrolio01Pietrolio, from his first apparitions in public made of the vizard, of the ambiguity, of the exchange and of the loan of identity, characterial elements of artistic research that range over from the painting to photography, to performing installations. The artist have fun instilling doubts about moral and sexual certainties that make a cuirass to so-called normality but, mostly, putting in discussion the voyeurism, of which is full our life, that takes us inevitably to be at the same time actors and spectators. In the two oils SS, menacing acronym of more reassuring and ironic Sacred Cheese Slice, Pietrolio insinuates in the domestic chasms of the do-it-yourself sex opened in the era of internet and of the variegated world of the erotic chat-lines and watch them, using photographic medium and an elementary process of visoring, the work Bugiardini. Its protagonist is VIKINGUR, gay icon of the musclebear genre, of the massive musculature, shaven and tattooed according to the stereotypes of the genre of belongings and which site is visitable in network and from the artist submitted to manipulative and decontextualizing treatment. The evocation of theme that is admittedly and openly gay, as that one of the “bears” - between the most connoted in the category and used in the practices of the sadomasochistic nature with fetish lapels and leather accessories- provokes attraction and repulsion. The matching to thematic and situations of domestic and reassuring life amplifies the aforesaid effects. Improbable and true in the same time, photos are loaded with ambiguous valences. The everyday life inflicts mortifying and castrating dimension to the gay icon, private of its features of perversion and sexual transgression, as that last insinuates elements of ambiguity in the quiet run of domestic safety, often- even if it is also masked – place that is no deputy of perversions and sexual transgressions more or less consentient. The bugiardini, playing with the power of translation of original meanings of the image, have a sure deflagrating and debunking effect both for the gay icon and for the protective and contaminate family life, for the certainties of the spectator. An effect that Pietrolio reproposes also in the twin work Get Well Soon, where the same treatment is reserved to bridgehead of the art of all the times, Arnolfini Spouses of Flemish Jan van Eyck, also it debunked and made “alien” of the incongruous presence of a Manga monster, to establish dangerous short circuits between art and life, between esthetic operations and everyday life.
But the life or, better, dramatic epilogue of the death, reaffirms its dominion, brutally and without discounts, in Talk Show, photographic series where the subtraction of the identificative “sign”, the body, creates a stunning void that takes away a breath. The same title, of the bitter irony, puts beside the useless and vain jabber of the television salons in the silence of the “places of the pain”, in the case in point waiting rooms and corridors of the hospitals or shabby anterooms of the morgues, places of stopover and of times scanned by some very long sequence of seconds that push, slowly and inevitably, toward an announced tragedy. Slovenly and silent places populated by empty chairs and abandoned things, evoking also slovenly, forgetful death that is indifferent to destiny of many subtracted identities.

setzu01Also the work of Gianfranco Setzu adopts techniques and themes where predominates the sensory and cultural displacement directed to make the spectator fall in ambiguous and dangerous vortex that smashes usual polarities of “normality” /” diversity” or, better, that makes emerge deep traumas of the collective and individual conscience. True and proper icons of the discomfort exposed for the veneration and popular virtue. Accurate, aseptic images, product of maniacal manipulative intervention, render perfectly the sense of this limbo of the impossible proposing for veneration symbols of the contemporaneity that made, in the era of the cosmetic surgery and of the experience of the mutation, true and proper project of redefinition, not only facial but even identitary. Refined quoter, Setzu makes his the poetics of the violated body and its decomposition, empty simulacrum of immanent temporary that from Francis Bacon, passing through the irony of Jeff Koons until the last experiences of Damien Hirst go through, as a disquieting and macabre red spread, esthetic contemporary experience, but offers it with a gracefulness and delicate perversion of oriental sensibility made in Japan.
In Suppose Me and in Can Use Me, the artist realizes two enormous wall cushions with digital prints in high resolution that represent, in the first winking and in the same time scared Michael Jackson, in the second smiling and flourishing Japanese pinup. “Devotional” cuscions on which you could feel a will to kneel for meditating, so “innocent” and “holy” appear proposed images, even if hidden meanings are disquieting and “nameless”. From the one side Jacko, “against nature” for antonomasia, pedophile-child, black turned white and, for this, repudiated by blacks and whites, feminized male that escapes from more canonic distinctions of sexual roles in continuous violation/variation of identity, from the other side Japanese erotic doll, “curvaceous” according to unattainable occidental esthetic canons, turned imperatives for the oriental youngsters, so much to impel them to resemble with solid interventions of cosmetic surgery and so much to induce the government to remove it from the commerce. Sideways, it is a paradox of Occident in crisis of identity and in the spamodic research of models to anchor on, from the other side, of Orient that tries to imitate it and self-destructs losing identity and origins. Far from the expressing of any judgement of moral nature Setzu hallows and transforms his “negative heroes” in contemporary martyrs, in the era of mass beatifications, raises on the altar the phobias and the idiosyncrasies of contemporary post-society, local and global in the same time and absorbed in only and homologated media worms.

marci02Different, for many ways still immature even if loaded of interesting intuitions, is the answer that very young Alberto Marci gave to questions posed by elusive theme of the identity, despite the fact that also he, as Setzu, draws the polymorphic world of the media. Already skillful in the use of the techniques of digital manipulation of the image, he finalizes them to creation of visual paradoxes now obscure, now ironically impudent. It is peculiar of these manipulative practices to orientate toward redefinition of the concept of identity that, also in its virtuality, often anticipated phenomenons of mutations and transformations of the reality. In his works the inspiration to Toscani, to Galliano, to Basilè and to many proposals of the Italian art of first nineties or, at least formally, to certain violence and iconic pregnancy alla Andrès Serrano, is evident. Also he, together with not disclaimed fathers, redesigns his visual world shaping it on the imposed millionaires of religious iconography contaminated by acidly pop language, conferring ambiguously sacred aura to not sacred. In the work White Eyes- Labyrinths, for example, evokes a Christ without Renaissance composure: ostentatious body, empty simulacrum made esthetically seductive as baroque icons of the death but here polluted and read again according to cryptic and redundant stereotypes of musical video-clip.
Also the slight irony of Nothing to Say is only apparent: bouquet of dentures shrink-wrapped as innocuous and tasty candies. But they are placed- in the crude and not hidden belongings to single identities, about which remain evident traces-, as inexorable testimonies of the transiency of the human existence, true and proper memento mori or modern vanities of seventeenth-century memory, as mocking mechanical prothesis, silent and more longevous of cancelled identities to which one day will belong.

sale04Giulia Sale, makes from incommunicability the strong sign of the research turned to the annulment of the identity through rare visual operations obtained by way of “subtraction”. In true and proper poetics of the absence, her personages act as unconscious victims of malicious toy theatre: looking for the author and/or for the negated identity, fluctuate as ectoplasms without this hic et nuc that could make them real. In this sense the work Self-portraits is placed as refined and complex conceptual operation where the artist cut out the role of occult director, apparently and “naturalistically” impersonal and yet pervasive and omniscient. To the real identities prefers fictive identities, that literary and more or less imaginative delivered from the minds of novelists of the twentieth century: Emma Bovary of Flaubert, Mister Palomar of Calvino, Margherita of Bulgakov or, also, Alice of Carroll, Peter Pan of Barrie or Giovanni Drogo of the Desert of the Tartars of Buzzati. The artist entrusts to thirds “evocation” of such personages, not through exact descriptions or in some way corresponding to the literary dictation, however through significant and “sensitive” objects. Indirect portraits that Giulia Sale assembles, prepares and then photograph in true and proper still-life.
The operation involves a kind of identity triangulation between author, reader and personage finalized to create, for every single shot, a self-portrait that simultaneously is one and trine and that, in the same time, feed on by the most dissimilar and inextricable contributions. The author is as a director, as a material executor and as a “conductor” of other identities. The reader, through the selection of the objects, depicts the personage but, meanwhile reflects in it, giving life to a kind of indirect self-portrait that runs to contaminate with that one of the artist who organizes then freely the composition. The literary personage, the most ambiguous and elusive, virtual even if itemized by tangible objects loaded with metaphoric recalls, catalyst of multiple identity: his literary identity and that one of his creator. Therefore, in the set prepared by Giulia Sale, that can’t not evoke the theatre of the life, so flat and reassuring appears the image, so complex and enigmatic is the recognition of the solution that allows to recuperate a partial intelligibility of the game between real and fictive identities.

The work of Gianni Nieddu replies to classifying and ordering anxiety often contradicted by extreme precariousness and mobility of the utilized material: are the items of stationery, the adhesive etiquettes, the more or less colored chalks, the metallic staples or the selvages, the small animals in plush, the scrolls of ticket paper, the sheets of small size copybook often sketched with a rapid and broken sign, caricatural and “anti-graceful”. So is in the work I Hope the Small Bell of End of Recreation Will Forget to Ring, nine panels- collector that accommodate, orderly and serialized, sheets of old copybooks where the artist portrayed the faces of a hypothetical group of pupils of elementary school with their vivid and joyful red service flock but brutalized by nervous and approximate sign. Potentially infinite series, to fix, in the dimension of the memory, moments of collective life and individual emotions of our childhood. However, to the apparent nostalgic vein, almost gozzanian in the shabby celebration of past time, evoked and transfigured by the mnemonic process, to that reassuring dimension given by the certainty that every of these sheets of these portraits takes back to some personal story that evokes certainties of identity nature that not even the time can cancel, opposes, paradoxically, the annulment of he individuality in favour of disquieting and homologating action of the time and of the history.
In the still more evident manner, in the work Identifications, enormous black panel covered by etiquettes hanging with a spread to the pins fixed on the plank. In any of them there is a digital imprint, hidden by other overlying and colored by black etiquette: big automotive surface, changing as a precious satin in the movement of the light, precious and sensual. Also here, the presence of the digital imprints- perceivable only after closer examination of the work-, “human” traces and unmistakable “sign” of the single individual but, in their obsessive iteration, centripetal to the world of the black chronicle, deviate artistic intervention conferring an obscure and disquieting aspect. That evoked by Nieddu is the freezing space of the lager, mass categorizing, the scientifically planned violence on the individual: the claustrophobic world of the Orwellian narrative. To the lightness and extreme precariousness of the used materials opposes unsustainable “heaviness” of the contains. Always more frequent utilization of digital imprints, files and judicial archives refer always more to dimension of social and individual marginality, social dimension of the “clandestine” or that psychic of the borderline. For the artist the freedom is given by the imperceptible movement of the single element (human being) that screws around himself. But it is apparent freedom, of useless and false movement, because everything is noted and predefined, because everything can be exaggerate and uncovered, because nothing escape from the omniscience and control of impendent Big Brother, because, in the last analysis, identity coincide with identification.
Ivo Serafino Fenu