The exhibition contains a selected series of 3000 snapshots taken by Mario Schifano from 1990 to 1995 of images from the television. The photos have been retouched by hand, using markers or tempera.
In his career Schifano utilized many different procedures and techniques, but all of them involved the possibility of staying in close contact with the outside world, with the fast pace of real life. This approach relied on speed, discipline and improvisation, availability and inspiration. In particular, television was Schifano’s Auxiliary Muse, a continuous flow of images that could assume the structure of a true all-encompassing reality.
The photographs in the show at the gallery of Antonio Colombo are emblematic of this way of operating. A synthetic work capable of charging the specific language of the image with elements from other linguistic and technical worlds. Schifano was, in some ways, an electronic village artist: closed up in his studio, through television sets, Polaroid cameras and movie cameras traveled the world at a speed the body could never match. A sort of sedentary nomad making skillful use of the information system.
With his particular multimedia sensibility Schifano photographed images of all kinds broadcast on television, seen on the screens of the televisions that were always glowing in his studio. He sampled and reworked the image in an operation that mixes photography and painting. As always, he worked with immediacy and speed. The photo passes through his painter’s hands and is “branded”, stopped in time. The result is a new image that contains all the everyday accidents of an instantaneous, flexible, fragmentary, synthetic language like that of television, utilized and revisited by Schifano in such a way that the figurative becomes abstract and the abstract allusive, without moralism or prejudice. The works are composed of personalities, dinosaurs, children, palm trees, buildings, hearts, clergymen, continents, time indicators, spiders, women, crowds, animals, sex, landscapes and bicycles.
The force of this work by Schifano lies precisely in the evidence of the image, in the sincerity and emotional impact of the rapid sign, in the artificial and playful form of color, in the surprising juxtapositions, in the use of sequences that speak of the most normal everyday life, in the respect for external circumstance and opportunities that determine the events of existence.
During the exhibition some Simulated Spots shot in 1994 by Mario Schifano and Roberto Luca Taroni will also be shown.
Installation and graphic design of the exhibition by Luca Pancrazzi with the collaboration of Aloisia Resch; video and sound design by Roberto Lucca Taroni.
A catalogue of appx. 380 pages with text by Achille Bonito Oliva will be available at the gallery.
Mario Schifano. Born in Homs, Libya, 20 September 1934. One of the greatest Italian artists of the 1960s. He worked in all fields of the visual arts and multimedia, from painting to photography, in parallel with major American phenomena, from Pop Art onward. He died in Rome on 26 January 1998.