Artist: Sam Pulitzer
Venue: Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome
Date: September 18 – November 7, 2012
Curated by: Michele D’Aurizio
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome
Pulitzer’s artistic research is founded on the recontextualization of objects and images endowed with a distinctive cultural value. The artist frequently makes use of iconographic repertoires that testify to the emergence of a language comprehensible to the majority of people as a consequence of the process of diffusion of the imagery of the subcultures that have appeared over the last few decades. Through the use of this language, Pulitzer comments on the aesthetic dynamics of representation at work inside and outside the system of contemporary art.
In the past, for example, Pulitzer has integrated into his works certain types of plug that are used to dilate the holes made in piercing. In Western societies, the use of such plugs reflects a desire for transgression on the part of the man or woman who wears them: in fact piercing your body is already in itself not an act that can be identified as a cultural practice; to an even greater extent, ‘filling’ that hole with an object implies identification with the meanings that go hand in hand with that artefact.
Yet the increasingly widespread adoption of practices of piercing among communities of the very young attests to a normative use of them which is ever more distant from the conditions that accompany their affirmation in the punk, goth and industrial lifestyles. Rather, it seems to be a falling into line with systems of consumption that see teenagers as nothing but a target.
In Pulitzer’s works the plugsare set in the walls of the exhibition space. Here, they retain their potential as signs and stimulate a comment on the modes through which contemporary art, as a creative act, cites symbolic systems codified elsewhere.
Untitled expands on the iconographic repertoire suggested in the works that include plugs. The architectural and spatial nature of those works – the dialogue between an absence (the hole) and a presence (the plug) – is re-proposed on the phenomenological plane in the form of a two-dimensional image that adheres to the wall.
Thanks to the characteristic ductility of vinyl, from which it is possible to cut out any graphic profile (the only limitations here are the imagination of the profile’s designer and the technical capacity of the plotter utilized), Pulitzer includes a large number of visual references, with the aim of evoking the sociocultural panoramas to which the plugs allude – creative niches whose imagery borders on those cultivated under the aegis of contemporary art. Thus the works conjure up the garments of certain brands of street wear, designs for tattoos, urban graffiti, animated cartoons and comic strips, fantasy illustrations, etc.
Made with nothing but software and a plotter, these works bear witness to the artist’s attempt to navigate through a certain ‘aesthetic poverty’, consolidated precisely by the spread of creative technologies, that, in the presumption of supporting a culturally valid content, practices cultural piracy as a means of questioning the parameters of aesthetic value.
Finally, Untitled tries to overcome the rift between vandalism and creativity, in an effort to demonstrate, in a setting devoted to art, the actual presence of meaning in aesthetic practices viewed as subcultural or as street art. So the works can be interpreted as citations of some creative strategies used to excess by contemporary art with the aim of supporting the claim of art to present an image of an individual’s innermost self, of his or her set of cultural references, style of life and everyday aesthetic experience.