Marco Battaglini (1969) is an Italian artist born in Verona. He specializes in painting (using mixed techniques), digital retouch and pictorial appropriationism. He has lived in several countries, finally settling down in Costa Rica, where he has been living since 1994. During his early years, he saw his rebellious essence fueled by his family’s mental openness: he was blessed by growing within a freethinking nucleus, his parents found in him an energetic influx that they would not repress but, on the contrary, foment. Hence, while his transmuting spirit started showing a subversive personality, they accepted with wisdom the way his instinct was leading to: it was not necessary to divert a boat that already knew the location of its safe harbor.
At the age of thirteen, he entered the Liceo Artistico di Verona where he finally found his vocation. Here, he focused and channeled the stream of his gifts towards a clearly defined goal. Soon after, he graduated from the Università di Venezia (I.U.A.V.) and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.
He has exhibited his work in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, Colonia, San José, Basel and Dubai, among others.
ARTPOPCLASSIC – an eye-opening recontextualization towards new paradigms
Marco Battaglini’s artistic work creates a pleasant wound in the chronotope. Through an ever-dialoguing play between classical elements and contemporary urban scenes, the Italian artist reveals a “coincidentia oppositorum”, intrinsic aspect of the great myths where the different poles of duality meet, creating a playful space to converse and reinterpret reality. The contrast that is immediately evident reveals the contradictions of modernity, revealing its inconsistencies, commonly narrowed and framed by the mental models that have become profoundly ingrained in the status quo.
Battaglini invites us to rethink ourselves in this global village where the supposed democratization of culture has led to a heterogeneous and inconsistent composé. The dense network that weaves in his self-styled ARTPOPCLASSIC genre does not shield the viewer from alterity; on the contrary, it invites him to confront his reality from a vast dissimilar, ambivalent and, above all, antagonistic point of view. Through recontextualization and appropriationism, opposites are found in new universes, fertile territories for reflection.
A clear message of unity sprouts from his representations. The Italian artist conceptualizes a possible coexistence of the canonical aesthetical ideals and the noise of a sense of urbanity stripped of the polished and the smooth. This opposition elevates the mundane towards the spheres of the divine or brings down the untouchable to the plane of daily life. Both truths merge in an eternal moment of truth where man perceives his own finitude by becoming aware of himself and his role in an ever-changing and evolving scheme. It is impossible to leave these paintings unharmed: the artist removes the barriers that label reality revealing a pleasant uncertainty. Shock is inherent. A deep questioning arises: the ephemeral nature of the digital world is confronted against the erudite baggage that persists in the collective unconscious, even if man remains unaware of its existence.
The easy and immediate access to resources –an inherent by-product of the digital age– results in a significant semiotic evasion. Battaglini’s subjects (usually classical nudes of antiquity) find themselves wrapped by contemporary motifs, graffiti, allusions to Pop Art and today’s hegemonic consumption style. The effect provokes yet also raises a standard of inclusiveness. Spectators of very different backgrounds may be represented in the sea of ambiguity that rises before them. This way, the Veronese constructs an alternate reality from foundations already firmly established in the collective unconscious: he deprives the observer of what is expected in order to place him (or unset him) in the center of recent references of the contemporary. His work borrows making the loan evident. His art is an ironic nod to the known in order to destroy the expected. Facing this instability, several hermeneutic avenues appear. Of these, two impose their relevance: either the superficiality of modernity arises or a collapse of the lineal paradigm of art makes itself evident.
His compositions combine a respect for tradition and a nuance of revolution. Classicism’s sublimity reveals itself for a moment to hide within the realms of everyday life. Battaglini sees art as human being’s extraordinary capacity of transforming preconceived ideas. He understands it as a high mode of communication that exposes the vulnerability of purist structures and patterns. In a world where most sociocultural paradigms have come to a dead end, it is impossible to find an unscathed context to frame reality. Thus, it becomes clear that canons are only collateral effects of the cultural environments that have molded them. Then, any interpretation is the observation of only one of the sides that make up the prism. Therefore, an intelligible message of unity and empathy distills from the work of Marco Battaglini: he attacks the spectator by destroying his own perceptual patterns; then, he generates an infinite spectrum of new possibilities.