Rider Of The Apopalypse
“I can’t save the world and it pisses me off!“
The great Robert Indiana once stated that “Pop art is the American Dream because it is optimistic, generous and naive.“ And like the American Dream it obviously implies the promise that it’s attainable by everyone.
These attributes might work for Perucchetti’s oeuvre as well, the major difference though is that the Italian artist puts ambivalence in the very centre of his impressive body of work. His sculptures and installations first seduce you through their opulent execution and bright colours while they’re clearly an examination of our consumerist-culture and political misadventures as well. It’s an often subtle yet keen critique delivered via sugar-coated eye candy - predominantly made from resin which he optimized to perfection through long years of experimentation - whose punch last a lot longer than you would expect.
Lodown took the chance for a quick chit-chat with the pop artist in early June 2012.
Mauro, I was wondering if you always executed your ideas as a sculptor or if you had to work yourself through a whole variety of artistic techniques before you clearly found your very own visual language?
Wow, this is a blurred line in my memory! I tried all sorts of techniques and, as a matter of fact I painted as well for years. But I distinctly remember that, when I was painting, I was nearly more obsessed with the technique than with the subject. I so much wanted to come up with something different from anything used by other artists, something new. I was always experimenting with both, the mediums I was mixing and the materials I was painting onto. This helped me tremendously later in life as I turned some of these techniques into a business. But I guess sculpting it’s a sixth sense, it comes naturally to me. Though even in my sculptures the predominant final medium is often resin, a material I have mastered and used in a very personal way.
From what I understood, it actually took you quite a while to follow the call of being an artist… what were the reasons behind that?
You are absolutely right... the call was always there from an early age, but two things got in the way. Number one the insatiable curiosity of a young creative mind which needs to experiment with so many things before devoting all it’s got to one thing. Number two the need for financial independence which, in my youth, I could not achieve by being an artist.
Please tell me a bit about your upbringing in Italy… does your whole family have an artistic background or were you the kind of “oddball“?
I most definitely did not grow up in an artistic environment, even though I discovered later in life that several members of my family had achieved artistic goals on an amateur level.
The majority of your body of work addresses our consumerist culture in very critical yet playful - and overall ambivalent - way. Is that a topic that stepped more into the focus after you’ve moved to the UK? From my own experience I’d say that social values over there differ rather significantly to the ones in Italy…
I have just made a piece titled Money Drugs Sex and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Having lived in London for such a long time and in New York and Los Angeles for shorter periods, you can’t help noticing that these large cosmopolitan cities have definitely a lot more of that sort of thing happening than even Rome or Milan… which can be pretty decadent as well. But here it’s much more in your face.
Please tell me a bit about the term “Apopalyptic“… what does it mean to you? And would you say that our society is pretty much doomed to fail or is there some hope left that our parameters for happiness and success will change?
I love the name “Apopalyptic” and here is how it came about. One night, while having dinner with an artist friend of mine in Munich, I felt very buzzed as I was explaining what I was up to with my art and I wrote on a piece of paper I still have: ‘ Today I have started the APOPALYPTICAL movement of modern art. ‘ It’s dated 24-5-1999.
Never in history has so much been available to so many. But like most things we can use or abuse and vice-versa, be used and abused. I think people adapt and evolve with the times. Principles and morals that we perceive as virtues today may change in the future. I already detect a certain unfortunate relaxation on those fronts compared to a few generations back. A definite bad thing to us, but God knows how things will be perceived in the future. On a good note, when you look at how the Romans behaved, for example, it can be quite shocking to us now but not to them then. People only notice the failure of a quantifiable entity like a civilization, a political regime or a religion. We’ll have to wait for globalization to become full in more aspects to recognize doom or not. My hope is that, as we go on, our intellects will develop for the better on a spiritual level. A totally free world of individual self-policing. Sad it has to sound like utopia.
One quintessential element of your work certainly is humor… how hard is it for you to not be super-sarcastic but tune the humor down to a more friendly level, especially when you deal with political global powers?
Not too hard as I am a very friendly person, but boy do I get angry. I once said in one of my art pieces ‘I can’t save the world and it pisses me off!’
Thanks a lot to the wonderful Lorena Perucchetti to make this feature possible.