Igor Zanti | Arte Laguna Prize

A bridge between two eras

It is certainly very difficult to write a critical text these days, a text that refers to a group of works that were selected at a time when we were still unaware of what would happen in the next two years.

Even the artists, who conceived these works in their studios around the world between 2018 and 2019, were faced with themes that the pandemic has transformed, if not wiped out.

A little less than two years ago, technology and social media were judged in a different way: society was accused of using these means to the detriment of a more natural and traditional sociality, of favoring an alienation and a perception of a distorted reality, based on the artifice of a shot published on Facebook or Instagram, deceptive mirrors of a “filtered” reality” and in constant search for a false perfection.

These same media have proved to be, during the long pandemic period and the various lockdowns, almost the only opportunity to keep in touch with other human beings, to defeat the imposed isolation.

The loneliness of urban areas, individualism, withdrawing into our own shell as if we were otaku (exponents of a Japanese subculture in the nineties, which saw some young manga fans voluntarily isolate themselves from the world) was forcibly imposed on us. The pandemic and its consequences have, in short, invaded our minds, making us forget everything around us.

Inevitably, artists, who are and remain the primary interpreters of the reality in which they lives, were strongly affected, almost violently by what was happening, sometimes , involuntarily making some themes or some researches outdated, not because they are – in fact, gender discrimination, problems relating to the environment and its survival, economic and social differences have remained and have not been erased but actually exacerbated by the pandemic – but they have been, in a certain sense, set aside like dust put under a carpet so as not to be seen in the face of what seemed to be a more important problem, because it was experienced as the real danger for the survival of mankind.

It will be noted how, in the section of the works conceived for the the 2019/2020 edition of the Prize, there was still a spirit and an impetus towards joy and hope, still a certain cheerfulness, which these nearly two years have weakened. The danger, before the end of 2019, was mainly represented by the cultural clash between the West and Islamic extremism, supported by the general insecurity generated by the multiple terrorist attacks in France, Spain, Belgium, England or Germany. No one would ever have expected our safety to be endangered by a subtle and devious enemy, which spreads through the air we breathe: death comes right through the vital element for us … It is also significant that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers and that in these days, the withdrawal from Afghanistan shows us images that we were no longer used to see. This exhibition will inevitably be, for the works conceived and imagined in years so close, but extraordinarily distant for everything that has happened in the meantime, an ideal bridge between two eras.  It will mark the boundary between two worlds, between two ways of thinking and seeing reality. We will have the privilege of understanding how this break, this wound that we all carry on us, has changed the artistic approach, highlighting which will be the issues still unresolved and hidden under the carpet and which the new challenges that art will have to face in what we hope we can define the post-Covid 19 era.

Matteo Galbiati | Arte Laguna Prize

Starting again without having stopped

Over the years of its history, Arte Laguna Prize has been able to confirm what should be the mission of an award which, not ending only in the enhancement of contemporary research, in the discovery of new talents, in the exploration of current creative languages and expressiveness, while certainly having to focus on this identity as a promoting institution, wanted above all to confirm its continuity. Not of appearance, but of substance.

The continuity, the reaffirmation of its identity edition after edition, improving objectives and growing over time is a sign of responsible planning that always looks forward and is never limited to what has already been done or to the certainties acquired, incorporating always new and fresh “energies” that come from artists from all over the world and from professionals in the sector, amplifying them by generating virtuous connections, becoming a moment of shared reciprocity and providing opportunities for growth from the point of view of knowledge, exchanges and the progress of one’s career.
The appreciation and the feedback, the trust and the credit towards Arte Laguna Prize are framed precisely in this direction of certainty, of a confirmed and never missed appointment, of a moment of confrontation, discovery and enhancement, never of empty self-celebration. A meeting that takes place “democratically” for the value of the work itself, going beyond the market or collaborations with more or less prestigious galleries or institutionsThe sense of vision, its reflection on the present, being a mirror of contemporaneity are the priorities that the organizers and the juries want to identify and underline with their choices and their careful selections, reaffirming these as inseparable values in the mission that the Prize fulfills. The most significant testimony of the sense of correspondence and never interrupted journey, is the union of the 2020 and 2021 editions which, due to the situation imposed by a global pandemic whose emergencies do not seem to end, bring together the two respective exhibitions. One in two, two in one. It’s a turning point, in a way, A double edition that highlights very well the difference in perspectives and reflections that were observed by the artists before and after the pandemic. Each single work, while not going beyond the singular value of individual research, is a window on the lived moment and, in other words, always the daughter of its (and our) time and for this reason, in their choral nature they constitute a small insight into current history, about how a crucial and unforeseen event subverted everything we took for granted, what we shared or what we questioned. Also through art. The exhibition of the two editions is, therefore, an important event, fundamental to relate to the dimension of our reality of which art is always a happy and useful catalyst of narratives, emotions, truths that live in the exclusive image embodied by the work.  The choices are the mirror and litmus test of what is happening around us, they are grafted into the flow of human events, they are responses of tastes and affinities, of corresponded sensitivity and, for this reason, beyond any inevitable individual opinion and judgment, they respond to this tension towards reciprocity. The nature of this Prize, which offers different evaluation elements, opening up to different juries each year, shows an active pulsation of artistic thought and starting from two joint editions is undoubtedly the signal that, while highlighting the profound differences of themes and thoughts, demonstrates, once again, the desire to continue the path taken by the Prize since the first edition.

A journey that, therefore, resumes without ever having really stopped. This is the resilient force of art, always capable of being there, living, resisting, affirming.