Distorted, broken up and overlapping images blend together with the urgency of representing our complex present. In the spaces of Francesca Minini, Riccardo Previdi explores major themes of our time, in three new bodies of work: the large-scale pictures of Red Carpet, the tables of Fun With Flags and the sealed bags of Vacuum (Celebrity Dresses).
The canvases, obtained by printing with a plotter multiple times on the same support and then painting by hand with acrylics, focus on a group of images of evening galas found on the Internet. These images feature three distinct subjects: the photographers (and the act of looking – but also the technology and the illusion that it gives of stopping time), the actresses (and the act of showing oneself – but also beauty and the ephemeral nature of it), the surrounding environment (the backgrounds with the sponsors and the red carpet – the color of which is almost certainly the memory of the blood of the battles of the past). These three elements, juxtaposed with one another, generate hybrids in which the physiognomy of the actresses disappears. It is a metamorphosis that makes things dissolve into each other, producing a colorful hodgepodge of organic and inorganic matter.
The process and conception behind the tables of Fun With Flags are not that different from what we have described above. Also in this case there is transformation underway. The UV printing on medium-density fiberboards that make up the tables is done in two steps, with the goal of mixing the colors, first mechanically, then with a more pictorial process. The subjects printed are the flags of bordering countries, both in Europe and around the world, that have been at war, or that are now at war or might be in the future. By being superimposed on one another the original geometry and chromatic combinations of the flags is altered, and with it the stories they have generated. The tables, places of sharing, of work, discussion and dialogue, thus become humble sculptures, which step down from their pedestals and accept to perform a practical function.
The pieces of Vacuum (Celebrity Dresses) take up the methods of Vacuum (Cocoon) exhibited at Previdi’s solo show entitled What Next? held last April at the Villa Croce Contemporary Art Museum in Genoa. However, whereas in Genoa the big, transparent plastic bags contained remains of performances done by Previdi over the years, at the Francesca Minini show they contain the imitations of famous dresses that have appeared on the red carpet over the years, purchased by the artist on thecelebritydresses.com and xdressy.com, websites specialized in these kinds of products. As in most cases these days, they are produced in China. The dresses, in some cases just hours after being worn on the most famous red carpets of the planet, are reproduced so quickly that within a week of their first appearance they are already being delivered by couriers all over the world.
The aim, by placing things among them that are at first glance utterly different, is once again to attempt to immortalize the surrounding landscape. It is a landscape that is not only physical, but is in osmosis with the virtual world as well. No-holds-barred commercial, political and military battles are the backdrop of our everyday life. The violence that lies behind many of the things that surround us is a reality that we must come to terms with every day. Always striving to avoid dangerous simplifications, Riccardo Previdi has once again sought to bring to light some of the features that make up the plot and outline of our everyday life, trying not to lose a certain lightness of touch and – when possible – a dash of humor.
Fun with flags by Riccardo Previdi
Francesca Minini, Milan
Through January 18, 2018
Courtesy of Francesca Minini
Photos by Agostino Osio