Cristiano Carotti. Dove sono gli ultras

19 Nov 2016 — 14 Jan 2017 at the White Noise Gallery in Rome, Italy

Cristiano Carotti, Dove sono gli ultras, Exhibition view. Courtesy of White Noise Gallery
Cristiano Carotti, Dove sono gli ultras, Exhibition view. Courtesy of White Noise Gallery
8 DEC 2016

What would have Carl Gustav Jung though withstanding the south end of the “Olimpico” stadium during the Roman soccer derby? The visual artist Cristiano Carotti answers this question through his first solo show in Rome: ‘Dove sono gli ultras’.

The show, curated by Eleonora Aloise and Carlo Maria Lolli Ghetti, will open at the White Noise Gallery, the 19th of November and will last until the 22nd of December 2016. An original soundtrack, written by Rodrigo D’Erasmo from the Afterhours, will work as a background for the corpus of around 20 new artworks that Cristiano Carotti will use in order to separate the Symbol from its natural background and morphing it into art. Roman crosses, panthers, devils, skulls, bears, bulldogs are some of the icons taken right from banners, flags, t-shirts and soccer team scarves and then merged into art. Cristiano Carotti is a multidisciplinary artist who often collaborates with fellow artists from different areas – from Filippo Timi to Vinicio Capossela, from the performer Franko B to the Afterhours – being able to use different mediums such as performance, music or video art (his new video “Camera Red”, produced by Versus and codirected with the artist Desiderio has been nominated for the best movie award at the Istanbul Fashion Film Festival).

In the new idiom: ‘Dove sono gli ultras’ there are no more question marks where they used to be. What it used to be a yelled by hooligans to provoke rival supporters, is now used by an artist, under a Jungian perspective, to recall that point, inside all of us, where the archetype meets our rational ego, influencing it and generating particular social behaviours.

Historically speaking, the Symbol has always been the centre of aggregation of armies, political groups and supporters due to its ability to recall universal ideas and forms such as Darkness, Death and Gods. Around the Symbol builds up a sense of faith that often goes beyond its origin and ends up dominating the single conscience. Nazism, as an example, has been one of the worst and clearest demonstrations of transfer from personal to collective conscience, thanks to the use of an ancient iconography that was de-contextualized and filled with new, sinister, meanings. Carotti is trying to tell us that, paraphrasing Jung, each of us, when dominated by an archetype, is actually an ultras.

The artist has used the Ultras symbolism as a starting point and for a wider analysis. We are withstanding an era of radical changes and deep crisis of western cultural values. Often ignoring history, western Democracies can be easily seduced by new spectres that roam over Europe: temptation to choose from despotic behaviours and flattery of populism. Therefore Carotti’s analysis of symbol through the celebration of its communication potential happens to be very significant. The symbol is able to underline the sense of defeat of western rational ideas in favour of tribal dynamics thanks to its communicative, cohesive and totemic strength.

The gestural approach, the materic oil paint left on canvasses, scarves, jackets, banners – with a clear recall to ancient relics – together with the soundtrack from Rodrigo D’Erasmo that swaps the usual choruses of a stadium with a melody for violins, are crucial in creating a separation between symbols and their functional, original, dimensions.

The show will feature the sculpture “Finding Mephistophele” that has been created between August and September 2016 during an artist residency at the HALLE 14 Contemporary art center in Leipzig. Inspired by an archetypical image (the shadow) historically embedded in city’s imaginary, “Finding Mephistophele” describes the bond between Leipzig and Goethe’s Faust, a masterpiece that C.G. Jung used to love.

“Dove sono gli ultras” is the occasion to meet the work of an artist who is deeply aware of present time’s complexity and who’s able to determine, with extreme precision, the hidden meanings between the clusters of contemporary life.