Before he became an adult, Alfredo Aceto was an artist. Or better said: before he became an artist, he was an artist. Was he then aware that some of his earlier gestures would become the cornerstone of his later work? Or that, consciously or not, he was building a myth in which he was the main character, where he could evolve alongside all the popular and mythological figures he since has been obsessed with?
Between the age of 14 and 19 Aceto spent a great amount of time visiting, thinking and representing the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, which was entirely evacuated after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. This fruitful obsession resulted with the accumulation of 2500 paintings that the artist now wants to dissociate from his current work. In the theatre where his self-mythologization is being played, Aceto first started with the background, a dystopian town with strong aesthetic appeal. Then came Godzilla, a pop culture icon and childhood hero, whose roar he recreated after researching its acoustic components through interviews and numerous listening sessions. Somewhere between a straight appropriation and re-interpretation, this in turn became the soundtrack he sometimes plays in his exhibitions. In a stream of intuitive analogies, Aceto’s dramaturgy builds up with free associations and cumulative (self-) referencing. In the final scene of Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971), when the monstrous truck that has been chasing David Mann is finally defeated, it howls Godzilla’s dramatic roar while falling over the cliff to its death. In a conversation, the artist once argued that in order to render Duel’s evil truck more threatening, it was covered with tar, a material he then used to coat a modular office desk in Bulb (2017). Adding to his elliptical system of references, this work refers to the “tarring and feathering” of Renaissance mobs and outlaws in an effort to publicly humiliate them. Bird feathers are similarly scattered on Aceto's desk, giving it a strange anthropomorphic quality, while creating another allusion to the figure of the monster, a leitmotiv in his work. In Zephyrus (2017), the artist directly quotes Walter Benjamin’s On the Concept of History (1940), in which the German philosopher reports that during the Paris Commune, revolutionaries would shoot clock-towers in a symbolic attempt to stop time. As if celebrating his own victory and iconoclasm, the artist shot the iconic Momento 11 clock, that Aldo Rossi designed for Alessi in 2005 and hung it at eye level in the exhibition space.