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This article has been published in: Ocula 22, Be cool. How a Cultural Icon is Born

authors: Lucia Corrain (Dipartimento delle Arti, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna (IT)) and Ottavia Mosca (Dipartimento delle Arti, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna (IT))

David superstar. Guan Xiao and the Art Icons

language: italian

publication date: April 2020

abstract: It is enough to look around to be “touched” by an immense quantity of reproductions of works of art of every age and style. Not any image, but certain works that have become part of the collective imagination until they become true icons. What allows an image to become an icon? In the first analysis, the icon is characterized by a considerable media overexposure: extrapolated, decontextualized and re-proposed almost to infinity. One among many, the Leonardesque Mona Lisa: printed on a pillow as designed by the artist or on a cup in the guise of starfish Patrick, SpongeBob’s friend. No matter the verisimilitude with the original, it observes us with its enigmatic smile from an increasingly vast multitude of consumer objects. And it certainly isn’t the only one. Reflections like these are at the heart of the work David (presented at the Venice Biennale in 2017) by the Pekingese artist Guan Xiao. A three-channel video about the image of Michelangelo’s famous statue, its diffusion and its immoderate use in contemporary culture, from the perspective of a Chinese artist. Photographs and video clips taken from the web are assembled together and accompanied by the music of a synth-pop song, which recalls the melodies of the originary country of the same artist. Moreover, the work is literally “crossed” by synchronically sarcastic and profound phrases that offer a questioning of the exaggerated use of icons. A video, ultimately, capable of “talking” about the improper use of the icon through the icon of the David, so much abused that it – as Guan Xiao recites – “disappear”.

keywords: icona culturale, cultural icon, sparire, arte, david, michelangelo, guan xiao, banksy, blu, fabio viale, disappear, art

OCULA-22-CORRAIN-MOSCA-David-superstar.pdf ➞ PDF [3,519Mb]

DOI: 10.12977/ocula2020-19

citation information: Lucia Corrain and Ottavia Mosca, David superstar. Guan Xiao e le icone nell’arte, "Ocula", vol.21, n.22, pp.266-286, April 2020. DOI: 10.12977/ocula2020-19



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