Marc Bauer “Mi piace Commenta Condividi, A Rhetorical Figure” at Istituto Svizzero, Milan
Istituto Svizzero is pleased to present “Mi piace Commenta Condividi, A Rhetorical Figure”, first solo exhibition in Milan by artist Marc Bauer.‘Likes’ and ‘shares’ are social media’s capital, today’s capital.
One simple click is enough to express one’s own approval and, with a few words, one can spread his own opinion or discord. Our smartphone’s glossy surfaces act as transmitters by keeping us connected with our followers.
For his exhibition “Mi piace Commenta Condividi, A Rhetorical Figure”, Marc Bauer traces the mechanisms and rhetorical devices employed by digital communication, at a time when the world’s politics is sometimes handled on Twitter through ‘aggressive’ capital letters and where cat videos and hate speech content are spread through the same digital waves.
The works—created specifically for the exhibition in Milan (drawings, a sound installation, and a large site-specific mural)—take their cue from Marc Bauer’s study of Matteo Salvini’s Twitter communication, Italian Interior Minister until September 2019. The artist’s drawings, often in black and white and sometimes in colour, also include images of cats, in particular the Gattini con Salvini, which, according to the Lega’s party leader, are supposed to eat the Sardine, a movement born recently and against the right-wing populism. So, cats and fish. But also, dogs and wolves: the dog from the popular Italian comic book Dylan Dog or the wolf from the online magazine Il Populista. And above these, in a large mural, lie the disquieting winged creatures of an etching by Francisco de Goya.With “Mi piace Commenta Condividi, A Rhetorical Figure”, the artist not only analyses the symbolic content of various animal figures but also examines, in a broader sense, the power of images and words themselves, with their political and manipulative potential: the iconography of the so-called infamous paintings with reversed portraits or people hanging upside down, images of pizzas or Madonnas as alleged insignia of Italian culture, blurred photos of boats crowded with refugees, complemented by clear words in which even statements about Christian nativity scene’s figures become populist slogans. By researching and accumulating these images and by means of their graphic realisation, Marc Bauer illustrates how digital communication and the market of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ work: in Italy and elsewhere, in dark times—in the same way Goya’s etching can be interpreted—but not only. In the background, instead, Bella Ciao’s refrain can be heard, today hummed in the Sardines’ chants in the Italian squares.
At Istituto Svizzero, Milan
until 21 March 2020