M'HORO'

M'HORO'

  M'horó, beyond the unknown. Another artist who wants to remain non-anonymous, because he has given himself a name, M'horó, but unknown outside the name adopted. We are getting used to it by now. This is how the clandestine and outlawed artists began, the street artists who used to be mainly writers and are nowadays less and less so, at first unknown out of necessity, wanting to escape the criminal consequences of their undertakings, now, if we were to think of the most striking case, that of Banksy, for reasons that at least in part must go beyond the original ones, (Come to think of it, all we know of Banksy is his brand, a trademark that is clearly identifiable due to a certain uniformity of method, technique, form and ideology, under which, however, a number of artists could be concealed, capable of acting independently of each other). It is not only art that has unknowns, as they exist, for example, in literature as well, and certainly not just in the present day. A sensation was recently caused by the recognition of the identity of the most successful Italian writer, Umberto Eco, who died abroad, the fictitious Elena Ferrante, behind whom is hidden Anita Raja, discovered through the tracking of royalty receipts concerning her alter ego. I believe that wanting to be an unknown artist, apart from the previously mentioned cases, aims at satisfying two basic needs. On the one hand, to attach particular importance to freedom of action, making one's confidentiality an instrument to increase it as much as possible. On the other hand, and this seems to me a more intriguing aspect, to exalt to the utmost the centrality of the work within one's own artistic proposal, reducing the author's role, as Gilles Deleuze put it, to a simple function. The Romantic mentality, which is all but disappearing from the planet, despite its two centuries of life behind it, has accustomed us to seeing in the work, as a devotee of the individualist myth of genius, the sign of a precise personality, of a life, a mind, an inner substance. This has led, in its degeneration, which has been dominant over the last hundred and twenty years at least, to shift the entire centre of attention towards the artist, who is encouraged to develop his egotism in a self-referential sense, of which the work becomes his manifestation. More succinctly than Deleuze, it was Dino Risi who declared, perhaps better than anyone else, how unbearable, at a certain point in our era, the work of art has become as a form of authorial narcissism; "when I see a work by Nanni Moretti," he once said, "I always think: move over and let me see the film. Here, M'horó has decided to step aside, and to show us what he has created as if whoever was hiding behind that label were not an integral part of it, asking us, therefore, to judge it in its value as an autonomous and self-sufficient expression, free from any constraint of biography. We do not have to worry, with M'horó's works, about who is behind them, where they come from and what goes through their heads, all information which, for most contemporary authors, one would gladly do without, in the awareness, difficult to reconcile with romantic ideology but easily verifiable in the pragmatics of art of all times, that great works can also be generated by personalities who are not at all out of the ordinary, sometimes even worse than average, capable only of expressing themselves in a way that has the merit of arousing special interest in others. No, with M'Horo' you only have to see what is in front of you, full stop: it is an act of great intellectual frankness, which renounces the easy protection of art pour l'artiste and passes the ball to those on the other side of the game, recognising their primary, inescapable role, the one that in the long run ends up determining the critical values of reference. For this reason alone, M'horó deserves the utmost respect. Then there is the equally honest artistic proposal. In its conception, it does not claim absolute primogenies, referring to precise historical precedents (just to clarify ideas, not Duchamp's ready-made urinal, but the remade of his bicycle wheel grafted onto the stool, as well as Ray's iron with nails, or Picasso's handlebars and bicycle saddle, joined together like a bucrano); not so much historical Dada as the reinterpretation that Nouveau Réalisme made of it with César's voitures compresses, for example, sculptures that take note of industrial materiality by expressively reworking the processes of scrapping, producing a form of Junk Art which is parallel to what Robert Rauschenberg had done, but in a decidedly more pictorial way), but which also claims to be considered for the validity of the solutions devised, as original variants of a discourse which, it is believed, has not ceased to exert positive repercussions today. Of course, this is not a mere re-proposal, but it must be acknowledged that time has passed since César's Compressions, and what was then a way of fully keeping up with the contemporary world, albeit not in a supine manner, expressing, indeed, a critical attitude towards one of its most characteristic aspects, consumer civilisation, in M'horó's Junk Art takes on the character almost of an industrial archaeology, It targets radial elements and coils that are probably destined to be discontinued soon, surpassed by other more technologically advanced ones, which are subjected to a prevalent operation, deformation by torsion, stretching or perforation, as if to inflict regenerative torture on the unfortunate victims, a little like certain martyred saints who came out of their torture renewed and spiritually edified. And if fifty years ago, in the artistic sphere, the recycling of waste could be considered little more than a provocative shock, today it inevitably takes on a different connotation, matured in the meantime in the shadow of ecological concerns, making artistic creation not only an act of an aesthetic nature, but also a moral one. In other words, beauty aspires once again to the good, the pleasure of the eyes, of touch, of the mind, which is also at the service of what is socially useful. Vittorio Sgarbi

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