Magazine article Artforum International

Stefano Arienti

Magazine article Artforum International

Stefano Arienti

Article excerpt

IN ARCO

STUDIO GUENZANI

Stefano Arienti's recent work is based on a very simple but unpredictable procedure: he takes standard posters depicting landscapes or famous people and erases parts of the images. Sometimes the features of the subjects or certain landscape elements are distorted to extraordinary expressive effect. In the largest series to date, Arienti subjects an innocent Marilyn Monroe, photographed smiling in black and white, to a series of assaults that make the star disquietingly monstrous. The abrasive action of the eraser delineates wrinkles, swells the face, closes the eyes, erases cheekbones, or teeth, elongates the nose, or deforms ears as if these were victims of a ferocious, negative makeup job. Other personalities meet ends that are no better: Billie Holiday loses her nose, and Albert Einstein, in the famous photo where he is sticking out his tongue, looks like a cross between a dirty old man and an ape. On another level this taste for ferocious derision gives way to lyricism, as in the large diptychs with images of gardens and flowers, where the cancellation has compositional value in that it creates areas of white, modifies spatial relationships, or muffles chromatic values. …

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