Writing on the wall
In this age of appropriation and liberal sharing of ideas, Gucci are addressing the conversation head on by re-appropriating the advertising campaign used for legendary performance artist Marina Abramović’s 2010 piece for MoMA, The Artist Is Present. Here, the iconic artwork provides the inspiration for the house’s latest public art offering and a new exhibition curated by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan set to take place in Shanghai on 11th October.
With their latest art wall, Gucci are evoking the same hypnotic stare that attracted thousands of visitors to Abramović’s show, in which the artist sat silently at a table and invited visitors to sit opposite her for some one-on-one eyeballing. The effect was profound, leading many visitors to the point of tears and consequently sparking a debate that extended beyond the art sphere about the innate need for human contact in a world perceived to be increasingly devoid of it. That was in 2010 though, and despite the fact that Abramović will not actually feature in the exhibition that’s opening in Shanghai later this year, the image kicks off a discussion on appropriation that will no doubt come to a head at the show’s opening.
Cattelan’s exhibition celebrates the wealth of appropriation that Alessandro Michele has drawn upon since taking over at the brand’s helm. From classical mythology to Italian cinema and video games, this latest chapter in the history of Gucci is no better demonstrated than through the GUCCY phenomenon – an embrace of our cynical, meme-orientated culture, but also an open acceptance of appropriation and the fluid movement of ideas across the internet.
The new ArtWalls are located on Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood, in Milan’s Largo la Foppa (in the district of Corso Garibaldi), and just off East London’s Brick Lane. The Hong Kong installation is on D’Aguilar Street, in Lan Kwai Fong.
The Artist is Present will run from 11th October to 16th December 2018 at the Yuz Museum Shanghai.