“Sublime upon sublime scarcely presents a contrast, and we need a little rest from everything, even the beautiful” ~ Victor Hugo.
Marco Battaglini is an artist who cavorts in the schizophrenic borderlands that is pastiche. Overlapping cultural, temporal and spatial realities we see Classical Beauty in a tug of war with contemporary street culture. The sumptuous, fleshy and languid icons of art history now reside in the sketchy, gritty wastelands of the vulgar now. This splicing of contexts has a way of showing us time’s diluting effect on realities. Nudes become Naked revealing how academic scrutiny has drained their lifeblood away. By tattooing their gorgeousness and adding a dash of Victoria’s Secret they spring back to life in a new cultural saucy. From Beauty to Bombshell, historical drama queens and spectacle theatrics are fleshed out into soapies or another day in the life of a Kardashian.
On the flipside the acid tones of contemporary street art take on an eerie hue of perhaps our future ruins. Hallmark slogans, sultans of pop and stenciled glam take their place among the clouds revealing us to be just as naive as our predecessors. “All you need is love”, “Dreaming is my religion” and even “Viva La Masturbation” become our goofy twisted rendition of old school hope slogans.
This context clash somewhat reflects Battaglini’s own life. Growing up and educated in a tradition steeped Italy he is now based in Costa Rica. Combining digital art and airbrush techniques with his own weighty conceptual perspective, he aims to confront the democratization of culture by catapulting the viewer out of our geographical space and time.
What exactly does this mean for the audience? For me, it’s like walking into a hall of mirrors. Multiple realities shoot by me in every direction. In the distance I see a machine gun-toting Snow White and a blinged up graffiti tag. At the same time, a Renaissance sex bomb is tapping me on the shoulder from behind. It’s a giddy cocktail of WOW and I can’t help but hear Shirley Bassey’s vocals echo down from the heavens, through the hallowed halls and onto the skanky back streets, It’s all just a little bit of history repeating . . .