The faces become StraVolti in the Milanese exhibition of the artist from Catanzaro Marcello Sèstito


By John

He quotes Andy Warhol’s famous phrase: «In the future everyone will be famous in the world for 15 minutes», but only to turn it upside down because for him, an exponent of this century of super public exposure, those 15 minutes – indeed much less – are enough «because everyone is ignored, indeed is no longer under control. After all, she adds, “the artist never stays with the imposed rhythms and means of expression, he creates his own”, even faster than real time, which has now become the unit of measurement even for housewives and the elderly who have overcome banality selfie property to aim for the most profitable reels. Marcello Sèstito – artist and architect born in Catanzaro, professor at the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria and working in Milan – started from these principles in his recent exhibition “StraVolti”, hosted in the Mymicrogallery.

It’s about 36 digital works printed on canvas, all of female faces, except that of the late and very famous French critic Pierre Restany, to whom the exhibition was dedicated and with whom Sèstito collaborated. It starts from photographs, selfies and others, to which through the signs obtained from the computer, the connotations are changed, partly in search of new identities and partly to hide from overexposure, to which we all submit by keeping our cell phones perpetually, or almost, in hand. Here, therefore, that the Faces become StraVolti.

Under the chromatic effect, made very interesting by digital brushstrokes that manage to create a completely different visual path from that of the initial images, the author’s testimony-philosophy appears clear, in which the curator Stefania Carrozzini captured «otherness and kaleidoscopic ambiguity» thanks to which Sèstito «throws a human bridge between Narcissus and his reflected image». Interesting observation, but I think it should be underlined how the Calabrian artist “plays” with mobile phone apps to make them become part of the concept of art, to bring them to the role of means and not of protagonists.

In short, they are interesting means of expression, to which digital gives an infinite possibility of results in a few minutes. And the artist can use them in the best way: «Imagine Raphael with all this at his disposal?», he provokes. Here we go back to the challenge of art against time: «The time that we want ever faster and more utilitarian – says Sèstito – is compromised by an acceleration, only two minutes to complete the work». A way to remember that we can go very fast, but also focus on other rhythms: we have the possibility of maintaining human choice, without being overwhelmed by false needs and imposed trends. He, Sèstito, knows how to accelerate his complex activity as an architect dedicated to art, trained with Eugenio Battisti and Franco Purini who called him an “artist-scientist”, as a designer, as editor of magazines and series, as the author of many books ( the last is “The incontinent bridge”, which traces the myth and archetype of the Strait of Messina, which is extremely topical today).

With his “StraVolti” the artist is probably reflected (not necessarily by Narciso); it is as if he put those digital marks on his own face and on those who regret a more dilated time without denying today’s rhythm. Do you want to see that once again it is art that invites us to the right compromise between our most intimate self and the external environment?