THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CANVAS: A TABLED HAPPENING
All art, even contemporary art, is symbolic. And every single aspect of it refers to iconographic and iconological issues that, despite specific differences, cancel all individual digressions. The symbol, which is indeed the most complex expression of the artistic gesture, has been turned into “masterpiece” by historiography; by this shrewd action, art and the art system aimed to allure a lazy and listless society that has been showing little interest in knowledge lately. The destruction of The Girl with Balloon can be described as follows: a structured and violently arranged happening that makes everyone come out on top. With Banksy – the artist of geopolitical protest and economic liberation from the global art system – the art market seized the opportunity to reinvent its identity, aligning itself with the very system he wanted to obstruct. One suspects that the short film that has spread on the internet should be taken for what it is worth: a film event that was tabled by a group of buyers who look for consent in order to protect their investment by making the artist a new member of the elite. This is a necessary, planned gesture aimed to gain ground by exploiting the cross-disciplinary skills of a mysterious, out-of-the-box artist. Seeking consent is the engine of events, and art has often been its fuel. When we think to friar Giovanni da Fiesole’s Annunciation, which he did not finish later than 1433-34, and which was intended for the Church of San Domenico in Cortona, we have a hunch that, in those days, a similar epoch-making transition occurred. There were not many Annunciations like his, and while artistic invention was becoming more and more social-issue oriented, it also resulted into binding indoctrination, a helping hand held out towards defenseless people, like a wild beast pursued by hunters in the forests. The origins of this beautiful work are still an object of debate; the Angelic friar followed the guidelines of his motivated and resolute client, who was driven by a desire for absolute political and geographical consent. The Angelic friar painted a conversation in vulgate between the Angel and the Virgin, who talk to each other like common people. The woman and the divine messenger speak on the same level and she is now comfortable with the surrounding space. Words are now graphic, physical and recognisable, instead of being mere hints; they move on the scene like a tangible, irrevocable and unquestionable proof of the power of God of which the Dominican friars of Cortona and the Church have always been advocates.