UPSIDE DOWN. Reading the real between the cracks is an exhibition aimed at exploring the diverse nuances in the narrative of reality through the comics of Francesca Mannocchi and Gianluca Costantini, Joshua Dysart, Jonathan Dumont, Patt Masioni and Alberto Ponticelli, Marco Rizzo and La Tram, and Claudio Calia, with a series of plates on display taken from the books of each artist. The sitographic and videographic works, installations and digital sculptural works of Biancoshockand Rolenzo, Valerio Veneruso, AFFDP and Kamilia Kard are also on show. The exhibition also features cartoonist LRNZ, who can be seen drawing the artwork for his upcoming comic book, live streamed through his Twitch channel.
Those who constantly seek to create new alternative meanings have always tended to turn upside down the reading of reality that is commonly offered to us. By overturning the narrative and upending the meaning given a priori, these creators make us aware that there is no single reality to be told and that each reality is only one of among many possible points of view. This is exactly what the works in the exhibition demonstrate, by teaching us new ways of seeing and conceiving the many aspects of reality. Each of these artists contributes to the understanding of today’s reality, which is much more complex than its composition suggests, where the pandemic, which has been spectacularised by the media and able to bring the world to a halt, is not the only reality. There are different but interconnected realities, intertwined in the long term and part of the same present-day reality. Each artist creates works based on this, here divided into two exhibition sections, able to explore new readings.
The first section is dedicated to those who make comics who, with a clear creative perspective, offer an alternative narrative of facts and contexts of historical-political and socio-cultural relevance. Starting from the two works of graphic journalism: Libya written by Francesca Mannocchi and drawn by Gianluca Costantini for Mondadori in 2019; and Urgency Level 3 written by Joshua Dysart and Jonathan Dumont and drawn by Patt Masioni and Alberto Ponticelli for the UN World Food Programme, released in Italy by Star Comics in 2020 (the year the Humanitarian Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize). As can be see from the plates by Costantini and Ponticelli, these two reportages portray the real conditions in which some of the countries most affected by civil war and in the midst of a humanitarian crisis find themselves. Then there is the historical graphic novel La prima bomba (The First Bomb), written by Marco Rizzo with drawings by La Tram for Feltrinelli Comics in 2020, recounting the Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan in 1969 and shedding light on the dynamics of the political situation of the past, reappearing transformed in the country’s present. Finally included in this section is the fictional comic strip I baccanti by Claudio Calia, with a series of drawings from the first volume published this year by Oblò and a preview of the second volume, not yet published.
The author addresses the problem of the ideological crisis in Italy focusing on the current context which is full of contradictions. Between the two sections the working methods of cartoonist LRNZ can be found who, by choosing to show himself in live stream while creating his comic Geist Maschine in analogue, rather than digital as usual, demonstrates how the different use of new digital technologies, combined with traditional methodologies, can support artistic practice and be a positive extension of concrete reality. For this edition CreteCon opens up to all contemporary art, dedicating the second section of the exhibition to those who, despite the pandemic, have continued their work without betraying the aims of their research by reflecting on the overt or latent critical issues that have accelerated in the social fabric in recent times.
The urban artivist Biancoshock and the digital artist Rolenzo have created SoCoD-19 (2020) with the aim of providing a creative solution to the psychological crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, positively resolving the transition from the IRL (In Real Life) dimension to the URL dimension, which began some time ago. This is a sitographic work that is both a new alternative public space for people who want to express their psycho-emotional discomfort and a partial account of an emotional pandemic. With the video Rubedodoom (2020), on the other hand, Valerio Veneruso creates a work that is conceptually non-specific but capable of answering the universal question which became important during the pandemic by overturning the meaning of animated GIFs and producing a new meaning in the narrative sequence of a bizarre video of instructions for a new post-pandemic beginning.
In a context such as the pandemic, in which the overexposure and hypermediation of one’s own self and private spaces has reached extreme levels, the reflections generated over the last few years by the duo AFFDP and the Italian-Hungarian artist Kamilia Kard on the relationship between representation and self-representation on both the concrete level of reality and on the virtual/online level of what is shown on our screens are fundamental. These boundaries were blurred before the pandemic, but have now almost dissolved through an accelerated process of collectivisation of privacy in the public space. On one side, we have the installation by the art duo AFFDP, consisting of one of the settings from Andrea Frosolini’s series Your Public Display of Affection (2021), in which the video VOYEURISM. Lookin at the artist takin care of itself (2019), appears. This is an alternative narrative of a person’s private self produced by Federica Di Pietrantonio within the video game The Sims. On the other side, we have Kard’s digital sculptural group Woman as a Temple (2017-2021), which evokes a more human perception of the body by transforming it into an aesthetic-narrative strength of the self and, at the same time, highlights the paradox underlying the appearance of the public presentation of the body, but within one’s own private space.
The two series of works are to be considered complementary because they give back an alternative – even though still partial – reading of an anthropocentric reality. In the exhibition we can see how the power of artistic creation lies in this ability to appropriate meanings that we take for granted and overturn them through new narratives and new compositions, reshuffling and disrupting, providing alternative uses of traditional media and new technologies. It is an artistic creation that generates emotions, stimulates the imagination and formulates perspectives from which to look at the world upside down.
(from the Italian press release)
SOTTOSOPRA. La lettura del reale tra le crete di questa realtà/Upside Down. Reading the real between the cracks in reality
collective show in virtual reality curated by Alessandra Ioalè for CreteCon, until August 3, 2021
Design of the exhibition space in Mozilla Hubs by Matteo Lupetti | Partners: Etertainment Game Apps, Opensound Music Publishing, Lightning Multimedia Solutions, Advinser
Online on Mozilla Hubs at the following link: https://bit.ly/cretecon2021
images: (cover 1) Biancoshock e Rolenzo – SoCoD-19 (2) LRNZ – Twitch (3) Urgenza Livello 3 – Tavole Alberto Ponticelli (4) Kard – Woman as a Temple (5) Claudio Calia – I baccanti (6) Veneruso – Rubedodoom (7) AFFDP