“EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS ABOUT SEX EXCEPT SEX. SEX IS ABOUT POWER.” 
The relationship between sex-power-art has always shown the complexity of our socio-political lives. It is pervasive, hierarchical, and, in many ways, a form of enslavement. It is visible in political campaigns and gestures of rebellion, anger, and violence. It comes naturally to me to engage with this topic as an artist since I have always been interested in the structures underpinning the notion of the social and have attempted to re-imagine and subvert them.
The works of art — realized as a series of performances, video installations, sculptures, and photographic stills — are elements of an art project that Lanfranco Aceti has been developing since 2017. The exhibition Gloves questions how we engage with others. We no longer establish intimate and personal relationships but ever more aseptic and distanced connections which have to ‘fake’ the reality of empathy while denying it by putting in place safety measures that ensure the lack of every possible intimate contact. Anglo-Saxon patriarchal modes of existence increasingly shape our social interactions and intercourses. These models of existence, when imported into the Mediterranean, African, Middle Eastern, and Latin countries, generate and replicate divisive and individualistic notions of social reality.
The exhibition Gloves is a series of six short performances realized in 2018. The artist conceived the performances as intimate moments to be shared personally with the viewers. The performances, for this reason, required a small and captive audience. The artist paid some of the members of the audience to attend, while others were paid by the other attendees, realizing a circular economy in which everyone was giving something to someone else. The gesture of giving as a political form of sharing is conceived as a sublimation of antagonistic behaviors against increased forms of control and surveillance in the Western world.
The performances were inspired by the artist’s analysis of the relationship between sex-power-art. Money, also a part of the equation, was subsumed under the general concept of power and its exercise.
The performances, which at times make for fastidious if not uncomfortable viewing — depending on one’s personal experiences and ways of processing power relations and trauma — are a moment of reflection on contemporary violence that is masked, particularly in the Western world, under a thin hypocritical veil of civilization or worse presented and sold as an act of care and love.
The artist’s aesthetic thinking through these intimate and personal performances, through the videos, and the photographic works of art, explores the social impossibility of people being nothing else than an accumulation of traumatic experiences that by negating freedoms straps a straightjacket on the individual, transforming ‘it’ into the model citizen.
“It consists of taking the forms of resistance against different forms of power as a starting point. To use another metaphor, it consists of using this resistance as a chemical catalyst so as to bring to light power relations, locate their position, and find out their point of application and the methods used. Rather than analyzing power from the point of view of its internal rationality, it consists of analyzing power relations through the antagonism of strategies.” 
The body politics of power extends, through controls and sanctions, even to every form of personal exchange, sexual or otherwise. The socially accepted frameworks require a distancing from and between people, who are no longer responsible for the social structures as a collective empowering noun but who solely must conform to the idea of society as expressed by the state. The professionalization and bureaucratization of the assistance to migration, the needs of the poor, social integration, and basic human interactions are strictly imposed to enforce the state’s order and obtain the acquiescence necessary for the exploitation of the poor. This approach, particularly in Italy, has allowed the opportunity of ‘caring’ as a form of exploitation to the benefit of institutional powers and their private executors and profiteers.
To screw and to be screwed are the notions that underpin the relationship of power, increasingly exercised via the ‘distancing’ of the digital which renders the most vulnerable helpless and hapless in confronting and rebelling against a system of efficiently set inefficiency to allow the exercise of power and control by the state and private companies. The works of art engage with the notion of ‘who-is-screwing-whom’ while revealing the impossibility of legally conceiving an alternative pattern to the current modus vivendi.
The analysis of contemporary society is, in Aceti’s aesthetic practice, embedded in the long history of video art and alternative practices that challenge the status quo. The performances, the videos, and the prints are also enmeshed in personal relations, histories, and representations transposed directly from the personal life of the artist. The artworks confront stereotypes of what things are supposed to be like and how they should happen. The sum of our personal actions and reactions, and lack thereof, amount to a continued violent discourse which, besides being cyclical, also appears to be inevitable.
The performances and the videos, linked in a loop, stratify some of the concerns that the artist has about processes and structures. The cyclicality of events in the video questions sameness and difference, both of which — in real life and in the works of art — conflate to generate an aesthetic that challenges pre-established notions of social living.
 The quote is generally attributed to Oscar Wilde. Nevertheless there is uncertainty about the source.
 Michel Foucault, “The Subject and Power,” Critical Inquiry 8, no. 4 (Summer, 1982): 780.
Image1: Lanfranco Aceti, Gloves, 2018. Three channel video Installation. Looped.
Image 2: Lanfranco Aceti, Grammaire General, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 3: Lanfranco Aceti, Good Boys, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 4: Lanfranco Aceti, Subject of Sexuality, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 5: Lanfranco Aceti, Was Heisst Aufklärung?, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 6: Lanfranco Aceti, Conceptual Needs, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 7: Lanfranco Aceti, Pathological Forms, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 8: Lanfranco Aceti, Diseases of Power, 2018. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 9: Lanfranco Aceti, Gloves, 2018. Photographic prints from video stills. Gallery installation.
Image 10: Lanfranco Aceti, Gloves, 2018. Photographic prints from video stills. Gallery installation.
Image 11: Lanfranco Aceti, I Know You Don’t Think You Are a Fascist, 2022. Video Installation. MoMA, New York.
Image 12: Lanfranco Aceti, Canonical Institutionalization, 2022. Photographic print from video still of the performance. Dimensions: 67 cm. x 100 cm.
Image 13: Lanfranco Aceti, Political Hypocrisies and Seven Stories of Poverty, 2022. Photographic prints and audio recordings of stories of poverty.
Video 1: Lanfranco Aceti, Gloves, 2018. Video of the performances with colored condoms.