A digital clock, recently installed on the fronton of the Tokyo Palace entrance chimes the 5 billion year countdown, which separates us from the explosion of the sun and therefore the end of all life on earth. Big Crunch Clock (1999) reminds us of the inexorable end of all things.
A cake of soap made from extra fat recovered after Silvio Berlusconi’s liposuction in a Swiss plastic surgery clinic: Mani pulite (2005). The first cake of Berlusconi’s soap brand which washes whiter than white? What about the replica of the American flag which was erected on the moon (Tranquility Base, 1999) once transposed in the space of White Cube? Should we see the poetic nevertheless absurd conquest of emptiness or of contemporary art? We might as well be shooting for the moon! Yet the commemorative tablet of the 759 Guantanamo victims (The Victims of Guantanamo Bay (Memorial), 2006), prisoners, or rather hostages, parked in a space without rights, literally removed from society’s awareness.
All those objects are neither sculptures nor installations, not even ready-made, perhaps assisted ready-made, often multiples or unique pieces. Often taken “as is” and only displaces, Gianni Motti’s objects, deprived of their meaning and of their original symbolism, go through a demystification before being turned towards a new sense, a taking a stand or a turning in. Ironical and critical, they reveal the hidden aspects of the system, or of politics or the state of the world. Indeed, the artist loves considering “the other side of the coin,” what is beyond appearances and conscience, paranormal phenomena and anticipation, sectary movements, primitive instincts and plot theories.
The mode of embezzlement, as practiced by Gianni Motti, seems to look like attempts of twisting things, even sleights of hand: dead on July 29th 1989, he organized his own burial in Vigo (Entierro n°1), then took the liberty to resuscitate, to be someone else and choose his identity. Even more meaningful was the managing of his retrospective suggested in 2004 by the Migros Museum in Zurich (Plausible Deniability): the space was entirely divided by walls of paneling, reconstructing an empty labyrinth which ceaselessly led the spectator to the back yard of the museum. Speech was there instead of absent works. Several guides who were in charge of presenting the important steps of Gianni Motti’s work gave the speech. This way, Gianni Motti had already substituted reality by commentary. A way of organizing and having full control over his passage to posterity, of constructing a narrative, a legend, and of giving his artistic career the status of fiction once and for all.