The Lady with a Revolutionary Parrot is a new work of art by Lanfranco Aceti – part of the series The Fat Cat Was Here. The artwork premiers at Art Athina, International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens, and focuses on the processes of enslavement and exploitation of beauty to create contemporary corporate ‘democratic’ propaganda.
The artwork challenges contemporary notions of engagement and questions the role that artists have in enforcing the aesthetics of corporate exploitation and abuse, both in local and international contexts. The parrot becomes an allegorical construct of contemporary processes of enslavement. It would be too easy to intertwine the destiny of the parrot with that of the artist, as if the two were one and the same. Even if similarities exist, ‘choice’ is what distinguishes and separates the bondage of the parrot from that of the artist. The choice of entering in the circuit of contemporary corporate aesthetics, a self-enslaving act, is a choice that imposes restrictions and compliance with the perception and representation of art according to neutralized canons of both behavior and composition. If the artist has the opportunity to choose – or is afforded some semblance of choice that generally speaking exists in the realm of total acceptance and total rejection – the parrot is a naked victim of the arrogance of aesthetics.
Not only does the parrot embody the arrogance of contemporary aesthetics, but also the progression of aesthetics on the platforms of originality (in a context where visuals are corporately and stately controlled) and reproduction (an essence of corporate thievery and consumption). Thus, employed here, it serves as an analysis of and reflection on the futility of contemporary art and the artist’s work – allowing, through the continued reproductive neoliberal abuse of art works throughout the historical paradigm, a self-critique of art and the artist’s role in it. The alteration of the original Manet’s painting questions and engages the historical frameworks and representation of bourgeoisie, employing the multiple conceptions of the parrot throughout art, bringing all embodiments to the forefront of the work. Whether it be the dynamics of gender representation with the analog of the bird and femininity or the evolution of the parrot as a synonymous of the realities of the contemporary global crises and fiscal enslavement, the parrot as a work of art in The Lady with a Revolutionary Parrot becomes a single filtered personal perception of life and death in the XXIst century that is colored with the experiential past of a rejected notion of the social.
The revolutionary parrot – presented at Art Athina – is uncouth and still wild, therefore prone to vulgarly express his anger, at least through words if not deeds, for the life of oppression that it has been chained to.