Saturday, 16 June 2012


The french theorist Roland Barthes was the first critic who talked about a piece of art as a unique potential for presenting a completely real representation of the world. According to Barthes, a picture presents a falsness in the illusion of ''what is'', which swifts to ''what was''. Inside of a piece there is an image, that image is a signifier, inside of it we finds signs which always bring up connotations and associations to the real world, the one we're living in. There is a higher representation of an ''unknown'' which transforms in ''the known''. Now, ''the known'' we talk about, could be better meant as the world as it is seen through our eyes. What we consider reality is. Art places its roots basically in an unconscious level of our minds. We, most of the times, take a trip inside of our minds, passing through our experiences, to understand it the best. We give it a try, and there we are, in the world of art- we can finally reach it. We talked about Barthes to understand the concept of a piece of art. A piece of art is unique, and if repeated it loses its aura- Barthes says.Now this could be relatively true. If we consider the teories of another giant figure of the theories of the history of art- Germano Celant (curator at the Guggenheim New York) we may find his statement and vision of the piece of art in a contradiction with the former of Barthes. It is with the coming out of the Pop Art, the Minimal Art and the Poor Art that art finally cames out from its utopic dimension! It becomes ''democratic''.
 With Warhol's serigaphic pictures, indeed, art gained its division and separation from the uniqueness concept and began repeating itself endlessly. Warhol realises he's living in a society which retains art is useless, futile and insignificant. Instead of rebealing with this general opinion, instead of trying to change people's mind about this, the artist acts very softly and treats the issue, by agreeing and sharing the statement. With his ''futile gesture'' of repeating the same image, picture or frame, Warhol increases the signifier of the same. He doesn't disables the thoughts in the spectator's mind, but he switches off his potential to judge in front of a piece. The art begins to mirror exactly what our society is. The barrier between reality and illusion ceases to exist. Art loses its utopic dimension once and for all. A piece of art begins repeating itself. It is not    a unique piece any more. If everything from now on goes this way, does it really a piece of art loses its aura as Barthes states? Of course not! Even though the image is repeated, the piece has its aura untouched. You can duplicate the shape, but what is unique and unrepeatable here is its idea. This is the main concept of what contemporary art deals with. From warm spectators, we transform in cold but reflective spectators and in a thoughtful audience. The artist requests our partecipation to realize and complete his piece. Our presence becomes fundamental. Sol Le Witt, another great figure of the contemporary art, theorizes the best this final concept. In his Wall drawings it was the spectator, the observer to complete his drawings and his idea of what it has to become the final piece. In a few steps art begins to take more and more place in our everyday's acts. Our thoughts and gestures and acts become an art. 
All these steps are followed truely by Stanley Donwood. He's repetetive, though he doesn't stop being innovative. In the very beginning of what we know about his art, we can find some simple billboard images. Commercials. Example families. Elements from our everyday's routine: signs, indications, advices, etc., things we're perfectly used to see, trapped and surrounded always by those pictures in our life.
Art  as a product. Going on with time, his series, increase in number and repetiotion becomes a  warning. 
Then begin images of fear. Of a doomed world. Of the end of our days.

People escape from their houses which are destroyed or repeated endlessly.
A warning of what we see happen in London Views is the development of what we see here, in Xendless Xurbias.

Our world is swallowed by extreme disasters caused by us and by what our society's done or not, while Stanley was drawing his warnings to help us see better.
The last of the days has come also in Lost Angeles.
And even though inbetween the series we could still find pure colours and harmony- life and cosmos in a perfect connection, resembling what and who we are, we can't still escape from what we've done.
At last, Stanley Donwood gives us a potential option of a redemption by completely returning to our primitive  basics and roots which only Nature could give us as well.
 All this work in progress, represented by warnings and/or advices are absolutely not an utopic dimension for us all. We all know perfectly how are we living and what could expect us in case we bring on like this.  What we have here is a reminder. A reminder's function is to warn an advice as well. In this case we are far further from what could be considered a futile or an insignificant  art.  There are series of works repeating themselves, and they are gaining the lightest of the aura, because of the uniqueness of the ideas. Art here mirrors our dimension split in: past+present+future.
No Utopias. Ideas. Art.