to America with LOVE. Beyond the mith


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The poet grew up dreaming of the country which had sent its young men to liberate old Europe. His childhood imagination took wing towards the wide spaces of a nation he imagined to be imbued with a superior morality, full of fraternal and ethical ideals; and the cradle, besides, of the cinema and the avant-gardes of every artistic endeavour…  

Happiness Toy – 2020

Having shed his milk teeth and left behind, too, the fantasies and sublimations of adolescence, he began the protracted process of opening his mind to what lay behind the myths. And so the long-held dream began to fade, like the morning mists that invade the canals of Venice, his beautiful native city, disappearing as the sun’s rays reveal inescapable reality. The only reality, marking that passing of time with which, as Leo Ferré has sung, tout s’en va. Not least our childhood illusions. 

Today, combining arts and letters, two disciplines he excels in, Pier Luigi Olivi, has produced a work that is visual and poetic at the same time, a series of pieces that speak to us of those myths destroyed, of delusion, of beliefs abandoned and bankrupt utopias. But he has done this without bitterness or with images suggesting rancour and violence, deploying instead irony and (sometimes quite black) humour, in addition to the sense of beauty he was born with, and which shapes the works that make up this show. 

Fifty State Globe – 2020

To America with Love can be read as the discordant swansong of a civilisation in ruins, whose only deity peers out from behind the metallic clink of money, brutally encapsulated in the dollar sign – the god of our world of today, who has devoured any hope of a better one. But this song does not emerge from its own throat but from that of a Venetian poet, from a sensitivity still as tender as the skin of a child, which finds model after model to match a profound disquiet…

Pier Luigi Olivi, a poet become a self-taught artist, parades before us the familiar symbols of that vast North American nation, reinterpreting them in turn: the starred banner spangled with iconic heads from its history, the Great Seal, the Statue of Liberty, the currency repurposed as a piggy-bank. And, not to be overlooked, the visage of a recent, unnameable president, the object of alarm and ridicule throughout the world

La Liberté éclairant le monde – 2020

Illusions of the past century are wedded to the emptiness of the current one in a tension that translates To America with loveinto scrupulously crafted virtual works that obey a contemporary pop aesthetic. Here the imperial eagle does not know to whom to turn with his succinct reminder E Pluribus Unum: ‘out of many, one’.

For the poet there is indeed “one”, one only, since for him “in God we trust” has become “in Gold we trust”: an ultracapitalismthat devours even the Graeco-Roman Olympus; a civilization which, like a mappamundi globe, revolves exclusively on itself.

Untitled, 2020

Not so much a criticism as a painful acknowledgement that Olivi registers about our contemporary merchant city, the nation of Scrooge McDuck, uncle too of our other Donald, no less a caricature than Disney’s, frozen in time. What cannot be disputed is that things are not as they seemed, and that when our generation has to write and paint the founding myths of today’s society, it cannot know for the moment what they correspond to. But what Pier Luigi Olivi shows us in ToAmerica with Love is what those myths are not founded on.

(Translation by John F. Phillimore)

Header image: Trilogy Power – 2020

to America with LOVE. Beyond the mith ultima modifica: 2022-03-23T16:27:53+01:00 da MARILÙ ORTIZ DE ROZAS
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