Gabriele De Santis: Truth be Told
Gabriele De Santis literally embodies the premises of contemporaneity: speed, accessibility, information, liquidity, globalisation, language. The processes of metabolization, assimilation, reinterpretation, ready-made acquisition (a word the artist wouldn’t appreciate referred to himself, I believe) and the use of codes, both noble and popular, lead him to investigate diverse elds in the construction of his own heterogeneous mythology. GDS has a unique ability when using the collective imaginary. Indeed with the insolence of someone loaded with open-source images, internet and social media, he dares to cross the border of appropriation into a gigantic archive, a converter of forms, themes, objects and ideas.
Walter Benjamin warned about the risks of the secularization of the artwork through its technical reproducibility, but here the theme of the artwork’s aura clashes with a wider, choral device, an actual experiences simulator. Seen like this, Alighiero Boetti becomes the iconic artist to enter into dialogue with, Bruce Nauman the source of bright wordplays, the Ikea prints the most dangerous challenge (for obvious copyright reasons). The distance between “high and low” culture disappears. The idea does not only overcomes the object, but also its production. It remains a secular ritual, the practice of which constitutes worship of beauty. The question GDS seems to ask himself is: how can we build our own creative identity in a world which makes art so accessible as to attach an instruction manual for its set-up? We live in a bubble of illusions: the illusion of being free, of being able to perform choices, of thinking, of being “creative”, even. We, the consumers, are aware of that or maybe we are not, but we still “play along” and accept the rules. This way a standard ‘grid’ substitutes our ability even to just conceive a creative act, or to achieve an artistic gesture, a metaphor of a dream, sold for a few euros, or indeed only provided. The results? Identical walls lled with identical paintings, identical houses, identical dreams, and identical art. But if the stream of thoughts were to continue, it would lead us down a bad road. Warning! The artists alerts us that we are driving o towards an in icted, misled, controlled mindset, exactly like the creativity sold-o by Mr. Ikea. What’s wrong with it in the end? Everybody can build a constellation with just a “bunch of stars”. And above all, which artist translates better than he the world we live in?