“Words are useless when I try to speak about my painting. It is an irreducible presence that refuses to be converted into any other form of expression. It is both an imminent and active presence […]. If I were a master of a more exact and less threatening terminology, if I were a wonderfully bright and enlightened critic, even than I wouldn’t be able to verbally establish a direct connection with my painting: my words would be marginal notes on the truth inside the canvas.” (Alberto Burri)
What Burri expressed here represents an example of the loss of meaning that could occur when we try to translate two different types of languages, that are not substitutes for each other, but just complementary parts of the same meaning. As far as it could be skilfully transformed, non-verbal language would be weakened in its meaning, if expressed though words.
New forms of interaction have emerged thanks to the advent of technologies that use “social” media, characterized by a new type of communication, where the “physical” part of it is suddenly missing, subtracted by the contest, leaving us orphans of a fundamental component of expressivity.
We are always connected, always potentially receiving the others state of mind. Even if we don’t pay attention, the social world is listening to us, knows us, is recording our emotions, replacing day by day the people we love, our families and friends. The virtual word is invading the space that has always been prerogative of the reality.
In this new condition of hyper-connection, we permit to be always available for a mediate exchange which, although mutilated, puts us in constant relationship with the others. We share “parts” of ourselves with the world, and, at the same time, we receive, in a sort of automatic exchange, “parts” of the others. This mechanism works in ways we are not fully aware of. It is the technological medium that imposes its time and methods on us. We are immersed in a network of virtual connections which we don’t fully manage, nor we control but which, nevertheless produce real impacts on our lives.
This transposition of a verbal language into something that is not verbal, gives us a synthesis of an emotion amputated of its fundamental physical component: the body. Empathy, in its digital dimension, turns out to be incomplete and superficial. Urbanbrain highlights this loss of the physical dimension in language and communication. The human beings’ ability to express themselves is undoubtedly one of the characteristics that led man to evolution. Words articulate concepts, creating new scenarios, composing the reality they enunciate through sounds that carry the significance and become the foundation of relationships. Technology has replaced the normal interaction, made of proximity, with a different modality that transfers every consideration we did in an immediate and simultaneous way.
In the Urbanbrain an active, living brain is represented while is communicating its thoughts via “wireless waves”, a graphic sign that, only in few years, has become an icon, capable of creating an immediate link. Body, smells, emotions, gestures are fundamental aspects of communication that have been left behind, relegated to be spectators of a show in which they were the main actors.
Starting from Burri, who told his era by drawing on the materials that surrounded him as base of his canvas and going on with the recourse to the real, typical of the “neo Dadaists” and “new realists”, Urbansolid draws on everyday life objects, picked up from streets too. In this work, in fact, he collects the legacy of the work started by Mimmo Rotella with his “decollage”, depersonalizing it. Unlike the “new realists”, Urbansolid, while resorting to an iconography taken from the street or magazines, doesn’t want to highlight its contemporaneity to proclaim its adhesion to it, but takes objects from the reality on the basis of plastic properties, to make the basis for building the funds of his painting. The shred torn from advertising billboards become a mere fetish, coloured material on which to graft meanings. There is no reference to advertising subjects or messages communicated to the viewer, but the material is simply recycled.
Urbansolid uses recycled materials as the basis of the work of art: recycled pallets and cartons complete the support on which the resin sculpture is installed. This expedient simulates the typical support of Street Art, the wall, characterized by its previous “life”. The simulation of a metropolitan background support is, therefore, achieved by drawing on poor art, through a search for materials that truly have had an urban life outside the walls of the artist’s studio. In Urbanbrain the relationship between the work of art and its urban support, the wall, is reversed: in Street Art, in fact, it’s the artwork that contaminates the pre-existing urban environment; in the Urbanbrain, the wall, with its meanings, becomes part of the artwork.
Titles of Urbanbrain’s artworks evoke the external environment, as to remind to hyper-connected brains their natural, social, external matrix. As in a short-circuit, the name of the artwork insinuates itself into this process of virtual connection, bringing the mind back to its natural context. A flash, a split second in which the name of artwork is revealed as an apparition, it’s inserted, evoking the outside: grass, sky, purple rain, beach, fire, to awaken us almost from our connections, to bring us almost back to real world.