With a reflection on the applied art between tradition and modernity, Ado Brandimarte joins the project «Young Italian Artists. Contemporary Art Stories», ongoing space and archive dedicated to key players in the contemporary art world, who are under 35, conceived by Antonello Tolve, and curated with Elena Giulia Rossi.
The Second World War had just ended. In a quiet country town on the slopes of the Montagna dei Fiori the hourglasses appeared horizontal again. A few months earlier, the children had polished the travertine stones of the mule-track charades accompanying soldiers and partisans, who had arrived up there in search of rocky corners and strategic quarries. Above the woods and slopes, the ondulating meadows that, until recently, had been the scene of shooting and bombing, now purified by winter frosts, were gradually losing their negative energy and nature was preparing to bloom again.
With a lack of raw materials, the villagers climbed among this lonely landscape to dismember what was left on the battlefield; it is said that, among the mountain junipers, there was a large German cargo plane, which had fallen to earth and which immediately became the main source of mechanical components and metals for the locals. In these times, people survived through creativity and manual work and the transformation of matter represented one of the rare opportunities to carry out normal daily work in the countryside and in workshops.
Today, in the paradoxical condition of imprisonment in which the emotionally fragile contemporary population finds itself, the only way to carry out daily work without waiting for deliveries or leaving the safety of home is a kind of conversion, that is to say, the personal ingenuity to which the fast-moving times of recent years had not trained us for.
At the present time, where the virtual dimension remains the only safe haven for interaction, the sophistication of a human organism that is evolving into a medium, extended rationally as a result of cybernetic technology, the anthroposphere risks being totally digitalised, with the corresponding abandonment or loss of certain practices.
The virtual simulation of some processes reveals a sort of ﬁguration, but exiles manual labour. Craftsmen who produce majolica through the use of photo ceramics are increasing, the sculptural resolution of CNC machines is progressing and technology now allows even frescoes to be produced using innovative 3D printers. In this modernisation, making an artefact using traditional methods is almost anachronistic; my conceptual work consists in giving value, significance and memory to these procedures.
Leaving aside the virtues and defects of the virtual, my research on manual art processes is becoming easier these days. In fact, while manual labour was previously performed in a limited timeframe, it is now taking its natural course, giving me the opportunity to consider its real essence.
Ado Brandimarte, March 2020
Ado Brandimarte was born in 1995 in Ascoli Piceno where he lives and works.