University of Konstanz, Germany Paolo Monti, Dollar Image, 1989   PAOLO MONTI VIERDIMENSIONAL²
Selected writings on the Art of Paolo Monti

Take a sniff, it smells good!
Massimo Canevacci, Professor of Anthropology "La Sapienza" Rome

Paolo Monti, ODORALO E' BUONO!Paolo Monti, ODORALO E' BUONO!

I interpret the aspired possibility – as a spectator who looks (or sniffs) like an actor performing in the event Take a sniff, it smells good! – to burn one dollar bills as if releasing the most pent-up desires: initially as a gambler. It is a well-known fact that the real devastating and uncontrollable pleasure for every true gambler is reaching a climax when betting, only to lose everything; that is when absolute pleasure sets in.

Paolo Monti places this active performer in front of an extreme possibility. In point of fact eXtreme... To transform immortal money, always convertible into other world currencies and true alternative for alchemic gold, which today has been discarded owing to it being substituted for something much more valuable (...$...); it’s only that the pneumatic fire, which ritually contributed to the transformation of the most obscene elements to be found in gold, has now turned into something else.

And this is the second hankering desire. For a long time the most avant-garde architects have been writing and designing architecture that burns: architecture must burn, like a recent trend in anthropology – an anthropology in flames. This event, however, burns his majesty The Dollar. Just one. My end result, made-up of logic permeated by a semiotic coupling, is the following.

Third desire: if, in the era of alchemy the shit beneath the pneumatic fire transforms into gold, then it is its mundane substitute – to be precise, the Dollar – that changes back into shit...Paolo Monti knows all about such things so, that explains the enigma of this title: Take a sniff, it smells good! confirms that the sense most removed from western culture – our sense of smell – becomes reactivated precisely for this: to rediscover the pleasure of smell and, the most pleasant smell beginning in infancy, then removed by cultural imperative, is precisely that smell of dung. To rediscover, reactivate, the power of smell which, once again – at least artistically – will be possible to re-experiment the goodliness of the lowest and once removed smell. Just one ... Shit ... fourth desire ...

Maxx Canevacci

Massimo Canevacci is a Lecturer of Cultural Anthropology at the Faculty of Sociology of Rome University “La Sapienza”.   Among his recent works: Anthropology of Visual Communication (1997), The Polyphonic City. Essay on the Anthropology of Urban Communication (1996), Cultures eXtreme. Juvenile mutations between the bodies of the metropolis (1999).

"Take a sniff, it smells good!" by Massimo Canevacci, published in the collection of texts produced for Paolo Monti’s personal exhibition, Vierdimensional², held in 2001 at Konstanz University (Germany), Auf Der Empore Gallery.




Selection of critical texts on the Art of Paolo Monti