Posts Tagged 'conceptualism'

“Veiling the unveiled truth”: the conceptual art of Silvio Berlusconi

Antonio Scarponi – Italy. We all know that the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of talents. First of all he is a man of spectacle, a perfect actor from the old school. He is able to dance, sing and his practical jokes are famous world wide. As an actor he also have very good make up artist in his stuff. He is also a good soccer coach as well as many other talents including the playboy skills he uses for his diplomatic aims. For instance he ‘seduced’, as he publicly declared, the Finnish president in order to elect the world capital of ham and Parmesan (the Italian city of Parma), as the European Capital of Food. We all know these skills, but recently in two occasion he demonstrate also to have great talent as conceptual artist.

Together with his Architect Mario Catalano, his consultant for the media design appearance, also famous for the design of the set of a sort of ‘soft porn’ TV show  from the eighties named ‘colpo grosso’ ( a sort of strip poker, see video below) they have decided use a Tiepolo painting as background for the press conference room of the Parliament. Tiepolo painting is titled “La verità svelata dal tempo” (the truth unveiled by time)

Recently they have noticed that the naked nipple of the allegoric figure representing the truth was distracting the attention of the TV audience. In the picture below you can see the press conference set with two representative members of the female gender of the Italian power. On the left there is the president of ‘Confindustria’, the association that represent Italian industries. Here you can also see the naked nipple. On the left image you can see Mara Carfagna, former show girl, now minister of the “equal opportunities” between the genders. As you can see the nipple in the right image has been covered. It is not photo-shopped, no, that is a solution that only cheap artist uses. It has been painted over the real thing!Well we do not want to say anything about Berlusconi as prime minister. The time will ‘unveil’ perhaps the wiseness of his political will, but as conceptual artist he definitely worths Duchamp. I find the idea of using Tiepolo painting as background for the press conference in the Parliament a brilliant idea. Especially with the iconographic symbolism that it has… “the truth unveiled by time” … excellent. But the real geniality of Berlusconi’s Art is to to cover the nipple that distract the TV audience! He plays with iconography of one of the masters Italian painting. “re-veil the truth unveiled by time” this is the title of Berlusconi’s Work. We can look upon it as manifesto of his politics. A genius.

But this is not the only prove of his wicked artistic talent. The girl on the right picture above was democratically elected as minister of the ‘equal opportunities’ between the genders. She was a very talented showgirl recently involved in a sort of ‘sex scandale’. Gossipers wants her as mister president lover, perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, more likely she is one of several, as we all know Berlusconi’s sensibility towards beauty. In fact the scandal apparently was about some telephone tapping of a theoretical conversation between her and another minister (woman) discussing mister president’s preferences about blow-jobs. We are not allowed to know details about this conversation, a specific law was designed to protect the public integrity of the political forces in order to protect them by the known communist forces of the magistrates that missuses their power to discredit Parliament representatives. And nevertheess is not our business not interests. So we are not allowed, now we want to know about this. But if there is some truth about the love affair, I would propose to democratically elect mister Berlusconi as one of the greatest conceptual Artist of our time. In order to elect as minister to the equal opportunities between the sexes one of his lovers, he really have to be a conceptual genius. In the picture below a picture of our minister before the public mandate.

Perhaps it is a bit courageous to say that Berlusconi is a great conceptual artist… perhaps we have to give time to time to “re-unveil again the truth” of Gianbattista Tiepolo nipple. Or maybe we have to unveil again the one of Mara Carfagna that it has been recently covered by tailleurs, a costume more accurate for her new public mandate?

1966 – 1972: Roelof Louw

1966 – 1972: A periodic publication of art works from this period.
Read more about the period in this post.

1966 – 1972: unfolding the unknown

Lucy Lippard’s book ‘Six years: the demateralization of the art object from 1966 to 1972′ – which I mentioned earlier in this post – triggered again my admiration for an intriguing period in art. Lipard describes conceptualism, performance and the first land art in the time after minimalism.

This period is crucial in history because it marks the transistion from modernism to postmodernism (yet it is more than often overlooked in literature, mainly because of it’s big brother Pop art). Traces of phenomenology are evidently still there, take for instance Bruce Nauman, whose performances explore in a very formal way his studio space. To a certain extend this applies to all the periods mentioned above; they deal in a very elementary way with shape, form and measurements: all formal aspects of objects, the body and landscape. In that regard they differentiate the minimalist tradition and re-enact it in new domains such as performance and landscape.

Bruce Nauman, Revolving upside down, 1968

On the other hand, the artists seem to be more than aware of the fact that they are revolutionizing art. The essence of this period is the fact that they break away from sculptural and pictorial traditions and start re-imagining the world entirely; like new-borns they step into it and start to explore the way children do: by touching it, tasting, marking and measuring it. This gives their works a feeling of curiosity and astonishment and as an audience we look over their shoulders and see the world the way we did a long time ago.
Douglas Heubler photographs the sky over different American cities; Stanley Brouwn walks certain distances; Vito Acconci follows people on the street.Their historical value lies in the fact the these artists began to realise that art is situated in the world and therefore all works of art are relational. Consequently they begin to take down the foundations of art’s hegemony: the object, the art institution and the modernist claim of universality.

One of the most interesting things that Lippy points out is, what she calls, the dematerialisation of art that occurs as a result of this ‘new order’ and what lends the work an aura of mystique and poetics. This is generally understood by Sol LeWitts statement that the idea is more important than the object, but I don’t think that’s true. The documentation of the above mentioned works are beautiful; they communicate the concept and have a value of their own, today these black and white photographs even have a nostalgic romanticism.

Much rather the mysterious qualities of these works lies in the experimental attitude that leads to the dissolving of the object and back to the condensation of its meaning ‘in the moment’ or ‘during the encounter’. ‘The world’ – literally and metaphorically – that had gradually been erased out of art in the age of abstraction makes its comeback. The artists step back into this unknown terrain and unfolds all that has become common in contemporary art today: context, the experiment and the relational.

To illustrate my enthusiasm I will publish some of these relatively unknown works once every while.

Recent articles

“Veiling the unveiled truth”: the conceptual art of Silvio Berlusconi
Published August 3, 2008 by Antonio Scarponi

We all know that the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of talents. First of all he is a man of spectacle, a perfect actor from the old school. He is able to dance, sing and his practical jokes are famous world wide [...] We all know these skills, but recently in two occasion he demonstrated also to have great talent as conceptual artist.
Made in Sweden
Published July 9, 2008 by Trial and error

On a recent journey we visited two well-known Asian landmarks: The Chinese Dragon Gate and the Royal Thai Pavilion, both located in remote places in Sweden.
From motorcycles to 3,5 million pieces of art
Published July 3, 2008, 2008 by Marja Salaspuro and Sergio Davila

Can classical conservative museum structure keep its historically layered architecture, rooms, collections and objects – and still attract the interest of the modern visitors, mainstream tourists and experience seeking travelers? A philosophical reconsideration around the purpose of museums in our era and the architect’s role as a curator.

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