March 2017_by Federica Tattoli
Gabriele De Santis, Rome 1983
Gabriele De Santis offers an incursion into the iconography of the present, addressing his research to the language, the symbols and the aesthetic of contemporaneity. In his work the artist carries the lexicon that accompanies us on a daily basis, putting into place a sharp and charming portrait of our time.
A poetic made of logos, popular brands, symbols borrowed by the digital communication, of puns and rebus, but also appropriations of that conceptual history of art which paved the way to a different use of the word, the act of vision and the interpretative possibilities offered by the artistic gesture. Gabriele De Santis bravely calls into question the codes and the raw material which surround us every day, the one on which our time runs and the knowledge on which our relationships are based: a rephrasing of a system, the construction of an iconography where there is no longer difference between high and popular culture, where the contemporaneity is told and candidly revealed in its more subtle essence.
How would you present your work?
Better someone else does it for me.
Could you describe me briefly your solo show at Frutta Gallery “Truth be told”?
The entire exhibition site’s walls have been painted using spray paint: the graffiti installation on the walls is complemented by six canvases which they have all been painted with oil, in order to create both a continuity and a clear contrast with the graffiti background.
In the graffiti can be also found a series of references to some elements connected to my practice, as the Harlequin's vest pattern, the camouflage motif by Boetti, the parrot…It’s like the space itself acted a round-table where I would meet and talk with artists I look up to, like Boetti, or Donal Judd, only to mention a few.
I read the fourth text that accompanies the exhibition here some excerpt… could you tell me what are you thinking about them?
“A. ... And the answer is always the same: Dates? Do you know why they are very important? Because if, for instance, you write on a wall ‘1970’ it might seem nothing important, but in thirty years.... With every day which goes by, this date becomes more beautiful, it’s time at work. Dates indeed have this beauty, the more time passes by, the more beautiful they become. “ 2 Interview with Mirella Bandini, 1972, in Alighiero Boetti (1965-1994), Mazzotta, 1996.
I’d like to reply with one of Boetti’s quotes I like the most, “Mettere i verbi all’infinito”. Verbs stands for anything worth doing, it’s a symbol of language, expression, free will, confrontation, choices. Put it to the ‘infinito’ is to free the speech from the idea of time. But to say so it to recognise the value of time passing by, it’s not a mere wish (everybody has!) to extend it to an ideal standard.
“A. We are in 2017. If we were to write 2017 on a wall now, what will everybody think in thirty years? What will be left of its symbols and aesthetic? The filter of time we explore needs to challenge the spectator to go beyond the retinal sphere, to define the seeing experience in a new way.”
From the text by Ilaria Gianni
As the late John Berger would say:
“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight”.
This quote is from the text by Ilaria Marotta, “The idea does not only overcomes the object, but also its production.”, you agree on not?
Where do you make your works?
What can’t be missing from your worktable?
A collection you wish at least one work of yours was part of?
A good artist private collection, but also MOMA would not be bad.
A museum where you’d like to have an exhibition?
The market or your need to express?
I hope the market likes my need to express.
Lightness or depth?
Day or night?
A question you’ve never been asked but one you’ve always wanted to answer?
Can you cook Vietnamese food?
Answer that question…
Yes I can.
Could you briefly describe one of your latest works?
What are you reading?
Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef.
Better a TV serie, Stranger Things.
Where would you like to live?
Do you have reference artists? Artists you’d like to work with?
Alighiero, Jonathan, Piero, Urs and many more.
A project, related to art, that you’d like to do?
Time travel in collaboration with NASA.
If you weren’t an artist, what job would you like?
If i wasn’t an artist I would like to be an artist.
Let’s imagine a group show. Who would you like to exhibit with?
Alighiero, Jonathan, Piero, Urs and many more.
Yes or no to curators? If yes, who would you choose?
A dream of yours?
A dream come true.