May the last nationalist
be strangled with the guts
of the last technocrat

text by Sam Pulitzer


GBE Sant’Andrea de Scaphis, Rome

Sept 20 – Dec 8, 2018


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This show continues a sequence of work that I started in 2017 as an attempt to realize my practical (and somewhat bitter) interest in reconciling the post-conceptual modes of artistic communication with the popular sensibilities of commercial, editorial and pedagogical illustration by simply illustrating the then-latest book by Perry Anderson, The H-word: The Peripeteia of Hegemony. I never followed through so literally in fulfilling such a task but, nevertheless, the outlines of the notion managed to shape the work in format and scope.

The format of the work was to be situated in a zone of pastiche in which a resemblance is struck between an animation still, an inspirational poster and a “work on paper”. Rather than produced as a series, the work is organized in non-linear sequence (I suppose had I succeeded in illustrating Anderson’s book, it would have been a linear sequence). Individual works cohere as parts of a whole, lines on a page or, as is suggested above, sequences of a film. I describe the sequence as non-linear in that it comes off closer to a ramble that would accompany a long night at a bar rather than a coherent lecture.

The scope of the work means to represent contemporary claims of globality (claims constitutive for the existence of contemporary art) in light of a historical record of political action that runs contrary to such claims. Despite the potential sweeping scope of such content or even the work’s dalliance with the moral economy of the applied image, this contradiction is framed through stylisations—common, popular or otherwise—that are the stuff of an everyday life. Often grounded in a realism of screen graphics, a totality presented in hints and gleams through the limit of an individuated life, elevated as it can be by the occasional slogan but always bumping against the experience of its own limit—which is, of course, itself.


Photos by Roberto Apa

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