Among the multiple meanings of the noun dependency are the impossibility or inability to be independent and the addiction to substances, the subtraction of which induces physical and psychic disorders.
All those affected by a dependency always look to that “last time”, the famous “I’ll stop when I want to”. The last time: the interior monologue of those with an addiction, the voice whispering that this will be the last heroin injection or the last line of coke, that this will be the last casual sex with a stranger. They will leave Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They’ll switch off their phone. Sexting (which it is estimated Italians do once a week) will not replace the real thing. That statement “the last time” in itself lays the foundations for failure and the next relapse.
One of the substantial and chilling differences between the “old” and the “contemporary” addictions is certainly the passive acceptance of the dynamics of the latter, as an added value to social interaction and personal growth. Whatsapp, Imessage and Messenger integrate the individual and act as a counterpoint to the idea of the use of heroin in the Seventies and Eighties, a symbol of marginalization and rebellion against society. These new addictions exalt the idea of integration, making us dependent on the number of “likes” obtained and messages received. We photograph our bodies. Our genitals. The food and drink we consume. The photographs themselves are then always retouched, aphorisms are the means by which we express our sensations. And then we share.
The group show at the Galleria De Chirico presents a selection of works that recount some of the most common addictions: heroin, with the photographs of Antoine d’Agata and Larry Clark and the Shotgun Paintings of William Burroughs, the wishful thinker “vanitas” of Amalia Ulman, the compulsive and fetishist sex of Carol Rama, of the Mexican artist (and tattooist) Dr Lakra and the photographer Richard Kern, the addiction to money in a video by the Mexican artist Federico Martinez Montoya.
The artistic idiom that best describes the new addictions to the social media and Internet is certainly that of crude, sacrilegious street art. The exhibition features one of the works that have changed the way we see the work of Shepard Fairey (OBEY) and two by the Italian Mister Thoms. The addiction to Viagra of Ben Frost. And a work by the world’s most famous and controversial street artist, Banksy.
- Ben Frost, Viagra. Courtesy of Galleria De Chirico
- Mr Thoms, Slave for feed. Courtesy of Galleria De Chirico
- Richard Kern, Adrienne on bed. Courtesy of Galleria De Chirico