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Johan & Levi: Parole e immagini

Hard Media
What is pornography? A mere sociological phenomenon or an aesthetic category? And above all, how has pornographic representation changed over the last few years with the evolution of the media? With a broad approach encompassing various spheres of contemporary reality, from photography, the visual arts and web performances to television and cinema, Bruno Di Marino examines the many facets of the presentation of obscenity. From Courbet’s Origine du Monde, Duchamp’s objects, Man Ray’s Four Seasons and performances of an erotic and political nature, this in-depth historical and art-critical investigation takes us behind the scenes of porn with the photographs of Sultan and Greenfield-Sanders, and on to the big screen with the successful alliance of experimental and X-rated cinema in the “hot” films of masters like Gioli and Warhol, pornographic found footage and the new frontiers of video art and video clips. The key turning point comes with transition from the private sphere to the Internet with the infinite universe of YouPorn and the proliferation of increasingly daring forms of interchange between the real and immaterial worlds. The last two decades have seen a spectacularization and normalization of pornography that has definitively violated its taboo also – and indeed above all – for the female public, giving rise to a uncontrolled increase in amateur production and hence a crisis for professional hardcore. Having become a fragmentary and boundless hypermedia archive of forms, codes, languages and images, pornography is now a world midway between fiction and reality that even threatens to transform essential aspects of everyday life into a sort of mise-en-scène.  
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Hard Media

La pornografia nelle arti visive, nel cinema e nel web

Bruno Di Marino

pages: 184 pages

What is pornography? A mere sociological phenomenon or an aesthetic category? And above all, how has pornographic representation changed over the last few years with the evolution of the media? With a broad approach encompassing various spheres of contemporary reality, from photography, the visual arts and web performances to television and cinema,
Joachim Schmid e le fotografie degli altri
Joachim Schmidt (Balingen, 1955), paradoxically known as “the photographer who takes no photographs”, has worked with photography since the early 1980s without producing any images of his own. Asserted in 1989 on the 150th anniversary of the invention of this medium, the principle of taking no new photographs until use has been made of those already existing is one to which he still adheres. In the present-day civilization of images characterized by an ever-greater proliferation of photographs to the point of habituation and meaninglessness, Schmidt has decided to halt production and confine himself to seeking out, collecting and using photographs already taken by others. This boundless material also include picture cards, exhibition invitations, posters, postcards, photos found in flea markets and archives, and images downloaded from websites and social networks. The German artist captures them from the great flow of contemporary communication, files them, appropriates them, combines them with one another and sometimes manipulates them in search of possible new meanings. A collector, recycling enthusiast, cataloguer and environmentalist therefore rather than a photographer, Schmid has left his imprint on theoretical debate about this medium. His stance combines two fundamental themes of contemporary art, namely Duchamp’s idea of the ready-made and the “death of the author” envisaged by Roland Barthes. Having investigated all the forms of mass photography and all of the different associated languages, He has probably seen but above all used more images than anyone else in the world over the last few decades. His new and ironic call today is therefore for people not to stop taking photographs.
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Joachim Schmid e le fotografie degli altri

pages: 88 pages

Joachim Schmidt (Balingen, 1955), paradoxically known as “the photographer who takes no photographs”, has worked with photography since the early 1980s without producing any images of his own. Asserted in 1989 on the 150th anniversary of the invention of this medium, the principle of taking no new photographs until use has been made of those al
La collezione come forma d’arte
If it can be said that every era has its own approach to collecting, the contemporary period is marked by a reciprocal bond with artistic practice, to the point that the two activities often overlap or even merge. Examples abound: from Joseph Cornell, who hunted down oddities to put in his mysterious boxes, to Claes Oldenburg, who exhibited a collection of sentimental items as a work in its own right; from Marcel Broodthaers, who was inspired by collecting to become an artist, to Hans-Peter Feldmann who, channelling Malraux, has long been cutting out, classifying and sticking images to create an unusual museum. Collecting is no longer just the preserve of non-artists accumulating large quantities of objects, but has become a means of expression for artists who gather things to construct works of art, inspired by Warburg’s notion of assemblage. From another point of view, collectors are artists who express themselves using images charged with symbolism that become an extension of their personas. As soon as the eye alights on them, the objects gain extra properties: stripped of their original function and knowingly combined, they interact in an organic whole that resists defacement. And thus the collection rises to the status of work of art. Eclectic, transversal and highly personal, these collections are poles apart from the closed, predestined world of museum collections. It is to this private, creative dimension that Elio Grazioli refers in his exploration of collecting, from the Wunderkammer to the collage and the assemblage: collecting not to serve a purpose, but to pursue a passion; a collection that is not a showcase but a game for aficionados who appreciate the unexpected. And this form of collecting is a practice that has much to teach the institutions, with its greater freedom and stonger urges.
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La collezione come forma d’arte

Elio Grazioli

pages: 128 pages

If it can be said that every era has its own approach to collecting, the contemporary period is marked by a reciprocal bond with artistic practice, to the point that the two activities often overlap or even merge. Examples abound: from Joseph Cornell, who hunted down oddities to put in his mysterious boxes, to Claes Oldenburg, who exhibited a colle
Frenologia della vanitas
Death has always been a topic of extreme fascination for man, a source of angst that has dominated artworks and the human imagination since time immemorial. Every era abounds with symbols for the transient nature of our earthly existence, but one stands out above all: the skull, that often “meditative” simulacrum that warns us of the futility of all worldly things and forces us to ponder the meaning of life. The definitive emblem of Vanitas, the skull crops up in Medieval imagery, topping off putrefying bodies that lie in wait for careless wayfarers. Stripped of its flesh, down to the bare bone, in the Renaissance the skeleton began the rise towards its seventeenth century pinnacle. Yet subsequently this image encountered varying fortunes. In the eighteenth century it lost most of its macabre connotations with the resurgence of subgenres connected to the memento mori, yet without dissipating its power. And while in the nineteenth century it made a half-hearted return, it was in the twentieth century that it regained much of its previous popularity. The turn of the millennium saw it on the crest of the wave, with skulls and skeletons once more dominating the visual arts. However this exponential increase in popularity, in quantity rather than quality, did not automatically correspond to a renewed power: art appears to be inured to the point of insensitivity to image of the skull. Inert, incapable of inspiring fear or imposing a moral agenda, the death’s head appears to have lost all its previous emphasis. This is the diagnosis reached by the author of Frenologia della vanitas after a long and complex exploration that seeks out unusual combinations and forges connections between past and present, styles and periods. The decision not to adopt a chronological structure or other forms of classification enables the arguments to develop rhizomatically, played out against the author’s underlying apprehension for the future of the skull.
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Frenologia della vanitas

Il teschio nelle arti visive

Alberto Zanchetta

pages: 416 pages

Death has always been a topic of extreme fascination for man, a source of angst that has dominated artworks and the human imagination since time immemorial. Every era abounds with symbols for the transient nature of our earthly existence, but one stands out above all: the skull, that often “meditative” simulacrum that warns us of the futility o
Pino Pascali
Pino Pascali blazed like a shooting star in the history of Italian art. Born in Bari in 1935 and killed just thirty-three years later in a car crash, he is regarded as one of Italy’s most innovative avant-garde artists of the post-war period together with Boetti and Manzoni. Despite his very short career, he won almost unanimous acclaim in his lifetime through the staggering originality of his talent. In 1968, a few months after his death, the Venice Biennial devoted a room to his work and posthumous recognition soon followed with a series of international prizes and shows in the most illustrious museums of contemporary art. His work now sells for millions. This book focuses solely on Pascali’s plastic art of the period 1964–68 with brief mentions of his activities in the spheres of advertising, stage design, drawing and performance. In defining the formal processes of his sculpture, Tonelli deliberately eschews exegetic stratifications designed to mythicize the artist and impede effective understanding of his work. Setting aside all curiosity about Pascali as a man and his legend, the author examines his work in thematic and chronological terms, addresses the numerous interpretations put forward by critics and uses Pascali’s own statements to redefine the field of action and meaning of his visual language and trace its origins and precedents. While Magritte, Savinio and De Chirico constitute inescapable points of reference, Pascali is embedded in a wholly contemporary context, playful, iconoclastic and adaptable, looking forward to some avant-garde movements of the period and possessing an intuitive grasp of the relations between exhibition space, the theatrical nature of exhibition and the limits of sculpture. The book thus attempts the necessary operation of freeing Pino Pascali from his own myth and correcting a partial and misleading image. The reader will discover that the artist’s work is far less ingenuous, child-like, primordial and wild than previously believed.
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Pino Pascali

Il libero gioco della scultura

Marco Tonelli

pages: 144 pages

Pino Pascali blazed like a shooting star in the history of Italian art. Born in Bari in 1935 and killed just thirty-three years later in a car crash, he is regarded as one of Italy’s most innovative avant-garde artists of the post-war period together with Boetti and Manzoni. Despite his very short career, he won almost unanimous acclaim in his li
Un sogno fatto a Milano
Milan is a city dear to Orhan Pamuk, Nobel prize for literature in 2006 and author of The Museum of Innocence (2008), a novel conceived at exactly the same time as the eponymous museum in Istanbul, opened to the public a few years after the book came out. In both, reality and fiction intertwine in a project that challenges categories and encourages us to question not only relations between writing and reality and between artistic and functional objects, but also the very statute of the artwork and that of its container, the museum. The central focus of the twofold enterprise is the relationship established between word, image and representation, with “image” meaning everything that pertains to the visual realm. The youthful aspiration of Pamuk to become an artist – with drawings that did not reproduce nature, objects and streets, but the forms of his mind – fuelled the refined visual sensitivity of the author that permeates the entire novel, in which Milan itself plays a significant part. This is the city where the main character Kemal dies, after visiting the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi for the last time, and it was also in Milan, in January 2017, that the Accademia di Brera awarded Pamuk a diploma honoris causa, devoting a conference to him, the contents of which feature in this book. Together with Pamuk’s lectio magistralis, Salvatore Settis’ laudatio and contributions from scholars in different disciplines regarding the Museum of Innocence “operation”, a number of texts by the Turkish writer are presented here on his museum poetics, including a brand new piece inspired precisely by the dialogues of his Milanese days. The importance and topicality of Pamuk’s ideas, in relation not only to the mose recent museographic and museological conceptions, but also the research of contemporary artists who conceive collections as an art form, are therefore strongly reiterated: his work as a writer and artist is the expression of a precise desire not to tell the “Story”, but to bring “stories” back to life within a vision that is both utopian and real at the same time.
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Un sogno fatto a Milano

Dialoghi con Orhan Pamuk intorno alla poetica del museo

pages: 200 pages

Milan is a city dear to Orhan Pamuk, Nobel prize for literature in 2006 and author of The Museum of Innocence (2008), a novel conceived at exactly the same time as the eponymous museum in Istanbul, opened to the public a few years after the book came out. In both, reality and fiction intertwine in a project that challenges categories and encourages
Forma e informazione
In an era when questions are frequently raised about the rationale of certain visual representations and their real value, Stefano Pirovano responds by clarifying the nature of the link between the material component of the work and the elements invisible to the eye. The artwork has in fact expanded so far beyond its boundaries that it can no longer be confined solely to the physical dimension. It must have an accompanying narrative and information that introduces the public to the mystery of its image. According to the author, this is the approach taken by the most significant artists of the last few years. In this perspective, Forma e informazione presents an overview of the present-day panorama on the premise that abstraction is to be understood as the primordial driving force of the artwork. In order to elucidate the dialectic between object and information that animates contemporary abstraction, the author addresses a series of artists and particularly emblematic works. These include Carol Bove and Goshka Macuga, who develop relations between objects and knowledge, Cory Arcangel, Peter Coffin and Tomas Saraceno, with their forays into the technological culture, and Wade Guyton, Josh Smith and Beatriz Milhazes, whose images on canvas are generated by digital processes. The book alternates theoretical investigations, precise descriptions of works and statements by the artists involved. There are also numerous incursions into other fields, from design and architecture to physics, the neurosciences, philosophy and literature. Reference is made to scientists like Vilayanur Ramachandran and Brian Greene as well as writers like Orhan Pamuk, Sergei Nosov, Cormac McCarthy, Bret Easton Ellis and Patrick McGrath, whose works are rife with mentions of contemporary art and offer effective interpretive stimuli. One final point: in its constant interweaving of creativity, theory and context, the book is not designed to arrive at any set destination but rather to present, also to the general reader, the riches of a territory with many still unexplored places.
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Forma e informazione

Nuove vie per l'astratto nell'arte del terzo millennio

Stefano Pirovano

pages: 176 pages

In an era when questions are frequently raised about the rationale of certain visual representations and their real value, Stefano Pirovano responds by clarifying the nature of the link between the material component of the work and the elements invisible to the eye. The artwork has in fact expanded so far beyond its boundaries that it can no longe

Effetto terra

pages: 192 pages

Environmental emergencies, genetics, biodiversity and artificial nature: these themes are increasingly addressed and developed by artists in works that alternate investigation, protest, planning and utopia. Different issues and approaches with a common origin: the conviction that no aesthetic appraisal can be divorced from ethical responsibility wi

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