The Regent’s Park
The painter Josef Albers claimed “irrational functionalism” as the truth-core of contemporary art in the late 1930s; Which goes to Donatella Versace’s later, more general point that “Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas”, the new normal structuring much of the current forms of variously disseminated (self-)expression and their instantaneous consumption, a dynamic that feeds into Emanuele Marcuccio’s art.
The present publication doubles as a travelogue of his practice, on and off his erstwhile Milan – Lausanne axis, calling at Brussels, Zurich, Paris, Mexico City and so on. The following pages further unfold Marcuccio’s faux formalism, which turns out to be less close to home to the virile machine dreams of Italian futurism, more aligned as his work and methods in fact are with a Duchampian legacy of transposition, creative direction, management and collaboration. The art is seemingly always shuttling between the centers of the action and the semi-peripheries that supply them, ready for dispatch or display, the opening and the closing. “All the world’s a stage” – or marketplace, or warehouse – as that Shakespeare quote goes.
That particular cycle ends “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”, which, drama aside, represents a state worth contemplating as attributes that inform Marcuccio’s art’s increasing complexity – in the word’s root meaning of multiple components that entwine and infold. In his serial works to date, surface and depth, information and voids, authenticity and artifice, the legit and the fake, that is classic dualisms and cherished ideals generally, get diluted and mixed up not to the point of conceptually rather exhausted synthesis or crash, but as tentative environments that play style and idea off against one another. Just when you thought you could tell a genuine Marcuccio when seeing a perfectly powder-coated and micro-dosed laser-cut metal sheet, his latest projects now see figurative elements such as models, all blank stares matching black screens. It’s literally all a bit off.
These “sets” – be they sculptural or built to be shot as images – become interesting not on the level of distinguishing cultural malaise or critiques of consumption, but in that they indicate an in-progress sign system, like TikToks but without the resolve toward release. The disparate objects and images commissioned by the artist hint at a collection or movie to come, part teaser, part idleness, with their author either performing, in the sense of delivering, or instead choosing to rather not.
The artist Daniele Milvio has rightly mentioned a generational tension (2010s to 2020s, say) in Marcuccio’s recent projects. This means, I think, the works’ conceptualization of something as vaguely individual as your or my coming-of-age tale into actual anthropological exploration, one that both stokes and deflates the promise of productivity, commercial application, exposure or/as actualization in a privileged realm like the western European cultural-creative sector, not to mention respective demographics within and attendant access to it.
The joke on what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing, has from its inception been about what to really want with all that stuff, how to afford all of it at what price (for oneself, for others) – increasingly how to free yourself from it, how to do different, how to dream pop now.
By Daniel Horn