Lanfranco Aceti’s new work, Baked: The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off (2017), is based on a neon installation from the exhibition, nEUROsis, curated by Yiannis Colakides for NeME. The artist defined these new works of art as a “series of perspectival studies envisioned through tinted glasses on moving life.” The artworks consist of prints and screen paintings, but also incorporate a series of combinatory gifs that focus on a single text and image. The text and the image, itself, are static and obsessively repeated, while embodying—through changing colors—movement, alteration, and evolution.
The neon installation is part of a series of works titled, Sowing and Reaping, which analyze issues of contemporary ideological oppression, labor exploitation, commodification, abuse, and absurdity. The neon artwork spurred the creation of an image which led to the development of an aesthetic analysis of the effects of both color and movement.
The images created via this process exist as colored lenses of personal perspectives and experiences; and are rooted in a socio-political history that has become, over the past decade, a recognizable reflection, increasingly personalized and historicized, of a present struggle.
Motivated by alterations and seriality in the long history of art, the artist sought to merge the complexity of representation of time, movement, and feeling. Resumed in Pablo Picasso’s statement, “colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” Aceti explored the relationship between color and emotion, which constituted the basis for an experimentation on color and movement, not perceived in traditional terms, but as the movement and alteration of emotions via the change of color in a static framework/image.
The artist’s intention is not to reclaim an operational environment, interpreted in traditional terms, rather to focus on recognizing the indelible alterations and re-interpretations of statements, words, and phrases that are embedded in the strifes of contemporary social histories. The seemingly empowering phrase, “we bake our own destiny,” is a clear reference to the self-made mythology of the American dream, which clashes—manifestly and symbolically—with the deterministic reality expressed in the title of the artworks. The title, Baked, references the hope and the tiredness (“Baked is where you are too tired to fucking get off of your couch”—from the Urban Dictionary) inherent to a condition of sustained ideological abuse, consumption of propaganda, and self-immolation as exploitable victims.
The series is, in itself, a form of revelation, uncovered in the work’s subtitle. The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off leaves no space for misinterpretation. This series of new works continues a line of thinking, research, and aesthetic exploration that the artist began thirty years ago, focusing on the existential dramas and exploitative natures of institutions and their accomplices. The Annunciation, Sowing and Reaping, and Baked: The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off create a trifold series of exhibitions which explore the consequences of socio-political decisions. The artist pursues this exploration as an attempt to find escape and refuge from the tensions and pitfalls of a landscape that appears unequivocally immune to such consequences.