Tonje Thilesen was born in 1991 in Oslo, Norway, later moved to Berlin and now looks at the world through his camera from Brooklyn, New York. The change of landscape he has seen throughout his life is a key to his shots, and to the variety of subjects immortalised. The city as seen through Thilesen’s eyes is populated by animals, which almost always seem to be free and uncatchable, but there is also a study of the human figure, its plasticity and its movements in physical space. The light reaches the subjects either uniformly or through defined beams, the same beams that can filter through trees or between buildings.
Tonje Thilesen’s subjects very often seem to almost glow, there are small flashes that create points of light, like those by which we might be dazzled in front of an expanse of snow for example. Close-ups are one of the photographer’s favourite cuts, this is because his approach to photography was born out of the need to analyse reality, to study it during his years in Norway and then more consistently in Germany, when Tonje followed the protagonists of the city’s music scene.
Two workers chat during their break time, eating candy. So begins visual artistFrancesco Meloni‘s (1973) imaginative tale that inspires the birth of his sculpture series entitled Cils. This brief intro already provides visual cues: the construction site and candy, two elements placed in relation in Meloni’s sculptures. More precisely, the viewer is confronted with concrete blocks made eccentric through the inclusion of elements such as colored acrylic furs and feathers, in addition to the various geometric textures that adorn the rough blocks. In this way, the imaginations of the two workers, intent on dreaming of the luxurious lives of the future owners of the skyscrapers they themselves are building, are translated into sculpture.
The artistic-philosophical training of Francesco Meloni, a multifaceted artist active between Cagliari and Milan, is reflected in his research, focused on the relationship between human and nature and between human beings. The use of architectural metaphors, and in particular the reference to the construction site, have the function of investigating the dynamics of class and exploitation. The distinctive element of Francesco Meloni’s works is concrete, which, as the artist says, “is the most suitable material to represent the rift between man and nature and the exploitation of man on man.” Cis series consists of different types of concrete blocks, called “Blocks,” which take on different shapes and characters depending on the elements the artist combines. Some are covered with tiles, alluding to a home environment, others feature silk-screen printing that refers instead to street art and city walls, and still others involve the use of ashlar slabs, so as to create surface ornaments. An interesting and ambiguous detail is the iron rods sticking out of the blocks; Francesco covers them with color, transforming them into what appear to be candy canes or straws. The colorful and fun aesthetic of his sculptures allows the artist to address relevant social issues in a light-hearted way, striking viewers with bright colors and eccentric shapes. Francesco Meloni’s works will also be featured at (Un)fair, the young Milanese art fair that can be visited from March 3 to 5, 2023 at Superstudio Maxi.
As in a karmic cycle, everything comes back in the illustrations of Jeremyville, an American illustrator, designer, cartoonist and painter. Indeed, in his narrative works it always seems to come down to a restoration of order and serenity. In general, Jeremyville’s illustrations communicate a positive and hopeful message. For example, in the illustration NO WORRIES a man is walking through the door of the future but his large backpack of worries is too big and does not allow him to pass. The man leaves the backpack on the ground, which melts as he passes. With four simple sequences, Jeremyville illustrates one of our generation’s greatest social anxieties – the future – while conveying hope to the audience. In many of his illustrations, the theme of love and couples is present, always with positive implications. Examples are some of the works currently on display at the Patricia Armocida Gallery in Milan that depict convivial moments of couples or more abstract images. In one of these, the faces of a man and a woman can be seen merging into a single circle, becoming a large sun that gives off light, and in the lower right-hand corner reads one of the many sweet messages the artist sends to his audience: “this moment with you.”
When in 1961 the artist Piero Manzoni made 90 cans similar to those used for tinned meat and applied the label ‘Merda d’Artista’ to them, the art world was invested by Manzoni’s subversive wave. In sixty years, the art system has changed and so has the expressive power of works, new virtual worlds have even sprung up in which art can live and it is there that artist Fè (Federica Sutti) has chosen to realise her own homage to the original work, with an NFT called ‘Crypto Merda d’Artista‘.
The artist has brought the work into digital, taking up its main elements, such as the packaging and label. The new work consists of a 25-second video loop that also cites the previous work in its choice of sales methods. Artist’s Crypto Shit’ will in fact be released on the NFT artwork circuit on 29 May, with a drop starting at 12 noon. Fè will give more information in the coming weeks, but another point of contact with Manzoni’s work is the price. In fact, at the time, the artist sold the cans (30g in weight) at the current price of pure gold, and Federica Sutti will make her own 30MB version available at the equivalent value of 30 grams of gold in crypto currencies.
There are those who don’t believe in them at all and those who invest a lot in. We are talking about Non Fungible Tokens, digital artworks with a steadily growing market and for which revenues of $3,546 million are expected in 2023. Many of the collectors choose to remain anonymous to provide security and avoid attacks by hackers. Anonymous and faceless is also NFT’s biggest collector, who on social media refers to himself as the “grand patron” of the digital Renaissance. He is Cozomo de’ Medici, who chooses this pseudonym comparing himself to the Florentine banker and patron of Renaissance art, because just like him he stands as a supporter of artistic projects, in this case related to blockchain. There was a lot of speculation about his identity, for a time it was thought he might be rapper Snoop Dog, a big fan of NFT, who after a tweet – later denied – declared, “I’m Cozomo de’ Medici.”
Cozomo de’ Medici began his collection by purchasing in July 2021 for 1550 ETH – at the time the equivalent of $2.63 million – two CryptoPunk Zombies, works by developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson and among the most coveted NFT series among collectors. Other big names in crypto art such as Sam Spratt, Deejay Motion and XCOPY stand out in the collection. In addition to the best known, Cozomo also owns works by emerging artists, he told a Christie’s interview, “I think the definition of patronage is to buy art that you love. Patrons have a responsibility to promote emerging artists.” The relationship between artists and buyers in the NFT market is central. If artists are the first to buy works, it is easier to break the barrier of mistrust that accompanies many crypto art-related projects, which suffers from a disvalue bias compared to more traditional, gallery and fair art. With this in mind, a collector like Cozomo de’ Medici is no longer just a figure to talk about from a speculative point of view, but in effect reflects a new trend in art, a new patronage of digital art.
These days, it is Cozomo de’ Medici’s collection that has come into the spotlight because of the collector’s conspicuous donation of NFT works to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Prominent among the twenty-two donated works are female-themed works by Yam Karkai, a photograph by Justin Aversano, one of Dmitri Cherniak’s Ringers, and CryptoPunk #3831. The “on-chain art influencer” (as he has also been called because of his social following) thus bridges the gap between digital and physical art at the museum, now in possession of 37 NFT works, while at the same time inspiring it to create new ways to preserve and exhibit digital works. Cozomo de’ Medici is not the only one to have donated pieces from its collection to museum institutions; in fact, recently the company Yuga Labs also donated a CryptoPunk to the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Museums themselves are taking in and purchasing NFT works, creating a permanent digital collection. In addition to LACMA and the Pompidou, Miami’s ICA and San Francisco’s MoMA are also joining this new trend, which is needed to preserve, promote and disseminate a 360-degree understanding of 21st century contemporary art.