The artworks appear to respond to the pandemic but—while apparently addressing the pandemic itself—they question the role of motherhood, socio-political failures, intra-national and interracial relations, and other fundamental cultural inheritances that have been post-modernized but never really absorbed or understood. Italians were in the 1960s emerging from a global landscape that saw them outside the racial configuration of Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world. The Italians never belonged to it, not fully, nor were accepted, not really.
Masks are no longer available to stave off the pandemic and migrants and Italians alike now share in the common destiny of abandonment by culpable and inept political elites at local, national, and European levels. Therefore, they are forced to invent, test, and share strategies of survival. Masks can be made into signs of defiance, signs of blindness and obtusity, signs of betrayal and abandonment, signs of shortsightedness and idiocy, but also into signs of revenge and dues to be paid.
Whatever the results of this deadly virus (or strong influenza according to alternative theses and perceptions of reality), another understanding of citizenship will be born from it. This is an understanding that will not be rooted in old and frayed categories of nationalism, capitalism, and state. It will not be conditioned by political and social categories that have failed to deliver the very basic of human ethical values, obliging the mind to envision ways to overcome dramatic scenarios of survival. Citizens had to stave off notions of the elderly’s death that has been presented as an acceptable cost in capitalistic ethical terms. The scar of this pandemic, real or fictional that it may be, will leave a renewed self-understanding of a people, of who the Italians are as human beings, but also of who we are and who we deal with in this world of economic metrics and youth as absolute value. This understanding of one’s role as family member, as citizen, and as people in relationship to the surrounding geo-political space will generate, in the view of the artist, a new brutal form of populism, one that will exact vengeance by shedding the hypocrisy of notions of democracy that promise but never deliver, and will unveil the reality of existence in the twenty-first century globally as well as in Europe, Italy, and in a small mediocre town called Cassino.