The group show “An Image” curated by Alessio Ascari was held at KALEIDOSCOPE’s project space in Milan in 2011. Titled after the exhibited 1983 video by German-based artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki about a four-day photo shoot for Playboy magazine, the exhibition presented a multi-faceted reflection on image-making, examining how artists have addressed and appropriated modes of image production, post-production, collection and distribution in contemporary culture.
Drawing connections to the groundbreaking experiments of Pop art, photo-conceptualism and the Pictures generation, the show gathers artists spanning different generations and a wide range of media to discuss the politics of images in the present tense, paying special attention to the strategies and dynamics of advertising and the mass media and to the evolving idea of representation in the current digital era. Participating artists included Bernadette Corporation, Anders Clausen, Roe Ethridge, Harun Farocki, Nikolas Gambaroff, Massimo Grimaldi, David Jablonowski, Oliver Laric, Graham Little, Mathias Poledna, Timur Si-Qin, Lucie Stahl, Ger van Elk, and Ian Wallace.
“Image is everything” is the tagline uttered by tennis world champion Andre Agassi in a series of wildly successful commercials by technology giant Canon, released in no less significant a year than 1990 and celebrating a new simplicity in amateur photography. By that time, the power of mass media had already imposed itself on an increasingly image-obsessed consumer society. What came next is history: in 1991, the Associated Press published an article with the headline, “Electronics Takes a Big Step Closer to Replacing Film,” and within the space of a decade, digital imaging had prospered to the extent of transforming the entire processes of image production and dissemination, walking (or rather, running!) arm in arm with the diffusion of personal computers, the progress in software engineering, and the biggest technological revolution of our times—the birth of the World Wide Web.
Photo credits: Alessandro Zambianchi