Project Description

STAND YOUR GROUND, THE STORM IS COMING.

In the late 1990s I decided to work with the metaphor of the storm, not just as a representation of weather or wether bad things would come, but as an exegesis of personal intuitions and feelings. The works of art, which can be best defined as mix media, were exhibited in the Earl Lu Gallery in Singapore and other international venues. Some of the works of art are now in private collections. From time to time I keep revisiting this series, creating new versions and developing new ideas on the metaphor of weather and contemporary socio-political systems. The Storm, inspired by Turner’s landscapes and rendered through transmediated digital formats, is the representation of incumbent events.

The Storm is a series of landscapes developed over time in various forms: paintings, ink stained linen cuts, photographs, videos, and installations. The works of art respond to a personal analysis of what times might bring and engage with and represent the specific sensations of expectation, suspense, suspension, and dread, but also awe, excitement, and enchantment.  

When I started these works of art I was strongly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and the British avant-garde: perhaps an unusual combination but one that has always attracted me for the dichotomy between the perfection of the form and its destruction and remodeling.

This was also the time in which Silvio (Bunga Bunga) Berlusconi was elected in Italy by a large portion of the electorate which opposed a left-wing government. I did not want the works of art to be an immediate and mediated commentary on what was happening at a social level in Italy and Europe, but rather a more thoughtful analysis of the rise and fall of contemporary politicians framed in a much larger historical context. I wanted to stress the universality of the concept of a storm, while emphasizing the universality of socio-political upheavals.

It was a rather unpleasant time, both as an artist and an Italian, to be branded by a stereotypical and superficial quick judgement of a country based on its politicians. Since then, Berlusconi’s phenomenon seems to have anticipated post-postmodern political trends that have swept across Europe, the UK, and the United States of America. While democracy is flailing in the Western Anglo-Saxon world, there still seems to be the feeling that the US and the UK could not be affected by a storm, that the US and the UK are unshakable democracies unlike the old USSR. Every empire has had their day of reckoning, every nation has suffered at its own hands or the hands of others, and everyone has dreaded or enjoyed the arrival of a storm. In this context, what role does one play in the storm—that of detached spectator or principal actor?

The works of art point to the mesmerizing and horrific beauty of a storm. They offer to the viewer the opportunity to interpret them as an open work (grazie Umberto Eco) and to fill them up with as much complexity and feelings as they possibly can, relating them or totally severing them from any political upheavals in any part of the world.

My aesthetic approach was, and still is, to take a small personal event and create universal images which might—in spite of their pixelated, reworked, and remediated processes that may not conform to everybody’s aesthetic taste—entice and intrigue the viewer. The captions are conceived as general guidelines and signposts that invite the viewers on an excursion of their own making through personal memories and feelings of the significance and meaning of an approaching storm.

The video is based on the notion of time recording. Traditionally, in the fine arts, landscape works of art capture a transitional moment or represent the transformation of the landscape through the recording of seasonal changes. The Storm is an art piece that plays with and challenges the interpretation of the viewers of what is to befall them and what will be following after The Storm. The works of art in the form of photographic prints on paper and video are at the same time a documentation of an event as well as a metaphorical representation of human life. The Storm relates to personal and social issues, economic turmoils and political upheavals, to environmental crises and simple seasonal changes. By presenting the viewers with a landscape devoid of people, where the only presence is the correspondence between the eye of the camera and the eye of the viewer merged in the exploratory panning of the camera, a poetical landscape with the evocative painting quality of Turner is displayed as action in progress and as contemplative stills. The Storm is a journey, through video and multimedia artworks, that is reminiscent of landscape painting tradition and also incumbent dread of the mysterious unfolding of contemporary life.

Image captions:

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2010. Installation at the Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2010. Installation at the Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2010. Installation at the Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2002. Print. Dimensions: 56 cm x 85 cm.

Lanfranco Aceti, Hopes Are Fading Away, 2002. Print. Dimensions: 56 cm x 85 cm.

Lanfranco Aceti, You Kill Me, 2002. Print. Dimensions: 56 cm x 85 cm.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Storm, 2002. Video installation at the Earl Lu Gallery, 2010.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2010. Installation at the Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.

Lanfranco Aceti, I Can Barely See Democracy, 2002. Print. Dimensions: 56 cm x 85 cm.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2015. Museum installation.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2015. Museum installation.

Lanfranco Aceti, Two Alone in the Storm, 2002. Print. Dimensions: 56 cm x 85 cm.

Lanfranco Aceti, Looking Back, 2002. Print. Dimensions: 56 cm x 85 cm.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2015. Museum installation.

Lanfranco Aceti, The Political Storm, 2019. Gallery installation.