outside the white cube

(Escape Attempts)
‘Aperto’* (open) refers to the world of the 19th-century French impressionists who with few means and much passion abandoned the closed environment of their ateliers and set about investigating the world outside, the natural landscape and the daily life of their times. Art critics of the time disapproved of the animated brush strokes and the too common and humble subjects, such a sharp reminder of the previous century’s painting, for example, by Chardin and Fragonard. Though using traditional methods, these artists opened the way for great discoveries that helped to radically change the following generations’ way of seeing things. Through poetics of apparently divergent forms and contents, the next century – from Futurism and Dada to Fluxus, and the last thirty years’ activism in art – showed quite how right the intuitions of the painters of ‘modern life’ had been. Indeed, it is only by coming face to face with reality – comparing what we have been taught or what we have learnt with what is before us, that we can reduce the cleft between things and the ideas about them. At this point doing becomes a deep experience, a knowledge process that takes shape in an act that is always critical insofar as it is dialectical.
Working in the open air has a twofold significance: that of doing art as a systematic ‘job’, but connected to a given geographical and cultural context; a commitment whose raison d’être lies in a given concrete situation lived day in, day out.
Art is often considered the product of a practical and intellectual experience that through a long process of validation and separation from the specific context of production is elevated to the rank of object/commodity, exhibited in appointed spaces such as galleries, fairs and museums. The aim of these works was instead precisely to avoid the hegemony of these places. These objects, actions, gestures and happenings of mine are cognitive experiences and survival strategies.
As chance would have it, of many of them no documentation has remained.

*At the Venice Biennale in 1980 Harald Szeemann made the “Aperto” exhibition for young artists.