curated by Giacinto di Pietrantonio
Prometeogallery is pleased to present a new solo exhibition of works by Giuseppe Stampone in the bewitching setting of the Ex Chiesa San Matteo in Lucca. The exhibition focuses on the Global Education project, the original concept of which dates from 2001, a watershed year when the artist became aware of the fact that, at least at the level of public opinion, until then the centre had been the West, from that moment on the world became dramatically and instantly global. Since then, every action causes a counter-reaction at what is indeed a global level.
In particular, the distinctive feature of this exhibition is an underlying thread which reveals the shift from the spoken to the written word through to an interactive experience. From Gutenberg’s invention onwards, the concept of education was based on the fact that every word corresponded to a letter and that in turn, it referred to an image, and the shift from the spoken to the written word took place by means of an alphabet primer. Stampone’s reflections start out from the consideration that this form of education intrinsically requires a coercive type of policy, and thus an education that is imposed from above, West-centric and divorced from the world of experience. Global Education, on the contrary, is based on the experience of each human being. Significantly, the artist draws on immediately recognisable popular images, to which he contributes new meaning. Reassuring symbols and omnipresent icons of the most popular imagination, which satisfy the expectations of the standard consumer, are revisited from a critical and ironic point of view, thus destabilising the viewer’s perspective. From the manual skills of the Renaissance to a neo-dimensional, interactive mentality, Stampone’s aim is to highlight this shift in the mentality of man and in the shift of power from being at the centre of the community to the centre of a connectivity that is digital but also experiential and emotional.
Specifically, the exhibition includes 24 oil paintings which portray the most infamous dictators in the history of mankind and 24 red and blue ballpoint-pen drawings that draw on the symbols and forms of communication that in various ways concern them. These drawings, which reveal the imagery of period magazines, thus form a sort of historical archive. The exhibition also includes a panel on which thousands of postcards are made available to the public, with images of the various alphabet primers the artist has created over the years, such as “Yes, we can”, “Bye Bye Ai Weiwei”, “Hasta la victoria siempre”, “Greetings from New Orleans”. Lastly, there will be an interactive map of the world with digital tags, which is the outcome of a series of different emotional experiences. Importantly, the exhibition will also provide an opportunity for teaching workshops on Global Education, involving a number of schools in Lucca, during which the kids will make letters to map out an atlas of emotions.
Giuseppe Stampone (Cluses, France, 1973) lives and works in Teramo and New York. His works have been shown in prestigious museums such as MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma) and GAMeC (Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea) in Bergamo. He won the 2011 Maretti Prize and his work was shown at the Havana Biennial in Cuba. He partecipated in Gwangiu Biennial (2012) and Liverpool Biennial (2010). For some years now he has been working on the “Solsitizio” project, funded by the European Union, in collaboration with institutions, associations, NGOs, artists, curators, critics, and other professionals.