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Luca Rossi Lab

Anyone Can Be Luca Rossi

The most interesting personality in Italy

Fabio Cavallucci

Art curator

Luca Rossi is maybe the new Vanessa Beecroft

Artribune

First online art magazine in Italy

LUCA ROSSI, AN ECOLOGY OF ART

Luca Rossi’s entire career can be read as a kind of ‘ecology of art’. Since 2009, the “Luca Rossi” collective has been publicly stimulating that critical confrontation which is as necessary to the system as it is to the development of unconventional planning. Luca Rossi’s anonymity is actually the anonymity of art criticism and critical sense, in a system in which all its actors are potentially connected with everyone and therefore unable to question the choices of their colleagues. It is surprising that the problem of the presence of women in a world that is profoundly clientelistic and closed to confrontation is being raised. It is like criticising the Mafia for not having women in leadership positions, when the problem is not the pink quotas but the Mafia method and the Mafia organisation in general.

This ecology of art is expressed first and foremost in the ability to “train new eyes”. To quote Gilles Deleuze, today we do not need to express ourselves, we do it all too much on social networks and the like. We need interstices of solitude and silence to finally say something real. Here are the black screens that Luca Rossi identifies inside the Fondazione Prada in Venice, here is the silence of his paintings and installations where we see IMG and 4 random numbers: “If you don’t understand something, look it up on Youtube”. This work does not create yet another work of art but a way of ordering and “seeing” dozens and dozens of contents that are created every day in the world but which would otherwise remain submerged. This ingenious 2013 project anticipates and beats the entire NFT world before its birth. But even earlier, in 2009, Luca Rossi opened the series of sculptures made with his fingertips. Works that can only be enjoyed the instant we look at them in front of a screen and that are made “unique” by the fact that they incorporate into the sculpture the traces of saliva and dust we have on our screens. It is impressive to look at these works today, which were created 13 years ago and which anticipate and surpass all the digital thinking that has been going on in recent months.

THE ‘SPECTAUTHOR’ AND THE ALTERMODERN PHASE

Looking back, Luca Rossi’s career faces a phase that began in the early 2000s. A phase that the art world, usually ahead of its time, has not been able to tackle. It is no coincidence that the best “narrow contemporary” exhibition in Italy was Cattelan’s at Hangar Bicocca. This is an artist whose roots go back to the 1990s (advanced postmodernism) and who proposes an exhibition in three acts: the first with a work that works in opposition to Cattelan’s career and thus indirectly lives off that provocative attitude that seeks its strong point in the original remix of the content; the second act with a work that originated in 1997 and the third act reflecting on the attack of 11 September 2001, i.e. something that is still profoundly linked to the season of the 1990s and will open up the next phase, the altermodern one. It is as if the best contemporary art today remained in the 1990s. The reasons for this have often been argued by Luca Rossi: on the one hand, a system that does not need quality to survive (Luca Rossi demonstrates how the 4 pillars of the system do not need quality to thrive) and, on the other hand, a crisis of representation, as if everything that takes place on the pedestal can no longer have any impact except as an elaboration of the past. This is the “Young Indiana Jones Syndrome” from which many young artists suffer and which represents a way of dealing with this crisis of language. Not being able to deal with the present, it is much more effective and reassuring to elaborate on the past by re-proposing derivative codes. Giulia Cenci’s informal art, Nicola Samorì’s profaned ancient art, Francesco Arena and Gian Maria Tosatti’s didactic re-elaboration of arte povera, etc. are all examples of this.

But what does altermodern mean? The term appears in Nicolas Bourriaud’s book “The Radicant”, which talks about it but without finding artists who really develop an altermodern attitude. To understand this attitude, one only has to smell what has happened in the world in the last 20 years. Globally, projects have been successful that no longer focus on the content, we could say on the work of art, but on an information system around the content and which manages the content itself. Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, if you like, are all altermodern projects. If you think about it, these projects are not interested in content, but in a virtuous system of information around it.

Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, if you like, are all altermodern projects. If you think about it, these projects are not interested in content, but in a virtuous system of information around it. Google is not interested in what we are looking for, but in that we are doing it; Apple is not interested in what we are doing with our mobile phone, but in that we are buying it; Amazon is not interested in what we are buying, but in that we are doing it on its platform. This lack of interest in content is due to the fact that the role of author is now hybridised with that of spectator and all the others. Think of the famous ‘selfie’ where author, viewer and content magically coincide. “Luca Rossi” since 2009 perfectly represents this fusion and confusion of roles. When he enters the Fondazione Prada to make his intervention, Luca Rossi is visitor, spectator, author, critic, curator, press office, collector of his vision and even director of the space in which he is intervening. Attention, because Luca Rossi has been developing this awareness and attitude since 2009, at a time when the absence of social networks as we know them today could not have foreseen this fusion and confusion of roles.

DOCUMENTA 15: LUCA ROSSI’S SECRET PROJECT

The secret project that Luca Rossi is organising for Documenta 15 is profoundly linked to the Altermodern phase: the content is totally irrelevant in favour of a system of communication and information around it. There is and there isn’t content. On the contrary, it is strongly present and puts the spectator in the condition of believing or not believing in his mobile phone, which for Luca Rossi is a sort of “amulet” and “pagan crucifix”, central to interpreting the degeneration of the Altermodern phase as much as its value in terms of an opportunity to reconstruct meaning and significance. A project that is both simple and complex at the same time, which tackles some of the central nodes of our present, such as the relationship between the real and the digital, a lost rituality, the great migratory flows and climate change.

After Modern (original content up to around 1973) and Postmodern (original remix up to 2001), in the Altermodern phase we find the “performer” at the centre, and thus a definition and a complex nature of the work of art that lives on several levels. This obviously also has consequences for the definition of “museum”. In 2021, the birth of Luca Rossi’s Nomad Museum seeks to contain this change. Here the conventional artwork is no longer at the centre of the system in favour of an information system that manages the information around the artwork itself. If you think about it, this also happens in the conventional art system when, faced with an overload of works and artists, the most interesting artists are automatically those highlighted and selected by the curator or the institution. This is apart from any analysis of the often “interesting” and “pleasant” content because it is an elaboration of something we already know and which derives from the modern or postmodern. Here the curator, just like the Google “search engine”, becomes an altermodern tool, but one that is limited by not being an artist himself (so we do not have the necessary total fusion) and by having to “compete” with hundreds of other “curators”. The overload of works/artists is very similar metaphorically to the overload of information for which all of us, armed with our mobile phones, are producers and consumers, creators and victims. How can we save ourselves from this overload? The project Luca Rossi is preparing for Documenta 15 will be able to tell us a lot about this question.