Patience is running out
Vittorio Sgarbi wins the trophy for the most biting and disturbing comment. Freudianly, in Maurizio Cattelan’s already very famous banana he sees the mournful announcement of the sexual défaillance of his author in andropause. I hope this is just an interpretation, and not a piece of information the critic learnt either from the person concerned, or some revenge-seeking ex-lover. However, people are always very curious, when it comes to accessing the secrets of other people’s bedrooms. And Sgarbi the tombeur de femmes knows it all too well. To the likeable artist the strenuous burden of refuting the thesis that discredits his manliness so much. Provided that he wants to take up the challenge. The fact remains, that the Comedian – this is the name of the work Perrotin exhibited at ArtBasel Miami – immediately caused a sort of collective hysteria and most foolish reactions. As usual, the enfant terrible of contemporary art achieved his goal: everyone talks about it, everyone cannot help talking about it. And there is more: many people put words into action. In front of the Parisian gallery stand, neverending queues grow, formed by people who are eager to take a selfie of themselves with the work of the moment – this is the fashionistas army. Then, there are people who wander around the fair, flaunting t-shirts with their bananas on them – these are the emulators.
And then, there is David Datuna, a scarcely known artist so far, who adds provocation to provocation – the crafty little devil. He stages a performance – Hungry Artist – and, in a couple of mouthfuls, he metaphorically devours $120,000: this is the price of each of the first two artworks sold during the art fair, whereas the third reached the modest amount of $150,000 within a few hours. A world war breaks out on the social media, with detractors and admirers of the Italian genius fighting against each other and shooting profanities, nonsenses, insults and threats. As if they were deeply concerned about the object of contention, or if it was a matter of life or death. To others it does not seem true to be able to replace what people think when they see Fontana’s cut – “I could do that too” – with a more rewarding “I can do that too”. And they prove it: duct tape and bananas in their hands, they start to beautify – so to speak – the walls of their houses. Then, they take photos and post them on Facebook and Instagram, hurrying before the fruit rots. And that’s the point: before it rots. Because we have to deal with it: nothing is eternal, not even art, today. I seek comfort in a book by Cicero that awaits me on the nightstand. I read: Quousque tandem abutere, Cattelan, patientia nostra? (How long now, Cattelan, will you abuse our patience?). Oops, it was Catilina. Reading slip.
Lorella Pagnucco Salvemini