Vettor Pisani

Galleria Pio Monti

Well beyond conceptualism, metaphors, and metalinguistic and metaphysical tensions, the work of Vettor Pisani has always been a sort of critical conscience of the most advanced artistic research. Pisani has had the virtue of adding questions to questions, of overturning all assumptions, of doubting even the possibility for art to reflect on itself. Thus, after having criticized numerous myths, after having declared every reconciliation impossible(especially arte povera’s desire for a harmonious encounter with nature), Pisani has reached a point where he is attempting to contradict himself, applying his tools (tension, logic, the visual pun, the mental short circuit) to his own work.

The installation’s long title, German Love Sinfonietta—Favola rosacroce di Fratel coniglietto o German Coniglietto, il conighetto errante e celante di R.C. Theatrum (German Love Sinfonietta—Rosicrucian fable of Brother bunny or German bunny, the errant and hiding bunny of R.C. Theatrum, 1989) overflows with references to Pisani’s entire poetics. It is a courageous “staging” that places at its center the questions raised by one of the artist’s series from the mid ’70s entitled Il coniglio non ama Joseph Beuys (The rabbit doesn’t love Joseph Beuys). At the time the work was created, the image of the rabbit represented a critique of Beuys’ ideological faith in being able to change the world through art, of his revolutionary prophecy. While Beuys isolated symbolic gestures, Pisani pointed out to Beuys that there was no escape possible, neither into the future nor into the past, and that the only reality was the lacerated and problematic present. Pisani, even while negating utopia, could then respond to Beuys, interpreting and elaborating his critical language with new signs. Now, withdrawing into himself, he places himself at the center of a more isolated and perhaps more radical reflection. Thus, the “rabbit” piece is hung or, better, absorbed into the center of a room entirely covered in wallpaper bearing the obsessively repeated cloying image of a Playboy bunny.

As always, Pisani’s works have many meanings—and many possible levels of interpretation. Most importantly, Pisani confirms the necessity of a critical language, even if it can now do nothing but reflect on its own heredity. And so the decorative impact of the wallpaper surface, with that empty and spectacular repetition of the pinup image, completely absorbs the historical reality (now sedimented in our memory) of the “rabbit who doesn’t love Beuys.” Well beyond the logic of the installation, well beyond the critical verification of his own work, here, Pisani poses a further question regarding the immediate and implacable confrontation between two decades: the ’70s, with all its need to “be,” and the ’80s, with all its obligation to “appear.”

Alessandra Mammì

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.