I am iconic. New tendencies in contemporary art

Something’s happening in the complex world of contemporary art. We at Expo Magazine are certainly not contemporary art connoisseurs and unquestionably we do not have that long-standing artistic awareness of fine critics, also them though with some difficulty at times, to judge a true artist from the many charlatans. However we at Expo Magazine have always had a more modest nose for novelty and fine unconventionality, a nose for unearthing with a little advance what the trendsetters are doing in the world’s metropolitan areas, even more so if we happen to participate to a small private event that spread quite simply, without marketing machines to back it, on the word of mouth. The setting is the European metropolis of Milan, in northern Italy.

Imagine Pop Art’s ‘decontextualisation’ of everyday objects: Pop Art emerged in the mid to late 1950s in UK and the Unites States, challenging the tradition of fine art. The idea was using images from popular and mass culture, often through the use of irony. In pop art material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, or combined with unrelated material and is also associated with the artists’ use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques. Pop art often takes imagery that is currently in use in advertising, one example for all is Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box, 1964.Imagine Banksy’s satirical street art, epigrams, dark humour and graffitis. Imagine once more Maurizio Cattelan’s sculptures, the provocative and satirical content, coupled with Duchampian originality.

Now, imagine to enforce all this with the manipulation of words. Yes, words. Mr. Amante, being a novelist, masters words to an extent that he has built a new form of art around them. The result are 1×1 meter coloured canvas panels on wooden frames.

Have we witnessed a new, sophisticated Pop Art of the twenty-first century? We’ll let the critics do their job, but for sure we had the impression to face something interesting, that left us thinking and with the same curiosity and feeling of magic we witnessed in the people attending the small event. Mr. Davide Amante is an appreciated novelist with one of his novels set to become a feature film. He is known for literary competence and research, he has faced different literary genres including a children’s novel. As any respectable author he has an opinion on poetry. However, his opinion on poetry differs from that of any other respectable author. Mr. Amante thinks modern poetry has lost its strength and is diluted in the massive flow of words, thoughts and emotions that we share through the Internet and Social media. Thousands of short texts and would be poems are published Online everyday. The power of words is lost in the Internet, and this language is directly connected to followers and numbers. The language of poetry got lost. A revolution was necessary. Mr. Amante thinks poetry belongs no more to book, it belongs to readers and art galleries are the instrument means to restore the strength of words. And here we come to the decontextualisation of the twenty-first century: just like in the twentieth century ordinary objects of everyday life were decontextualised and subsequently gained an enormous iconic strength, today words need to be decontextualised to again draw an iconic attention and strength. ‘The purity of words needs the clean walls of galleries’ to put it with the artists words. So what exactly is Mr. Amante doing? he is taking short, meaningful, poetical texts and he is exposing them in an art gallery just like any other art piece, to draw attention on words and focus the audience on their iconic power. Moreover, the artist is provocatively adding to these words the typical Facebook, Instagram and other social media numbers. In other words he is taking away the dominance of numbers through irony. In other works the artist is provocatively playing with journalists’ names or repetitive concepts entered on the artist’s name, as if the quantity represented by numbers and the mass approval of concepts were a necessary element of this decontextualisation process. And we must say that to our opinion the artist succeeds in his intent, because reading these texts suspended in a flat wall, their provocative numbers and followers displayed, all the power of the poetical content is set free and gives an unexpected vibration that leaves you meditating on the text itself and even on the aesthetic beauty of the letters as if they were a unrepeatable work of art. Looking at these works of art you also realise to what extent our society has lost the true meaning and power of words through technology. A little more than a decade of intensive Social media and Internet use, was sufficient to completely erode words and phrases and subject them to the mere approval of numbers: the value of what one is saying fully depends on the number of followers it generates, while quality, deepness, authenticity are not contemplated in this contemporary process.

Mr. Amante, a novelist, through his iconic words, may have invented the decontextualisation of the twenty-first century and we may have just as well participated to one of the very first presentations of these works.