TEXTS


MAXISEQVESTRO (Huge Seizure)
Sculpture and Painting by Mario Milizia
Text Francesco Bonami
ANEW Magazine, March 2014

The Dutch painter Han van Meegeren could have been sentenced to death for treason, for the sale of a Vermeer to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. He saved his own life very simply. At the trial he painted a Vermeer, proving that what he had sold to the Nazi marshal was just a very skillful forgery. The forgery and looting of art has always been a very fascinating subject. Recently the movie directed by George Clooney Monuments Men told a story of recovery of art treasures looted during World War II by the Nazis. Grabbing art has been always a hobby of dictators and imperialist. When originals were not available, emperors and tyrants have often deluded themselves, commissioning masterly forgeries known as “copies after the originals.” Sometimes those copies or forgeries – depending on what use was made of them – are actually better than the originals. In a suburb of Seoul I once saw a perfect reproduction in pure marble of Michelangelo’s Pietà, the one displayed behind thick glass at Saint Peter’s in Rome. In Seoul I could gaze at the sculpture from all sides, a privilege denied viewers in Rome. In a very serious way, Mario Milizia makes light of this idea of forgery, reproduction and looting, creating an imaginary collection of stolen art that is probably much better than a lot of the real art stolen from private homes or minor museums. What Milizia highlights with his project is the allure that surrounds a stolen work of art, in spite of its real economic and aesthetic value. Stolen goods gain some kind of bonus by the simple fact that they have been filched, just as figs picked directly from the tree taste better than those you pay for at the fruit stand. After all, if something – particularly art – is worth stealing, then it must have some kind of value. In fact, if we forget that Milizia’s project is artificial and look at it as an assembly of real works of art, we experience some kind of real visual pleasure. The value of art is about information. We never desire a work of art so much as when it has gone missing. Milizia’s operation precisely addresses the mystery of longing for something or someone only once they are no longer available.

-

For over fifteen years now, Mario Milizia has been a curious tourist of our globalized modernity: he looks at the international forms of entertainment and consumption rituals; he highlights the intentionally “generic” identity of certain art, like certain architecture and modern music; he investigates the new identity of digitalized media.

With the attitude of an editor, Milizia deconstructs the dynamics of production, consumption, and entertainment in post-industrial societies. Using above all photography and sound, he constantly questions the modalities with which new technologies alter and influence the perception, transmission, and enjoyment of these very languages, and how these narrate a new cultural and anthropological condition.

In Milizia’s work the meta-linguistic attitude serves to question the historical, social, and economic codes traditionally transmitted by artistic production, to interrogate concepts such as invention, originality, and authorship. Similar to perceptive deceptions, his works evidence how much falsity and conventionality are hidden in the forms and images we produce and consume. Mario Milizia’s latest trap is to reveal, under this seemingly cynical and ironic attitude, that there often hides an unexpected sentimental substance.
                                                  
Luca Cerizza

-

Mario Milizia è senz’altro una figura autonoma nel contesto artistico italiano della sua generazione. Opera una sorta di stratificazione tra le immagini che raccoglie, significando tra esse un processo di sedimentazione quasi geologico; parte da un linguaggio grafico di tipo concreto e strutturale, sul quale imprime una sorta di accelerazione visiva. Talvolta la sua ricerca si focalizza sulla progettazione di accadimenti immaginari, eppure assolutamente plausibili, che porta avanti con un rigore eccezionale, esprimendo un passaggio possibile dalla monoglossia verbale della poesia concreta alla singlossia accettata e liberamente interpretata con straordinario estro fantastico. Utilizza anche il collage che attraverso il suo lavoro diventa “pollage”, “rollage”, “chiasmage”, “stratificazione”. Usa questo medium su segni desunti dalle locandine dei film, ad esempio, così che le immagini stesse sembrano dilatarsi e assumere la condizione temporale in una poetica, anche ironica e carica di sensualità. Lo stesso dicasi per il suo uso del colore, assolutamente caratterizzato dall’incontro tra parametri tecnici e approccio di sensazione fino a raggiungere e conquistare una straordinaria libertà espressiva. Passa allora dalla dimensione del quadro a quella dell’installazione, dal volore “animico” a quello “percettivo” del colore. Quasi intendesse considerare il concretismo astratto “una mascheratura razionalizzata dell’emotivo”, mira a sollecitare una capacità di sentire una nuova intelligenza emotiva. Nelle aggregazioni di simboli e oggetti, ma idealmente anche nelle rappresentazioni bidimensionali, avverte lo spazio non più come cartesiano ma come spazio vitale. Così la sua esattezza diventa un mezzo di analisi psicologica e comportamentale.
Mario Milizia attiva uno sguardo disincantato rispetto alle mitologie del nostro tempo e in molti casi opera una trasposizione organica di parole e simboli ideografici che quindi si fanno folla e paesaggio. Oppure rievoca moduli fantastici spaziotemporali, in un pullulare di segni ripetuti, fratti, sovrapposti, in una pulsante densità atmosferica.

Marco Tagliafierro