Interview with the artist: Ilaria Novelli

Between virtual reality and Japanise manga; between surreal tales and crime beat; between TV icons and hidden perversion. Mixing her traditional background to humanise digital techniques, the Italian artist Ilaria Novelli gives birth to eccentric female characters playing with the contradictory tendencies of our society.

Rather than suggesting an ethical behaviour, the artist combines the sources of her daily inspiration to reverse the usual stereotypes of our current society. From daily news to science fiction to the Great Masters of the past, the artist’s inspiration is in constant evolution as well as her works.

Secretive and not very talkative, Ilaria speaks through her images suggesting creative ways to go beyond the obvious appearance in the every-day life. Pushing the contradiction between what we are used to seeing and how the world is changing, the artist leaves open the question on how we perceive culture and society towards a critical analysis of our times.

Combining traditional and iconic images with contemporary techniques, Ilaria offers an example of how to think of, and play with, new tendencies and technologies without losing the human elements and symbols of our traditional background.

Waiting for her new year’s inspiration, here is an interview with Ilaria about her future projects and artistic journey.

1 – Between surrealist images and digital collage, how did you start to explore and prefer these techniques?

I have always been fascinated by technology, robotics and science fiction, disciplines and concepts consolidated and romanticized by every form of artistic expression. We tend to distrust the digital representation, it’s considered less virtuous and humanized, so I try to use it in a more artisanal way, leaving room to imperfection and to the human component. Starting with the collage, I turned it into a more immediate and intuitive technique both in the realization and in the elaboration, a combination between the handmade and a virtual immanent.

2 – For your pieces, you usually take inspiration from anime and fairy tails as well as crime beat and current events. How are these elements giving form to the diverse personalities of your characters?

Anime is my cosmogony, when I was a child I copied Japanese cartoons’ characters, a starting point to explore my personal mythology made of all the visual and cultural stimuli that surround me. In the past years, I have detached myself from the fanciful components even if I have kept the illustrative form to represent my themes. I have a very personal universe based on my experiences and imagination, I create in a sort of straightforward and private journaling style. Even the personality of the anthropomorphic figures always reflects my mood and my interests, I use current or historical events only if they are aimed at expressing them.

3 – In between childhood and adulthood, your naughty girls are combining conflicting emotion leaving the interpretation open for the viewer. How is this ‘ambiguity’ representing the identity of women in our society?

The feminine and individual soul has suffered the violent impact with the ranting, huge and unpredictable wave of the massifying contemporary culture. Beauty and eternal youth are essential dogmas as well as a collective shared knowledge. Our counsciousness is conformed and aligned as our evolutionary path.

4 – In your works, the naive pictorial style clashes with the brutality of contents, pushing the viewer toward a critique of the social and cultural dogma of our society. How do you see the potential of art in revealing the contradiction of our society for the new generation?

I believe that art is always maieutical and never didactic. The viewer must create or understand the truth or one of its versions.

5 – What are your future projects?

I’ll have two exhibitions both in the USA for the upcoming year. The first at the MF Gallery in New York, I’ll be the only Italian with two American artists: Lou Rusconi and David Scott Montgomery.

The second one is mostly an all female collective show “The Slap Show” curated by the artist Kawaii Suga, a charity event that will collect funds for homeless women.

Interview to the artist: Sine Senze

Sine Senze is Martina D’Anastasio, a young artist based in Rome. Since her childhood, she is living in between reality and an underworld populated by fairy and magic creatures. Drawing her imaginary friends to bring them to life, Martina transforms painting and drawing into the language to narrate the underworld in her mind.

Starting her studies with realistic and photorealistic painting technique at the Rome art academy, the themes of Pop Surrealism capture the artist’s imagination during a trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art. Mixing these two techniques, Martina plays with elements of reality and fantasy to explore human emotions and giving form to new worlds playing with the visual elements of our contemporary society and traditional fairytales.

Combining traditional and classic icons with grotesque and surreal elements, Martina offers a personal and intimate perspective on our world with a unique lens that challenges the borders of what we consider real and logic.

Exhibiting around Italy, Europe and US, here an interview with the artist about her work and future projects.

1 – Could you tell us where your art name comes from and why did you choose it?

The name Sine Senze is a mash-up between English and Latin: it means senseless, without sense.

2 – In your works you combine photorealistic paint with Pop Surrealism themes.  How did you arrive to prefer this combination of media?

I’ve been always fascinated by the photorealistic technique. You can reproduce something that looks real on a “flat” surface and if you think about it it’s more abstract than abstract art. It’s an illusion, it isn’t real. It took me many years to learn this technique. I had to work really hard, especially on colour value. But you know, as many artists I’m never satisfied, and just “repaint” reality bored me at some point. I needed more. Since I was a kid I’ve always been playing pretending to be someone else like a fairy, a witch, a magic animal. I’ve always had an alter world in my mind, full of weird creatures and imaginary friends and the way to bring them to life was to draw them. I draw since I remember, since I was a little kid. It is my way to communicate: I paint, I draw to tell you a story. I learned to paint and then I combined this skill with my inner imaginary world and that’s how my “Pop Surreal” journey began. In my painting I’m telling you a story.

3 – How travelling and meeting international artists have had an influence on your artistic journey?

I’ve met so many important artists. Some of them inspired me so much but some of them disappointed me as “real people”. I’m sure I might look delusional to some of them as well. I always think that it’s better not to know your hero: when someone is your  “Art Hero” stays in your heart as a flawless soul and that’s how it should be. I know, It might sound depressive! 

4 – Especially after your trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art and the immersion in Pop Surrealism themes, your works often play with uncanny and beauty. How does this tension represent the combination of reality and fantasy in your work?

Travelling around the United States was a dream. I learned so much, I saw so much. It is a place where the beauty and the ugliness of this world live together, like the yin and the yang. Reality has both the faces and I wanted to express this in my art. Fantasy is the other face of reality, sorrow is the other face of joy. I wanted this tension to be expressed in my art, I want my inner world to meet the reality and built a connection between the real world and the dreams world. That’s why photorealism wasn’t enough for me.

5 – Can you tell us about your current projects?

Now I’m moving forward on my “Broken Mirrors” projects and I’m also working on “blurred” portraits series. I can’t wait to show you more! In those paint the central question is the Io (self), our identity, our bound between this world and the other one, how we are fragile and so incredibly strong at the same time. 

 

Interview with the artist: Marco About

Marco Bevivino is a Roman artist expert in music, pizza and supplì. The ‘arty’ name Marco About comes from his old music band, the Think about. He does not like to be defined as an artist, at all.

His creative journey starts with hand-made music posters, bouncing around freelancing jobs; a too long experience as a graphic; to end up in a silkscreen laboratory  – where he seems to be finally settled. Meantime, before jumping into interactive urban projects and festivals, Marco used also to present his illustrations in different art exhibitions, until he decided to leave the ‘arty-world’ forever – excluding some rare exceptions.

 

During this unconventional journey of exploration, Marco plays with traditional and digital medium without ever losing is humoristic and direct style. Despite his disillusion of our times, the artist plays with animals and weirdos to interact with the audience making jokes on our contradictory society. Here an interview with Marco about his work and his thoughts on the potential of art to interact with people.

1 – How did you start between illustration and music?

When I was about 16, I began playing in a punk hardcore band. At the time, the posters of the events were completely hand-made. Where I use to hang out, talented guys usually created posters for their own music shows, with scissors and newspaper clippings.

I have been always drawing, but only for myself; I just did some graphics work for the shops around my area. As soon as I had the chance to make a poster for my own band, I immediately rebound to try out possible combinations of images and words. Supposedly, someone thought that I was not that bad after all, and slowly I got commissions for concerts, festival and different kind of events.

2 – From graphic to silkscreen to pen and pencil. What is your favourite medium?

Surely, my favourites are pencil and pen on paper because of their immediacy; it is where everything starts. Years ago, silkscreen captured me, and I hand-printed a lot of posters. When sometimes I still need to print something, I usually go to the lab where I use to work as a graphic.

The graphic, unfortunately, it is a boring work that I always try to avoid.

3 – You often portray animals humanising their emotion and behaviour. How do you see the relationship between animals and us?

Animals are the true inhabitants of the planets, while we are dirty and disrespectful hosts slowly leading the world to the collapse. Actually, animals’ emotions are a way more beautiful and pure than human’s one. Not fully understanding them, however, in my drawings, I tent to attribute to them our behaviours… and they don’t really deserve it!

4 – Working as graphic and musician, you are often in direct contact with your public and your work has a strong visual impact. Does the art need to be communicative for you?

Thanks for the ‘musicians’! Actually, I don’t play very well and I am singing even worse in a hilarious punk-rock band.

But yea, I believe that art is here to communicate, to tell you: ‘hey you, something is happening here, can you see?’

This message should arrive to all, and for this reason, I think that we need a language and images clear to anyone. In the end, the scope is to communicate, even if it is difficult sometimes.

5 – You are also part of the artistic collective M.U.Ro to renovate forgotten areas of Rome with Wall Painting.  How would you describe the potential of these artistic interventions in the city, particularly in the social context of Rome?

I collaborated with M.U.Ro a few years ago. The Roman artist Diavù initiated the project to renovate some of Rome’s areas. I did an intervention painting some little animals in a park of Quadraro and some others in a pre-school.

Among M.U.Ro, Rome is full of realities working on the requalification of the city through art, but my experience with Wall Painting ended at the time.

I am sure that these are projects full of potential. Today, a few years later, my position about is slightly changed.

I believe that a huge monster of cement is not going to change with colours on it. Actually, the risk is to give more attention to something ugly and bad located compare to the landscape.

In this sense, sometimes, maybe we should be more careful in choosing where and how to paint.

Tribute to David Lynch

The duo-exhibition by the Sicilian illustrator Amalia Caratozzolo and the Roman writer Stefano Shone opened on Friday the second exhibition season at Inferno Store.  After the first round in Tuscany, ‘Tribute to David Lynch’ exhibition will stay in Rome until the 11th of January.

 

Between vynil discs, independent publication and music posters, Inferno Store opens with a homage to David Lynch combining the works of the Sicilian illustrator Amalia Caratozzolo and the Roman calligrapher and writer Stefano Shone. If Amalia Caratozzolo engraves the immortal expression of Lynch’s characters, Shone crystallises the essence of his movies in one significative quote. Curated by Rossana Calbi, the show plays with different backgrounds and artists to capture the iconic and mysterious world of Lynch’s characters and atmospheres.

Before Rome, the show was presented for the first time in Ambra, near Arezzo. Opening the Cinema season, the visual exhibition played with dynamic live performances and video-projections by Luca Zampi to explore the symbolic atmosphere created by the American director. Among screen projections, the burlesque performance by Elle Bottom Rouge, celebrating Mulholland Drive (2001), brought to life the artworks creating an invisible connection between the artworks and the screen.

This time, the artworks are combined with texts to open new interpretations of Lynch’s influence on our society. A fanzine completely dedicated to the director collects the artworks of the exhibition and a comic strip by Adriana Farina and Massimiliano Filandoro. The visual exploration of Lynch’s iconic world is framed by the essays of two film critics, Matteo Marino and Daniele Silipo, reflecting on the influence of the filmmaker on our generation and cinema production.

The combination of perspectives and artists offers the bottom line to interpret this variety of suggestions. As in Lynch’s work the plot and message are always hidden and transformed by the iconic elements, Strange Opera proposes a show in evolution that homage an artist to create new art. Without forcing a unique reading of Lynch, this tribute creates a ground to suggest an interpretation of our time through the surreal and iconic world of the director that most influence our generation.

 

 

Interview with t​h​e artist: Antonio De Blasi

Antonio De Blasi is an Italian illustrator and portrait artist from Orbetello, Italy. His passion for drawing grows in time, expressing his impression of life and the evolution of his artistic maturity. Self-taught artist, Antonio explores every-day gestures and human emotions with graphite and pencils, playing between the figurative and surrealist imaginary to give form to his subjects on paper.

The investigation of human feeling is combined with the inspiration coming from the sea, that gives to the artist’s figures a unique personality. Because of the ephemeral and magic character of his subjects belonging to a mysterious world, the artist often collaborates with publishing houses to capture the atmosphere of poetry and narrative. The use of graphite and the sea imaginary accentuate the intensity of the emotional expression, guiding the imagination to infinite stories.

The artist just left North Carolina after the solo show The Black Sea at the Jake Roger Gallery, following the collective exhibition LP_Lost People in Tuscany. While waiting for Antonio’s next destination, we asked the artist about his work and his artistic inspiration.

1 – You are a self-taught artist with a strong passion for drawing. Which style has inspired your personal artistic journey?

Yes, I am a self-taught artist: I ever had masters nor courses. I did explore drawing in the museums around me, copying the works of the greatest masters and analysing art catalogues. I also love the artist’s biography, I have lots of them, they have always been a central point of my activity. I have been inspired most by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Hayez and Modigliani while, between contemporary artists, surely by James Jean, Nicola Verlato, Saturno Buttò, Marco Mazzoni, Agostino Arrivabene, Andrea Martinelli.

2 – Which subjects are challenging and motivating your artistic research?

I love the human figure in any of its forms and I love to represent it both in a realistic and surrealistic way, often combining it with elements connected with my other main passion: the sea. My current production is going in this direction. My artistic research focuses on the study of the sign and on the form before the colour, the study of darkness, I use just little colours that are emphasised by the blackness around. I do not paint or use brushes.

3 – Between your past projects, which one has most influenced you as an artist?

Surely the illustrations for books allowed me to work with editors, writers, poets and journalists; the exchange with these personalities was, and still is, fundamental for my personal growth.

4 – You have been part of the group exhibition LP_LostPeople, about loneliness, loss and travelling. How these concepts are relating to your personal artistic vision, also in relation to the Italian situation?

I feel very internally the theme of loneliness: is a fundamental element not only for drawing but also for my personal equilibrium (I am happy and a good company only when I have been enough on my own). The figures of my piece are the portrait of my loneliness, and my studio is the ideal place to give form to my works. About the idea of travelling: I see my artistic path as a long and undefinable journey that with pleasure also ended up in Badia a Ruoti with the group exhibition LP.

Interview to the artist: Sergio Masala

Based in Genoa, Sergio Marsala is an artist and illustrator from Modena, starting his career with Franco Buffarello, Sandro Cortesogno, Lele Luzzati, Gianni Polidori, Sergio Fedriani. Bouncing between theatre stage and comic illustration, the artist plays with familiar figuration and everyday suggestion to understand our daily life. In the solo exhibition snaturar corrivo, for example, Masala portraits little monsters representing the doubts that we try to hide every day. These creatures, however, are funny and clumsy to remind us that we can learn how to playfully face our fear.

Exhibiting between Italy, England and Franch, Sergio is also juggling between different activities that are constantly feeding the diversity of his work. Moving between children illustration, underground publishing and collaboration with theatres and cultural events, the artist explores different medium and approach to specialise in collage.

Sergio is now getting ready for his new exhibition for the Coaster Show 2018 edition in Los Angeles, after participating to last year edition. While we are waiting for his new creations, we asked Sergio about his work and his last project Lost People, a group exhibition about loneliness, travelling and identity. Presented for the first time at the Beu-Beu Art Festival, Lost Kids combines the playful approach of the artist with a reflection on identity in a fast and mobile world in which we constantly rush to become adult and too often we forget how to play.

Lost Kids
  • You are mainly working on stage design and illustration, specialising in collage. What do you like most of these techniques?

For what concerns the first two activities, which I usually approach in a similar way, it is the opportunity to interact with the text (dramatic in the first case, narrative in the second); I have always been interested in capturing the suggestion from the world of literature to transform them within visible ambient and imagine.

The technique of collage fascinates me for the opportunity of creating something new, re-using/re-locating/attributing a new meaning to something already there, even better if it is useless but conserving a trace of the previous story. I often reuse wastes for my creation, both for stage design and illustration. In a similar way, lately, cardboard is my favourite support for painting and drawing.  

  • You have also organising children workshop. How did this activity influence your artistic creativity?

My research began years ago from a childish approach to drawing rather than academic, to which I have always been deeply connected to. I carefully observe how kids are drawing in preschools and I have a small collection of their works that I often look up to take inspiration. Actually, that’s also why my work for LP, Lost People exhibition is Lost Kids. For the same reason, I have always been attracted by ethnic art and Art Brut. Any time I have the chance to make a painting with kids I do learn something new.

  • Are the subjects of your pieces connected or inspired by your every-day life?

I would rather say that they are inspired by my oniric life, which most likely is largely influenced by my every-day and previous life, by the art I have seen and by.. what I have eaten for dinner!

I try as much as I can do something out by dreams, imaginary character and atmosphere, which is not easy at all.

  • How do you relate the themes of LPLostPeople with your individual and artistic vision of the world, also considering the Italian socio-political context?

When I draw my pieces, I  let my inspiration to come out unconsciously and automatically, and the same was for the theme of the exhibition. the Italian socio-political context has probably emphasised my tendency in depicting the monstrous, nowadays very relevant theme.

 

A month after… Noisily!

Last month, Noisily Festival opened its beautiful field on the 5thof July, lost in the deep Coney Wood in Leicestershire. Since its debut in 2012, the Festival keeps growing through a combination of music and arts to inspire passion, self-expression, a sense of community and connection with nature. 

For its seventh year, Noisily opened in the Soul, Mind and Body area with a small art gallery; a little tent to play with colours and drawing; a telescope to look at the stars; and a first taste of the amazing music set for the weekend.

The line-up for this year spanned techno, psy-trance and experimental bass, showing their intentions of offering a wider range of music to attract different people without losing the elements of originality and discovery. In the Noisily Stage, you could dance on the house-techno vibes of Solee, Louie Cut or James Monro, while the Liquid Stage dedicated its deconstructed geometrical shapes to psy-trance with the shows of 4D, Bad Tango or Symbolic. Almost hidden between the stands, the Leisure Centre was playing all kinds of music, from spoken word to dub, while the Three House Stage moved the dance floor with Ed Solo, Far Too Laud, The Chicken Brothers and Slug Wife.

The stages in the woods were spread around a central space in which everyone could enjoy artisan food, circus and fire performances, as well as simply talk about the night on the floor with someone you never met before. Or you could just get lost in the woods and follow the lights installation almost hidden in alternative paths between the stages, or discover paintings in progress, wooden constructions and hidden games, interacting not only with the festival but also with the peculiar atmosphere of the wood.

Two site-specific, interactive art installations were particular examples to see the proactive interaction between people and the external environment. Symbiosis is a dome-shaped installation that aims to combine technology and art in the peaceful environment of the wood. Created by the artist Kira Zhigalina, the sound designer Andrey Novikov and the engineer Adrian Godwin, the installation plays with sensors and LED lights, which move following the breath of the participants inside the intimate ‘igloo’, stimulating a deeper sense of connection with yourself, the others and the environment. The second installation Rebirth, by the artists collective Madin, is a giant egg made out of recycled pallet wood, which people could get in and feel intimately connected in this bubble that gave the illusion of floating in the wood.

These two installations are programmatic examples of the intention of offering a ground in which anyone is free to express him or her self, respecting the others and the environment outside the usual labels of our society. If, generally, festivals are seen as places in which to completely disconnect with reality and stop thinking about the contradictions of our time, in contrast Noisily proposes an alternative approach to the issues characterising our society. The program ‘looking after the wood’, for example, made people and traders think about how to avoid the overproduction of plastic and rubbish to respect the wood, while art and installation created alternative occasions for encounters with people outside your usual social circle.

 

In this sense, Rebirth and Symbiosis enclose this deep intention at the core of the Festival. Made out of recycled material, both installations proposed an alternative way to combine the importance of responding to the environmental issues with the necessity of stimulating an alternative understanding to connect to the diversity around us. Rather than playing with spectacular installations that can surprise for short time, the Noisily team is committed to leaving memories that you can bring with you to your everyday life.

That’s what makes this festival so unique. Noisily offers a peculiar example to think of the potential of festivals to suggest an individual sense of responsibility and critical reflection while having fun. The magic environment of the woods, in combination with music and art, stimulates this deep sense of connection, interaction and dialogue. It reflects the need to understand our complex and contradictory society through new schemes, rather than lazily relying on old mind structures. Wishing to see the festival on the edge of the mainstream dynamics again next year, we look forward to seeing how the decoration in the wood and the music will stimulate new connections and new approaches to proactively respond to our society, while having a lot of fun!

Down town in the hell

  On the 7thof January, Inferno store re-opened in Rome with an intense new cultural season of book, music records and art. The old record shop Hellnation, belonging to Roberto Gagliardi, is now directed by Claudia Acciarino , Antonio Olivieri, both musician, and Martina Ronca, punk singer and curator, that are playing with their different background to give a unique personality to the small shop.

 

At the beginning of January, the new direction celebrated the new season of adventure with three days event with music, live painting from Marco About and Sicks, a live showcase of uBiK, books, comics and accessories.  This Saturday, Inferno Store opens its space for a recording label To Lose Track listening day, curated by Capperi! (LAGS), distribute by AudioGlobe.

The vibrant and eclectic vibes of the store frame the works of the Roman artist Debora Malis for the solo exhibition Mi Odio, curated by Rossana Calbi, in collaboration with Strange Opera.

The artist, in her peculiar feminine touch, shapes the ‘bad thoughts’ of a good girl in terracotta polychrome, illustrating the female soul between delicacy and provocation. The childish feeling of fear connected with these thoughts is transforming to accept the confusion and contradiction of being a woman. The expression of this femininity finds a balance with the others around, especially with his male counterpart the right provocation to understand her.

 

In this continuous research of new forms and expression, Mi Odio shows us a peaceful and hilarious way of accepting contradictions and incongruities of a female soul, in which we can all recognise. With her feminine and intimate approach, Debora transforms confused thoughts, doubts and fears into works of art.

The exhibition of Debora Malis, combined with the events organised by the new direction of Inferno Store, offers us an interesting overview of the Roman cultural underground. The mix of different background, styles and disciplines not only creates an occasion of encounter, but also the opportunity of experimenting a different cultural approach outside the art event.

 

 

 

 

Jupiter in Saturn

“Jupiter in Saturn” debuts tonight at Fondaco space with the works of Fabio Timpanaro and the sounds of Luca Longobardi. Curated by Nero Gallery, this exhibition is an anticipation of a show that will run in January to celebrate Twin Peaks of David Lynch, host of honour of the 12° edition of the International Film Festival of Rome.

 

David Lynch is one of the most innovative and eclectic firms of contemporary filmmakers. In occasion of the 50° anniversary of his career, the International Film Festival of Rome invited the director to tribute his works with the Premio alla Carriera. Master of uncanny, surreal atmosphere, twofold meaning and lack of linearity, Lynch is a director, screenwriter, producer, painter, musician, actor, and photographer. Parallel to the award ceremony, Nero Gallery organised a pop-up event to celebrate Twin Peaks, the famous series that has revolutionised the world and the language of TV shows.

“Jupiter in Saturn” is an exhibition that collects the works of Fabio Timpanaro, digital artist and creative director who dedicated his last works to the disquieting story of this small logging town five miles south of the Canadian border. Working on the mystery around the characters and the surreal atmosphere of the village, the artist offers us an overview of the peculiar symbolic language that makes Lyncian’s works open to several interpretations. Lynch inspired Timpanaro not only for the peculiar innovation of his works, but also for his artistic exploration. The works presented at the exhibition are characterised by an original combination of photography, digital and oil painting, which reflects the mystical and symbolic universe of Twin Peaks. In conjunction, Luca Longobardi curated an audio installation entitled 2357, that plays with the timbre and metric research of the sound imagery of the surreal world created by Lynch.

While we are waiting for the collective exhibition that will be run from January at the Nero Gallery, this anticipation makes us think about how the director is not only an inspiration for the world of cinema and photography, but also for the artistic research in a broader sense.  The peculiarity of this tribute is the creative play that Timpanaro and Longobardi have to engage with their own medium and the open interpretation they left to the viewer, rather than a linear and clear reference to an artist that cannot be classified because of his individual exploration.

Eastern palace for pleasure

On Wednesday, at the Nero Gallery in Rome, ended  “Eastern palace for pleasure’. For this solo exhibition, the curators Daphnée Thibaud and Giulia Capogna collected the works of Tony Cheung, Chinese artist who plays with pop illustration and ceramic on the contradiction of his culture.

Over the centuries, Chinese influences captured our imagination with fascinating manufacturing of silk and ceramic, and the variety of traditions and languages still evolving and transforming within the society. The connection with this immense land increased with the economic crisis in Europe, when the role of China as superpower became every day more evident in our economy. However, what we know about this vast and variegated land is only a small angle of the whole picture.

Since 2008, Beijing government has been filtering and detecting any information or channel of communication that could create doubts or discussion on the political moves of the government. YouTube, Google, Whatsapp or Social Media, which in the Western world are basically necessary to be part of the society, are totally forbidden in almost the all country. Beyond what we can see on the surface, the internal differences create contradiction not only for the political party, but also for the identity of the citizen.

 

 

Tony Cheung, from Canton, based his works on this social contradiction with a combination of Japanese manga, old Chinese painting, ceramic and the political posters of the Mao period. Tony began his artistic career with “Sensitive Words”, a project to investigate the evolution of the meaning of words under censorship, and the limits of expression on Internet and channel of communications. The artist’s illustrations highlight the contradiction in the society, analysing how ancient tradition and globalization are affecting the individual expression.

With a sarcastic vein, the artist plays on the commonplace connected with his culture, like school uniform or transformation of sexuality, illustrating how old and global tendencies are forming new shapes in Chinese society. Using traditional medium as illustration and ceramic, the artist proposes unexpected, dirty content without filter or easy moral.

The interesting aspect of the artist’s project is the lack of intention of leading the visitor to a fixed interpretation. In opposition with the philosophy of censorship and obvious categorisations, the artist leaves the observer free to give is own interpretation, without any label, but using the eyes of the artist to develop a personal understanding. This is a brilliant example of integration between two different cultures, where the opportunity for a “meeting” is left to the work of art, and how they move our sensibility or interest, rather than to a ready-made product that promotes the same, easy, meaning for everyone.