WORK 14 / SOCIETY / IDEAS

IDEAS 01/12 While in a social environment, I am on the look out for free associations. For example, if I see a BBQ grill in a park that is “like” a stroller, I annotate on my smartphone: “Carrozzina bambino e´ grill barbecue” (“Stroller for kid is a BBQ grill”). The annotations are made in Italian that is not only my mother language but also one allowing quite some playfulness. Some time later I would then draw a mother or a father grilling sausages using the child's stroller as a BBQ grill. Every month I collect a whole list of these ideas and after lunch or dinner, unless I am traveling or I have guests to entertain, I draw at least three of them on A4 paper. It is a relaxing moment resulting in 90 drawings a month and 38,800 in my overall, 36-year production. As with my dream project also with my drawing of ideas I attempt to imagine over time all that is imaginable (Fig. Drawing example with the hand of a woman hanging a wet superman also to dry. Some ideas might also emerge while drawing other ideas. For example this one might have emerged drawing a superman and realizing that the mantel resembles an underwear. Also the irony behind it could go as far as to see female domestic power over that of a male superhero. These type allusions however are not sought after and the ideas are genuine associations popping in my head without any political agenda in mind nor any sort of self-censorship).

IDEAS 02/12 A drawing is first executed in pencil and later with a 4 mm STABILO black pen tracing over the pencil drawing before it is erased. The drawings are executed on normal 80 grams copy paper which is not acid free and will eventually yellow within a few years possibly becoming unreadable. This cheap medium in which the drawing is executed reflects the ephemeral social situations I depict. Approximately every month, I manually scan the resulting pile of drawings in black and white, 150 DPI resolution. The resulting digital images are batch processed for resizing and cropping. Ultimately a slide-shown animation of 12 minutes is made from 90 drawings displayed for 8 seconds each. After scanning a pile of drawings I put them in a box. At the beginning of every summer the thousand drawing I make in the course of a year are brought to my mountain farm to be archived. The whole of my drawings has been traveling a long way with me from China to North America and to North America and ultimately from Central Europe to my native south (Fig. Screenshot showing me manually scanning one drawing after another. At this time I kept the archive in my Stockholm one room apartment prior relocating in a barn in the alps. The process of scanning can take several hours each month a time during which I might allow myself to watch a movie).

IDEAS 03/12 This worlk started while I was babysitting my young child in a Swedish playground. Many of my written ideas are in fact generated in a boring situation, while in line at a cashier or in general waiting for a societal thing to occur. While this work is the most enjoyed by the audience, it is most critical of the social environment in which I live. In this respect my drawings are not only the result of human boredom but they show the absurd excess in which the contemporary and future-thinking human projects itself. Each drawing works as a black-circuit of the social and perfectly functioning enterprise. I then relates my creative input to artists with a genuine imagination such as Charlie Chaplin, Walter Lantz and the graffiti artist Blu and try to stay clear from all other so called artists wasting their talent by promoting a fashionable political agenda (Fig. Assemblage of some of my drawings from my early period. One could argue that with time, while the ideas themselves kept being rather good and not so repetitive, I became faster in the execution of my drawings and perhaps apparently worst. With time I began skipping unnecessary details; in a matter of second I can sketch with the pencil the drawing I latter retrace with the pen. Also I have noticed that I am more inclined to draw a human or animal creature than something more technical and complex).

IDEAS 04/12 Personally speaking I have a particularly intimate relation with drawings. Since my father left for Canada when I was four, I have found much peace to my sorrow in drawing. Already at the age of 6 I was making very complex depiction of the battles that took place in my native highland during World War I. With one of these war drawings I won the yearly local drawing context. At this point my elementary school teacher tried to encourage my mother to invest in my talent but the latter did not want her son to become an artist. To some extent the male character often showing up in the drawing much resemble my stepfather of whom I have been terrified as a young boy. He in fact represents the successful professional figure I am in general much cynical about (Fig. Flier showing me and my buddy Davide in Berlin years before the beginning of the project. We used to do something we called “Social Engineering”; pretending to be disabled and wearing a camera in the glasses or pretending to be a family with a doll in the stroller with a camera replacing an eye, we explored the urban environment. After collecting videos of a city in such fashion, we would re-engineered it with our creativity as the annotations superimposed on the flier shows. While this approach was rather rudimentary it was fundamental for me to begin my annotating and drawing of ideas).

IDEAS 05/12 I have spent my school years making drawings in my classmates' agendas, also as a way to kill time during boring boring lectures. Finally attending a year as an exchange student in United States during my high-school I was able to attend more creative classes that stimulated my oppressed artistic side. Later on I wanted to attend the Art accademy in Venice but my mother and stepfather were much opposed to the idea. As a compromise they allowed me to enroll as an Industrial Design student. Also here however I was criticized for my lack of drawing skills. Generally I am quite bad at reproducing reality in drawings. My strength lays in fact in reproducing my imagination, something that Italian professors did not appreciated (Fig. Screenshot showing my usual setup drawing in the attic of my girlfriend house in the Netherlands. The desk light is placed on my left side so as not to create any shadow when drawing with my right hand. I make use of a folder to draw on top and within this folder is a print with the list of drawings I have to execute. I strike the idea I read on this list prior drawing it. I generally draw in the evening but with my kids being small I often took advantage of their afternoon nap to do so. When too hot or sunny I draw with the window open but too much heat makes the ink of my pen too fluid and not so appropriate for retracing my pencil sketches).

IDEAS 06/12 To this day the seating in the afternoon or in the evening to draw works for I as some kind of relaxation moment removing all my gray feelings especially when locked up in daily routines. The daily practice resembles that of a Chinese elder training traditional calligraphy or painting with the brush. In this respect I am not a professional drawer beautifully representing details. Throughout my daily practice I became highly skilled in quickly rendering an idea usually managing to complete a drawing in a few minutes. In this respect perhaps the drawing is rather more a performative act or anyway a practice and a ritual I execute. The non-cultivated Westerner find these drawings rather childish so used they are to see drawings and paintings from churches or calendars and magazines. (Fig. Screenshot showing me taking my time to draw while waiting for a plane. In the years I spent commuting throughout Europe, I have often kept up my practice in public places under the eyes of others. I think they must have considered me rather special to draw in a place where at the most people read or typed on their devices. It was only when giving up my life on the move that I acquired better drawing skills. The moving around is either way necessary for me to gather ideas and associations but this can be also achieved with small walks in and around my Dutch village).

IDEAS 07/12 To be more specific I began to train my associative mind following the ancient art of memory technique of combining mental images in order to remember in my case the dreams I have every morning. In this manner I developed an otherwise oppressed side of my mental ability, that of using the brain imaginative potential rather than using written lists or text as taught in the enlightenment inspired school system. The ideas I draw then are powerful and yet bizarre associations and they tend not to repeat themselves. At times however I have a feeling I have already conceived an idea and thus I could be in doubt whether to draw it or not but it is quite formidable the fact how my brain can keep on generating novel associations. Throughout my body of work also different phases can be found. In a first phase many with the sexual association that probably at to do with my upbringing in a sexist society such as that of Northern Italy. Later the drawings started to depict no longer just humans but also other creatures. Then I was certainly affected in my imagination with that of my youngest children with whom I spent my time (Fig. Screenshot showing me on a solitary walk in Berlin suddenly getting an idea upon seen a tank and typing this idea on my mobile. Only at the end of each month these ideas are downloaded from my mobile and store in a document to be later printed).

IDEAS 08/12 This ideas generation is strogly affected by the surrounding environment. For example there are more cars and skyscrapers in the drawings executed while I was living in Shanghai. On the other hand there are more animals and infants in the drawings I executed while living in the mist of the Dutch countryside. What affects the quality of my drawings are in particular the comfort; if I am in my study under the only window of my attic I can well perform but if I have to draw in my small daughter's room waiting for her to fall asleep or while waiting to catch a plane at an airport or in cafe' the quality may not be as good. Also another factor affecting the drawings is whether I have being doing physical labour or not. Usually while for example working in the mountains building the project museum and lifting heavy metal bars and digging the ground my hands get a bit stiff and not as smooth at drawings as when I am for example only staying in the Netherlands mostly doing artistic work like also painting and working on my illustrations. Nonetheless to do good drawings I also need my fair amount of fresh air and some time spent walking otherwise I just might be too nervous and not so willing to seat (Fig. Photo of Elisabetta Basili, a talented artist friend and illustrator checking my drawings as displayed in an exhibition I made in 2016 in my barn in the alps).

IDEAS 09/12 In 2008 I exhibited my drawings in a small Stockhokm gallery and sold some of them for an insignificant price to Bjorn Norberg, an Uppsala based curator and to local artist Mikael Goralski who kept on exhibiting my drawings in the years to come. While living in the United States I temporarily adopted the Letter format and my drawings have been on sale at Caroll and Sons Art Gallery in Boston but none were ever sold. While in Krakow in 2012 I have published small books of my drawings and they were greatly appreciated by young Polish artists there. As I decided to go completely undercover with my project becoming somewhat of an underground mysterious figure I often times thought of anonymously publishing my drawings on social media platforms like Instagram or inform an outsider art gallery to have found these drawings in the attic. I have however never done so, maintaining the poetic of the project as something to stumble upon rather than something to praise. Also many of the drawings can be highly offensive; not only they can be very sexist and offend Western feminists but also can offend people of other races and religions, particularly Islamic people who can retaliate against me or my family as they did to other illustrators (Fig. Picture of the installation I presented at the Uppsala art museum with 12 screen showing the 90 drawings of each month of a year).

IDEAS 10/12 Said this I find it important to maintain a level of irony also as a way to transcend such a strict political correctness causing in my view even more hater among different groups. In this respect I side with Slavoy Zizeck and his consideration that the making fun of one another as it occurred prior to the enforcement of political correctness, was a much healthier attitude. Either way I find myself in the position that I ought to be true to the idea I get without any censorship. Also the fact that I have no audience to share my drawings with let me pursue freely my idea making without unnecessary pretentiousness to suit it as in the case of mainstream artists or anyway artists and creators worried about their reputation and worried about following a certain set of creative guidance. This is the sad case of talented celebrities like Bansky who in order to maintain their reputation need to do work to suit the public opinion commenting on the homeless situation, on refugees and on oppressed folk like Palestinians. In this respect I am much freer and do not settle for one single idea to then try to perfectly execute it like in the sculptural works of Maurizio Cattelan. I simply keep up representing the whole of the imaginable beyond then how society suggests me to go about it (Fig. One of several t-shirts I printed with my drawings. I often thought of going public but soon after always regreted it).

IDEAS 11/12 Only in very rare occasions I throw away a drawing I just made to make it again. This has mostly to do with mistakes I have made such as in most cases the wrong reproduction of a hand depicted with for example the thumb facing outward rather than inward. At times the work can also get stained by a grease surface or a hand lotion I might have applied to my hands. A drawing can also get damaged when I put too much energy in erasing the pencil mark. On one occasion while in a hostel in Berlin I forgot my folder with drawings in the cafeteria and traveled back to Sweden without it. I then tried to get a hold of it via mail but did not succeed to do so and had spend several weeks to redraw all the drawings I had in that folder (Fig. Photo of a drawing as installed by Polish Swedish artist Mikael Goralski. The latter for years have used my early drawings as part of his messy installations. While I would have wanted the drawings to be presented in a more curated fashion Goralski was the only one in Sweden truly engaged in pushing forward my creative mind. I then had a feeling that the protestant Scandinavian milieu did not accept my eclecticism; their iconoclasiticism hindered them to do so allowing either a puritan and minimal approach to art making or a protestant one against power structures).

IDEAS 12/12 In an ideal exhibition I intend to use 432 screens. Each screen will slide-show through the 90 drawings I made in a month. The screens are to be installed chronologically inside the 12 corridors surrounding the main exhibition hall. In each corridor then there will be 36 screens 1 meter apart from one another. In this respect the screens alone become the lighting for the environment. To save on energy consumption the screen's back-light should fully light up only as a visitor approaches. As in modern tablets and touch screen devices visitors will be able to sweep through the drawings with their fingers. The screens are displayed in a row at eye level. In this case the younger audience could be prevented to see the more pornographic drawings. As it would take a person weeks to watch through all the drawings I expect that there could be quite some congestions in the corridors as it occurred when I exhibited the drawings and visitors got quite glued on the screens (Fig. Rendering of the ideal exhibition where 432 screens replaying for 12 minutes the 90 drawings corresponding to each month are red highlighted. Walking through these corridors then no visitor is likely to ever see all the drawings but the actual presentation is rather spontaneous providing however at the end of the itinerary some understanding of what an individual imagination over a life-time might be like).