A Portrait of the Artist Dawning, photograph by Daniele Mattioli digital print mounted on MDF board, 70 x 43 cm 2011

By all means, let’s not deny that surrendering is sometimes a very brave and valuable solution. Timing is of its essence. I make surrendering on time a must, every time I gamble into something way above my modest capabilities. I limit the damage – the degeneration of utopia into dystopia.
The courage to acknowledge the possibility of facing failure and the consequential slow-motion bitterness at every commencement is holy. Diving into that bitterness at the right time is hallowed. Rising up and starting anew is blessed. The sun is not yellow it’s chicken. This work is about this and also about this.
This artist was photographed in a very specific moment, or actually a very specific moment was photographed in this artist. Every good utopian realizes, at some critical point, that reality always finds a way to mess up your ambitious plan. Your omelette gets burned; your city of the future is just a cocoon for potentially violent sociopaths; the earth is never going to be as green as it was half an hour ago; your country is no better than before, the poor are still poor, ignorant, dirty and unhappy, the rich are still rich, ignorant, dirty and unhappy in their Cayennes; no Cayenne picks you up and drives you to heaven when you die. Though your idea was simply brilliant.
And this artist, whose very modest desire was to make a decent painting of a tree he has seen in his hometown, who tried and tried, just had to admit to himself that the tree in his hometown is much happier where it is and has no intention of moving to his canvas, which is instead hosting what looks like green pubes on a stick. It’s a sad moment, because, on many levels, trees are better than green pubes. But if a second photograph was taken, only half an hour later, it would show the same artist, oblivious to his failure, who has moved on to a new project. The optimist fool.

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