Cracking Art Group - Oil Soul
Thursday 13 June 2013 - Friday 06 September 2013
What use is art? What else can it add to this kind of constant apathy and more or less euphoric resignation which is presented to us as the progress of civilization? Is it still in a position to struggle against the crudest and most cynically powerful forms and the compliance of the world towards the ruthless laws of the market? These are pivotal, important questions. Questions to which the answers affect not only our future but also our capacity to endure and reinvent ourselves. And yet, the most disconcerting signs of a worsening of the situation are all out there. To be convinced, take a look at the atmosphere of disenchantment and deep melancholy that permeates the current world and which the cinema and media have maliciously helped themselves to for some time .Reality seems to escape or more precisely, dissolve. It loses all consistency confronted with the power of these symbolic forms (and beings) which present themselves to the world in the shape of superficial likenesses to be avidly devoured. Art therefore, is dead, reduced to being a commodity equal to all others, with it’s own economy, networks and markets, different in appearance from a vacuum cleaner or an automobile but structurally identical. Notwithstanding the growing flood of incredulity towards an ever more artificial daily life there are those who still dare to think that art is that incomprehensible act which is able to oppose all rationality: this is the line of thought adopted by the Cracking Art movement. Founded in Biella in 1993, with this view of the world as a starting point, the group has formulated some very interesting ideas. All of the members of the group refuse to accept that culture and art can today have the same cognitive bonds of an opinion poll and know how to epitomize the image of a people responsible for their own recognition. The richer and more abundant this image reveals itself to be, diversified to provoke bewilderment and satiating to the point of nausea, the harder it becomes for politics to find a good reason to act in society. Faced with all of this, Cracking Art counters with a personal form of resistance. At the root of the movement lies the categorical refusal of the notion of “author”, a cardinal principle, although widely outdated, of the consumer society. It is as a group therefore, used as a symbolic mask, that these artists advance and make inroads in the world. Their names (it should be noted) are: Alex Angi, Kicco, Marco Veronese, William Sweetlove, Renzo Nucara and Carlo Rizzetti. The concept itself of a group is an integral part of the movement and was conceived as a productive union of disparate skills, simultaneously at work creating a direct action or an exhibition. The works therefore are born from dialogue, comparisons, the common flowering of multiple ideas and their successive adjustment to unexpected influences of external dynamics. How to define Cracking Art? Like every artistic movement fully aware of their past triumphs and errors, the group has been in a position to successfully recuperate some concepts and radically reinvent them. It is possible therefore to detect in their works an undeniable kinship with Pop Art because of the same ability to disconcert the iconographic system of the media world and our society. But instead of making an easy target of the products of an era dedicated to consumerism (from the image of stars to the entire range of goods available on the market) Cracking Art play with an army of coloured animals, an ensemble of simple but highly symbolic figures. At the same time they have fully understood how a real artist cannot base himself on the philosophy of “ready-made” or revert to the strategy of objects in common use, dislocated from their natural environment and raised to the status of works of art by virtue of merely reconstructing them in a place which is “other”. Their plastic creations (penguins, crocodiles) are multiples, infinite, in the same way as general produce in the world. Refusing the old romantically derived bourgeois concept of uniqueness they join our symbolic universe like a cynical parody of reality. They are multiple and therefore numerous and like a virus they can reach every corner of the earth, giving way to the creation of raw physical and imaginary spaces. Differing from the inclinations of many contemporaries, the Group do not refute the concept of God, rather they confer on Him a new value reintroducing the anathema dear to the Age of Enlightenment with a different, spectacular tone: with Cracking Art the artist ceases to be God to the extent in which he is able to recompose the mystery. The metaphysical space, inside of which everything can suddenly take shape, is the mystery itself. With a nod towards this turnabout in interpretation, Crackers propose plastic as a new raw material: derived from petroleum, an organic fossil residue, it can be moulded by the artist to give birth to new shapes. In this way, plastic becomes the symbol of the energy of the present, spreading the transition from primeval Earth ( of time immemorial, the predecessors of Man, the Gods and the Earth’s organic memory) to the present world, represented by a moment immortalized and studded with uncertainties for a future dominated by technological power. The conflict between Nature and Culture is settled, the two poles are reunited and become eternally inseparable. At this point we could make an inventory of the creations of the Group and see how many of their works could not have found other “means of reception” other than in public, devised as an arena inside of which we all move and where all conflicts, between politics and society, order and disorder, between the disparate habits of the individual and standardized rationality of business, between the real world and the individual need for escape, take shape. Red penguins, green crocodiles, yellow dogs… these figures of symbolic beasts become at that moment custodians of a conscience to be reawakened. They remind us that with the progressive fading away of reality which surrounds us, the only influence that can have an effective hold on humanity is that which returns again to consider Art as a symbol of unconditional and absolute freedom, because it is unnecessary to be in the public domain, with it’s laws, values and government.