Curated by Giuseppe Ottavianelli
Critical essay by Achille Bonito Oliva
Rero (1983) is an artist that examines the codes of our society, and in particular the codes of image and language. Notorious for his in situ pieces in public, urban spaces natural environments, his work revolves around language: single words, phrases short and long, that engage the reader based scenario in which they are placed. Rero systematically crosses out messages with a thick black line. This détournement distinctively characterizes his research on the negation of the image, one which testifies to the very process of thinking. It denounces a possible censorship and self-censorship that recall concepts linked to physical and intellectual private property of a piece of work, an object, a place, or even a person. When developing these themes, Rero launches his research with the acronym WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get – the perfectly encapsulates the visual overdose present in contemporary society.
Rero titled his first show in Italy Supervised Independence – a term that has been used in the past with regards to the status of Kosovo, a Republic that is now technically defined as independent, but still not explicitly legally recognized by the international community. Supervised Independence is the oxymoron that the artist utilizes to examine the challenges and defeats of our society. A rhetoric figure with which Rero demarcates our time, which seems entangled in impossible definitions, like “fair trade”, “ethical investments”, and the “sustainable development” of a system in exorbitant expansion.
In conjunction with the gallery’s fifth anniversary, the show organized by Wunderkammern exclusively showcased new works, and was characterized by a range of expressive mediums. The combination of antithetical words spark reflection on the contradictions that arise during the formation of collective memory, which focuses on the future though firmly rooted in the past. This applies specifically to the city of Rome as well.
As a preview to the show, the artist created a public intervention on the wall of the DAMS building at the Roma Tre University, the fruit of a collaboration with Wunderkammern and NUFactory. In collaboration with the Institut Français Centre Saint-Louis, the artist also made a performance on the 26th of Novembre 2013, that was streamed on the Institut’s website, leaving a permanent installation in their Rome location, at largo Toniolo 22. In the days after, Rero created other public installations in different locations around the city, continuing to investigate the individuality of people in the public and private spheres, and the thin line that separates them.