Fibrillations (for Paolo Monti)
Gilberto Pellizzoli, Professor of Art History at the Academy of Fine Arts
of Carrara, Italy
In other words: fragments and impressions, comparing dialect to an artistic
procedure, one that belongs to Paolo Monti, instead, fluid and constant as in a
narrative. One that comes about in real-time and in the physical space of the
techno-scientific phenomenon. In these terms, events and works identify
themselves and are made concrete in the curved-line on the horizon of events.
I realise that I cannot find anything other than evident and separated
propositions, a kind of erring by approximation, to describe Paolo’s work in my
own words. Truly dense and structural and essential is his research, as much as
mine is wild and unequal. (In this embarrassment the sign of the tragic-comic
staleness that still opposes “humanists” and “scientists” is found.)
Monti says: science (not technology), and the like immediately improvise a case.
Its uniqueness of author, the undertone of the sense, repose at an ulterior
level in respect to the “machinic" resemblance and, in some cases,
para-sculptural, or, elsewhere, decantered in light and images and reflections.
In any case, Monti leads us to the edge of the imperceptible and to the extreme
borders of sensoriality.
The adventure of the forms is all in this unceremonious assertion and, at the
same time, rebellious, provocative: Science. An already epochal word and a
high-potential and evocative semantic one but, today, in crisis because it is
vulgarised until it is reduced to an icon.
Of true scientific nature inside a rare artistic approach, it has become
retaliation if compared to the two main planes of dialogue that battle between
art and technology (in which its elusive context appears easy to place Monti).
On one hand, the supremacy of the image and of the technological
performativity, that treats electronic language with spectacular
emphasis and technical virtuosity. On the other hand, an attitude of derivation
from poor art and of new avant-garde, which lays the technological environment
open to criticism, with problematic results which are often derisive. On both
fronts it would appear fundamental to confer an aesthetical plus-value to
technological presence, as if remediating an original vice (probably its
Monti has always been estranged and dissimilar in respect to these two poles,
seeing as his work preserves the rigor and fantasy of science, at all times, in
his constructive ambiguity of experimentation and magic, of play and
demonstration. Also, it is enriched by stratifications and subtexts towards a
new and modern defence of scientific reckoning: like a spectacular substance of
creative reasoning. (The diversity of Monti’s work is strident, especially in
his home country of Italy, where he lives – most apt is the lovely paradox by
Giulio Bollati – “they feel postmodern without having first being modern”).
In a fast and defective figuration of Monti’s genealogy you should be able to
read into it the confirmation of having illustrious ancestors (from the Sublime
Technological Eighth & Ninth Centuries to an element of Futurism, from Moholy
Nagy to Fluxus, right up to the isolated research of Bruno Munari and Piero
Fogliati). However and, perhaps above all, you can glimpse a light tale of the
intensity, which is the strength and movement in the artist’s dialogue with the
ambit of techno-science.
An intensity that, according to Paul Virilio’s idea, becomes a
thickening of mystery and provocation to the limit. A sensual and, also,
systematic way when tackling the problem in the era of its economic
globalisation and social and cultural dispersion. The procedure of intensity,
being on intensity’s side as Virilio literally suggested, means taking the
already weak confines between art and science to extremes, as if each one offers
the other itself as a mirror and reciprocal symbol.
A creative method and systemic fantasying are not, therefore, oxymoron (proven
but not obvious): more than anything they melt into the allegory of a single and
multiple know- how.
The level of diffusion and co-penetration of technology in respect to everyday
life and to the imaginary is such that it, more or less, completely obscures the
scientific origin of the phenomenon. It’s like saying that forgetfulness about
cultural dimensions and the input of real innovations in new technology produce
a sort of distancing, a separation between science and technique. In the
diffused conscience of contemporariness there is no room for relationships
between advanced research, with all the political and economic implications, and
the final operative solutions, perceivable and in mass for discovery and
invention. A technique, concealing its own scientific roots, worsens the social
and anthropological human dimensions of technology.
Paolo Monti holds his own against this distracted reception, offering a way of
reconciliation between science, technique and society through the metaphorical
level and affableness of his work, narrating infinite incidences of energy, both
physical and material, of worth and symbolism (money!!!) within the ritualised
and pseudo-sacred scenes of art.
Monti is an ecologist, and a decontaminator, of perception. His programme takes
place, in a word, along a route from synthesis to entropy, involving the senses
and bodies of those who approach his work, to accompany them towards an
immaterial state where aesthetic emotions exult in the white workings of
synapses. Synaesthesia, total opera, interaction and interactivity: but with
neither Baroque stupefaction nor multimedia entertainment.
His magic, his theorems, operate a sort of purification of glances and wit –
once the subject of the experiment is ready, it goes without saying – they
permit him/her to sense and enjoy the fact that there is something else,
something more intense, in fact, and less hypocritically univocal.
I am not speaking about contamination and virus, of course. The imaginary
post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk don’t come into it. If anything, Paolo Monti
counter-acts the virus of linguistic contamination. I repeat: it is to unity
that he aims, to a renewed harmonic synthesis; I would dare say Renaissance – or
Bauhausian. Classicism probably.
Gilberto Pellizzola - Head professor of Contemporary Art History and in charge
of Social History of Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara.
"Fibrillations (for Paolo
Monti)" by Gilberto Pellizzola, published in the collection of
texts produced for Paolo Monti’s personal exhibition,
Vierdimensional², held in 2001 at Konstanz University (Germany), Auf Der Empore