When Fear Takes the Place of Beauty: art withdrawal

Yellow, orange and red zones. At least all over Italy; no museum, gallery, art fair, no theatre or cinema can be accessed. It seems that beauty has been replaced by fear. We live immersed solely in a din of hammering, monotonous, disheartening TV, monopolized by an army of virologists, infectious disease specialists spin doctors, anchormen and politicians. The result creates delirium and confusion. What are the consequences? This year marks the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. We will always remember his famous quote: “you were not made to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge”. Hence a mandatory question: but locked up, isolated, without intellectual stimuli, are we perhaps reducing ourselves to brutes? To robots that perform what is ordered from above like slaves? Skeptics, not necessarily deniers, perhaps we will react rationally to a complicated problem. But art and culture no longer have time for prudence, for algorithm data, for building maneuvers. It is not a question of intolerance but of an appeal that is launched to a part of the public administration that has never been so deaf and distant as now. The virtual world, however sophisticated and of the latest generation, cannot be enough.

Art fairs (like those of every other sector) fall back on online versions (see ArtBasel, Artissima, ArtVerona); a series of proposals for virtual visits, which although spectacular and captivating, do not allow a direct relationship with the works, they end up leaving us cold, as if deprived of soul. Walking through the exhibition corridors of noisy pavilions - the result of a concentration of works and gallery owners of taste and wisdom in a setting of personal and unrepeatable exhibitions, of great collectors, artists, critics - cannot be replaced by graphic magic and simulations. Art and culture in general require urgent intervention to reopen safely. Food of the spirit is as necessary as food of the body - supermarkets remain open without issues but museums, theaters and schools remain dramatically closed - this prolonged blockade is inadmissible, unjustified. So, let’s resist yes, we will be the resistance to this pandemic considered a war, let’s fight the aberrant invisible enemy and overcome reprisals, the DPCMs (Decree by the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers), the task force and yet another regulatory inconsistency. We trust the Supreme Poet to be able to return soon “to see the stars”.

The Author

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It all started with French literature. I studied it in Padua, in the frescoed palaces where the humanities courses were located. It was there that I realized that I prefer the figurative arts to literature. From the Middle Ages up until the twentieth century. And then to art fairs and Florence, where - for the sake of love - I have been living for twenty years now. Travelling to all places where art is bought and sold. Crossing worlds, seeing collections, meeting people: a fascinating, inexhaustible landscape.

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