“But they don't know about your stress-filled day
Baby on the way, mad bills to pay
That's why you drink Tanqueray, so you can reminisce
And wish you wasn't living so devilish, shit.”
The Notorious B.I.G.: Everyday struggle
The exhibition of Italian artist, curator and organiser operating also under the label 63rd-77th STEPS, opens up the theme of social origin in a resolute, but an undogmatic way. Abstracted from cheap decorations typical for Southern Italy‘s lower classes, and often related to rituals dividing life between everyday misery and times of celebration, this iconography constitutes traditional gender and family roles, duties as well as vanishing privileges. Santacroce’s installation is an aestheticizing portrait, both critical and empathetic, underlining a certain sense of sentimentality and vulnerability, but always escaping romanticisation. Santacroce’s work is filled with working-class ethos but also a certain courteous nihilism.
The core of the exhibition “If The Poor Stopped Reproducing, the Rich Would Create Them Artificially” consists of a series of red-black&white videos. Their visual part is made by cheap pictogram-like gif’s, that Santacroce downloaded from the internet photo-banks, post-produced and uploaded on his Youtube channel. Simultaneously playing hit music videos and popular cover versions in another browser window, he recorded the result with his mobile phone, adjusting the synchronisation of the sound and image in a manual analogue-like way. In this rather primitive manner, an idiosyncratic grainy lo-fi aesthetics appeared, partially a happy disco vibe, partially freezing existential crisis. Santacroce mentions that he wanted to create the exhibition at FUTURA as if his own family decorated the space for his celebrated arrival. Some of the videos are presented on cheap tablets wrapped as the Italian working classes do for their birthday, baptism, marriage and other ritual celebration in a large cellophane resembling a huge candy. Rattan decorations: fishes, bells, hearts in a natural, but also imported and standardised design gather and ironic compositions, little plastic fences, soccer balls, and other trinkets complete the overall happy impression of the deep everyday anguish. As Santacroce adds, it is not the simple high and low artistic play, but the real and authentic horror in the fight for everyday material survival. The deconstruction of the mass spectacle supplied as the drug for forgetting.