Domenico Quaranta, “Italians Do It Better!!”, in AA.VV., Neoludica. Art Is a Game 2011 – 1966, Skira, Milano 2011.
Italians Do It Better!! was an exhibition that ought to be done. After a few years working as an art critic and curator, I learned to look with suspicion at the following things: exhibitions that seek to explore the artistic use of any given medium, and exhibitions that refer to an alleged national identity. Both these categories are today, in art, misleading and outdated. Artists are moving between media with the same freedom with which they cross national borders. Contemporary art is now a global Esperanto, a lingua franca that makes use of all media to generate a dialogue, on a common platform, between artists from all over the world.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that the specific nature of a medium, as well as cultural identity, are obsolete, remnants of a past that someone tries, painfully and artificially, to keep alive. They are, however, the result of a choice, an achievement, not a badge or a label that qualify an artist for the simple fact that she is born in a certain place, or that she usually works with a specific medium. There are no such things as Iranian video art, German photography, Latin American performance, Japanese painting; and any attempt to cluster a group around terms like these has to fight, on the one hand, with transnational affinities and, on the other, with transmedia affinities. But there can be, and indeed there is, an artist who has carved with pain in her Iranian identity, and who has found in video the best suited language to talk about it; there can be, and there is, an artist able to express – mostly in the form of a painting – contemporary Japanese culture and its elements of continuity and rupture with an ancestral tradition. Continua a leggere