FEBRUARY 19th - APRIL 21st, 2019
Since the time of early Christian art, symbols had the function of expressing the invisible, representing the transcendental sense of the divine and exposing ideas that had to be understood by contemplating an image.
In the digital era we currently live in, where technology acts as a "divine" extension of ourselves, the spirituality of the symbol is outlined in pictographic characters, used and known by everyone: the emojis. Such symbols have become indispensable signs of our everyday life, these "friendly faces" represent a quick and ironic way to communicate on social networks and express ourselves online.
Recently, a new list of 230 faces was published, where the presence of the so-called "Pinching Hand" stands out. The icon of a hand with thumb and forefinger, which graphically expresses the concept of "small quantity", to allude to our capitalist era.
The Milanese residency Espinasse31 decided to use art, through the works of Olga Lomaka and Urban Solid, to investigate today's relationship between man, social media and money.
In the exhibition "Freedom 2.0 ", on display from February 19th to April 21st, Olga Lomaka combines the spiritual symbols of oriental philosophy with the brand labels and fashion icons of contemporary western and consumerist society. The artist questions the possibility of cohesion of two different approaches to life, offering the viewer the opportunity to re-evaluate today's ideas and values to meditate on the past and present.
Selected as the best contemporary artist by the prestigious Philips auction house in 2017 and defined as "fashion artist" by the Moscow fashion tv channel in 2013, Olga researches the essence of the hidden meaning behind popular images and easily recognizable consumer products: "I see art as the freedom to create a world according to one's desires: not only as a way to capture the beauty of nature or some aspects of the real world, but to make one's fantasy a reality".
The "Artefacts" cycle, presented for the first time in 2016 at the Saatchi Gallery of London, displays "Candy Man" and "Facebook", bas-reliefs where images inspired to Buddhism and Meditation are engraved on wood and "Enriched" by icons representing western brands, logos, fashion industry idols and the inalienable symbols of social networks.
The symbol of modern times is therefore superimposed on the classical and analogical image, integrating its meaning. With the series "At the Bottom of Your Glass", the Russian artist exhibits nine acrylics, where the emotions of inebriated man are depicted through emojis: "I deliberately chose to represent a glass of Martini because alcohol succeeds in unveiling our innermost feelings and in our society, emojis symbolize the most popular and fun way to communicate them". By exposing emotions and playing with the stereotypes, Olga mixes classic symbols and new icons to bringing out the meanings, born of this shocking and provocative cohabitation.
A pop icon dear to the artist and protagonist of the series "Pink Magic", is the Pink Panther. This famous 60s character invites spectators to detach themselves from the pressure of daily routine and to seek the possibility of entering a new hedonistic and sensual dimension through a cut realized on the canvas. Presented in 2018 at the New School of Santa Maria della Misericordia, during the Biennale delle Nazioni di Venezia, "Pink Magic" transforms a traditional "battle of the sexes" into a joyful work enjoyable by both parties.
UrbanSolid, duo of Italian artists known for the creation of the so-called “urban solids” around the world, exhibits sculptures made of bronze, resin, wood and plaster, which analyze the obsessions and manias of men, depicted as a victim of modern capitalism.
Collectors will be able to admire and acquire the "Urban brain", "Urban coin" and "Urban gold" sculptures, specially produced for Espinasse31, which allow for each visitor’s own interpretation and reflection.
Inspired by bitcoin's cryptocurrency, the artistic duo will also present the "urbancoin": symbol of the dependence and obsession of our society, which sees money as a measure of the value of both objects and people: "In this society we run the risk of replacing our affections by banknotes, our lives revolve around money, the fear of losing it and the desire to possess it".
During the vernissage, the artists will be protagonists of a performance called "Money Obsession", arising from reflections on the materialism of the society we live in: "The reason why our works always has a social message behind them is because we believe in urban art as a mean to highlight the reality that surrounds the artist. We like to transpose what we see in the world into a simple and understandable "pop" visual representation.”
The "self rich zone", a site-specific installation that has been created inside the gallery, invites the spectators to take selfies in front of a wall full of "urbancoins"; this installation can be replicated in houses, offices, buildings of the dimensions requested by the client.
Freedom 2.0 is therefore an invitation to reflect on the state of the social and technological reality in which we live and within which we often remain unconsciously trapped.
Olga Lomaka Urbansolid