HOW PAST CAN RETHINK THE SPECTACLE OF THE SELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA – A REFLECTION FROM “RITORNO AL BAROCCO, FONTANA LEONCILLO MELOTTI” EXHIBITION
Text by Fiammetta Cesana
In art and society, past has always been source of warnings and teachings, polemics and inspirations. We can argue that any human production in history has been somehow triggered by intuitions, and consequent revolutions, of previous times. Investigating a particular artistic result of such recurrent procedure, the upcoming Milanese show “Ritorno al Barocco” explores how the ideas of another century can help overcoming the stagnated feelings towards modern creative production. Not only, it gives us the stimulus to re-consider the spatial flattening of contemporary pandemic circumstances and social spectacularization of the self.
With the curation of the professor and historian Andrea Bacchi, ML Fine Art Matteo Lampertico gallery will showcase the influence of baroque over the sculptures of three great masters of 20th century, reflecting the need of artistic innovation urged by past unsettling experimentations. Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti and Leoncillo Leonardi are the protagonists of this colors- and anachronistic contaminations-filled exhibition, where baroque bizarre beauty is reborn through the spatialist intentions of their sculptures.
In the 40s, Lucio Fontana, during his stay in Argentina, formulated the so-called “Manifiesto Blanco” setting the foundations of Spatialism movement. According to it, art needed to overcome classic rules to finally embrace the concept of space and time, going hand by hand with scientific discoveries. With the coming of new media, like radio and television, spatialist artists claimed that Art, Science and Technology must be a close trio: art had to celebrate the progress, making the medium an opera itself.
At the time, especially during the 18th century, the Baroque – from “perla scaramazza” in Italian (irregular pearl), from its original negative connotations as an illogical and excessive use of art means, deepened in its significance, eventually representing a whole phase of human civilization and reflecting a particular and tormented behavior of the spirit (Franco Miele, 1965). Anticipating modern projection towards new perspective of space and time, baroque opposed to the stillness of traditional art forms by introducing new “inexplicable” elements and intensity.
From Fontana’s Crocifisso to Leoncillo’s monumental trophies transforming soldiers into fantastic figures to Melotti’s elegant female figures and vases, the baroque reminiscences become not only a new bond between the 20th century masters but also their artistic-spiritual expedient to break away from the recovery of the classical canons promoted in those years.
The baroque era, at first seen as an end in itself spectacle and then re-studied as an expression of the agitations of the spirit, resurrects after two centuries in the works of artists who, approaching new modern technologies, are committed to making art a new spatial concept… what value may it have for us today in facing the increasingly total immersion in the digital world?
Maybe by observing in a more scientific way the self-celebratory attitude intrinsic to the art of digital and social media world, we’d discover more than an illogical relentless exhibition, but a need for an outlet of the interiority against contemporary turmoil. Perhaps to overcome the flattening and alienation of reality in such historical phase, in which everything seems to have been reduced to the depth of a screen, we’d re-find our “baroque”, addressing the digital medium as a once again regenerated idea of space and time… Maybe we’d gradually tend to it, but without losing the peculiarities and irregular feautres of our pietra scaramazza.
“Ritorno al Barocco, Fontana Leoncillo Melotti”
ML Fine Art Matteo Lampertico gallery
From January 21 to April 11