A dialogue with Zino, in between history and contemporaneity with adhesive tapes.

Luigi Franchi, aka Zino, is the protagonist of the exhibition People and Things that opens the HUB/ART’s 2020 year. The artist was born in Teramo and currently based in Rimini. Zino made his first solo show in 2015 at the historic gallery Cesare Manzo in Pescara, a space devoted to explosive ideas and contemporary artistic language.

The works selected for the exhibition People and Things are divided into two sections. In the first one we find icons of the past such as the Delphic Sibyl, the Venus Callipigia or the Riace Bronzes, works of art read through the filter of the television screen. Can you explain why did you choose to deform the “original one” through the screen?

Today we live in the Society of Entertainment. Everything turns into an image in an unstoppable process of cultural impoverishment of the contents to the advantage of a hypertrophic enrichment of the containers.

Filter and facilities to feed this system of “creatio vacui” (empty creation) is the media (usually a screen), an appendix of the homo sapiens of XXI century and a tool capable of distorting in a hedonistic sense the subjects framed, giving the mass-conscious the shadows of a cultural past become incomprehensible in its depth but certainly sparkling and pervasive in showing its smooth surface. It’s easy to enter a museum and see people approaching the experience of Renaissance paintings or classical statues through the screens of their devices, as if art, to be internalized, had first to be dematerialized, simplified, refined and finally, after being reduced to a comfortable media icon, enjoyed. Here, the series of screens was created to tell this new way of viewing in which effigies of the famous masterpieces of the past are deformed through a hypothetical video that blurs the correct artistic reading, giving us only the simplest optical result and adapted to the modern television alphabet.

In the second section we meet some characters of the past, placed side by side with objects out of context, with the aim of surprising or making people smile, in order to create an intimate communication between the spectator and the proposed image. On the basis of these images, do you consider your work as a criticism of contemporary society or a bitter awareness of what surrounds us?

Neither of them actually. At the heart of this work is the concept of “play”, which is an essential element of my artistic research. As contemporary man, play is a primary and fundamental need to me. It is a vital function contained within the two limits of the classical tradition: the Ludus on the one hand and the Otium on the other. Combining common objects with politics or entertainment icons with evocative titles is nothing more than an operation to create a sort of rebus. I ask the user to solve the enigma within all the possible connections. Occasionally it is possible to find the correct key of interpretation, some other time instead one can only let getting lost to the simple Dadaist pleasure of nonsense.

People and Things is the title of the exhibition. In your artistic research, you used to spectacularize the objects, the real protagonists of the contemporary society of “consumption”. In this case, too, does the combination of man and object indicate this current tendency to put objects in the foreground, understood as goods that represent and qualify us?

Today we can consider the objects as the human extensions that define and circumscribe us.

In an age of compulsive accumulation, it is the objects that qualify us to speak about ourselves and for us. Every need we have is told by an object we own. A branded dress to be accepted, an enamel for our self-esteem, the latest smartphone to be at the top. We live in the show society and, paraphrasing Guy Debord’s writing, I would say that this “show in which we live is not a set of images, but a social relationship between individuals, mediated by objects”. Nothing bad, it is our lifestyle which needs to be analyzed, understood and finally, if you want, chosen.

People and Things is the second exhibition—after Bad Dream, inaugurated last summer at the Zamagni gallery in Rimini—characterized by the technique of Tape Art, a riot of colors and fantasy made out of colored tape strips. Can you explain to us your arrival to this new technique and the passage from the use of LEGO bricks?

In my personal artistic research, I have always worked on the concept of stratification and assembly, a concept that leans itself on the social and cultural context in which I live, made up of various overlapping levels.

In order to make sure that the medium also reflects the world I want to represent, I started from a deconstruction of the image using cut and recomposed forex panels, then resins up to the use of Lego bricks to “pixelized” part of reality.

To date, my research has led me to experiment with the expressive potential of tape art, a technique well connected with my path.

In fact, the idea of the image that is created in layers, by overlapping levels that symbolize the complexity of our time remains unchanged.

Luigi, tell us about your “artistic” background and what do you consider to be the turning point of your career?

Since 1991, during my study at DAMS, I was attracted around the art planet. In 1998, however, I began to take a real interest in contemporary art. At the time, I was in Rome and I attended the former Cerere pasta factory in San Lorenzo, collaborating with some artists.

After, I worked in Abruzzo with Cesare Manzo Gallery where I was an assistant for installations and events. Then, from 2003 I took a completely different path that led me to work as a restorer of works of ancient art for fifteen years.

In 2013, almost by chance, I moved my workshop in the headquarters of the contemporary art magazine Segno and I returned to devote myself to the realization of artistic projects, deciding to try to exhibit something mine. From that time, I began 6 frenetic years full of meetings, exhibitions, travel, friendships and satisfactions.

Before concluding, can you tell us what does Zino mean?

It’s an old nickname from the time of the university in Bologna, which crippled Luigi’s gi in zeta.  It seemed to me to be the best Tag to use because it was easy to remember and then, starting with Z, it usually ends up at the bottom of the lists of participants in group shows, thus becoming more easily identifiable.

 

November 2019

Zino

Artist


Greta Zuccali

Curator


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