From 5 June to 27 July 2014, GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo is presenting Ritratti – Bic Data Blue, the solo exhibition of Giuseppe Stampone (b. 1974; lives and works in Teramo and Rome).
Part of the exhibition series that, for years, the museum has devoted to the most interesting emerging artists on the international scene – who are asked to present a site-specific project commissioned for the occasion – the exhibition presents a body of 100 works that have never been shown before.
The artist created them with a Bic ballpoint pen, a technique common to a number of works reflecting Stampone’s artist research, from “spelling books” to the “Global Education” project.
The 100 portraits depict the most important and influential artists of the contemporary era, from Ai Weiwei to William Kentridge, Marina Abramović, Shirin Neshat, Jannis Kounellis and Maurizio Cattelan. At the same time, they also reveal the artist’s desire to work as a “court painter”, a definition identifying the broadest and most complex art system.
Along with the “who”, these drawings incorporate the “how” and the “why” a certain personage is portrayed, but at the same time they also investigate rhetorical justifications and critical debate developed in the contemporary “court”. Therefore, the exhibition reflects on the significance of creating a portrait today, on the presence and absence of the subject, and on the value of the portrait itself, in order to render not only the personality, but also the context in which a subject works.
The 100 figures are depicted as half-busts, all in the same frontal position. The drawings were made starting from photos found on the Internet as models, or were completed by the imagination of the artist, who thus counters what has been one of the typical characteristics of the portrait: capturing the subject from life.
In the series created specifically for the GAMeC exhibition, Stampone decided to portray figures who have recounted, interpreted and mediated the transformation of the world, implementing a “filing of knowledge” and offering the public an encyclopaedic reinterpretation that stimulates reflection on the meaning of being an artist.
Stampone is firmly convinced that the time has come for artists to recover their own ethics rather than concentrating solely on the concept of aesthetics and, through these works, he strives to affirm the important of recovering the role of the artist, as a sort of “return to one’s roots”.
The exhibition is accompanied by one of the artist’s unpublished video works, which thus becomes an integral part of it and a key to its interpretation: L’ABC dell’Arte will offer an initial approach to art for children at an elementary school. This is a work that, yet again, strives to demonstrate how important it is to Stampone to recover innocence, the creative purity that children have naturally and that contemporary artists should regain. In effect, for Stampone it is fundamental to “be able to play with art and become children again”.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual monographic catalogue – published by Maretti Editore – that will include texts by Alfredo Cramerotti (Director of Mostyn Art Gallery), Giacinto Di Pietrantonio (Director of GAMeC), Jorge Fernandez Torres(Director of Havana Biennial, 2012), Sara Fumagalli e Stefano Raimondi (Curators of GAMeC), Alia Swastika (Co-Artistic Director of Gwangju Biennale, 2012).
The exhibition is part of a series in honour of Arturo Toffetti.