Ehi, voi!

curated by Michele D’Aurizio

ALESSANDRO AGUDIO, FRANCESCO CAGNIN, COSTANZA CANDELORO, DER SABINA, ALBERTO GARUTTI, GASCONADE, MASSIMO GRIMALDI, DARIO GUCCIO, CORRADO LEVI, MARCELLO MALOBERTI, MICHELE MANFELLOTTO, BEATRICE MARCHI, DIEGO MARCON, MOMENTUM, FRANCESCO NAZARDO, GIULIA PISCITELLI, CAROL RAMA, ANDREA ROMANO, DAVIDE STUCCHI, PATRICK TUTTOFUOCO, FRANCESCO VEZZOLI, ITALO ZUFFI

The Hey, you! section of the 16th Art Quadriennale proposes the idea of exploring contemporary Italian art through the language of portraiture. This section presents self-portraits and portraits of figures from within the artist’s community (friends, former fellow pupils, partners, etc.), produced in a variety of media, such as painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance, but also in the form of artist novels, diaries and personal archives. By bringing together works broadly interpreted as representations of the self, Hey, you! encourages a progressive dive down beneath the “surface” of art into the human affairs of the artist. However, this section does not aim to minimize the examination of the work itself in favour of an analysis of the social figure of its creator, but instead sets out to present a blend of these two narratives. In this sense, the portrait is a genre that intrinsically affirms a conformity between the life and work of the artist, proposing a reflection of the self through the act of producing art. Hey, you! is a landscape of faces and bodies ‒ as well as characters and avatars ‒ that invited the spectator to share in the artist’s narrative of the process of producing art, of living by producing art, of existing by producing art.

Italian art, especially over recent years, is full of works that both critics and the wider public have described as cryptic and hermetic, ambiguous and camp. These works are often “elusive”, “indescribable” and “incommunicable”. In response to these interpretations, Hey, you! suggests that in the genre of portraiture these characteristics of Italian art can be seen in a “positive” light because, if we look more closely, they are inseparable from the very language of portrait art. In fact, the portrait is always an act of intimacy and yet, at the same time, even in the most lifelike portrayals, it is fundamental to produce an unnatural image mediated by the codes of representation.

Describing the work and life of the artist within the context of an institutional event such as the Art Quadriennale means not only contributing to the debate on art, but also assessing the state of health of an entire cultural system. The section title refers to artists who experience the invitation to take part in the Art Quadriennale as a real “calling. However, if it is targeted at the organizers, curators and spectators ‒ surrounded by the artists, who are the real figures in question ‒ that “hey, you!” conveys an invitation to reassess the role that each of them plays in contemporary cultural production.

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