Through wefts of sentimental and arbitrary narratives Alfredo Aceto pursues an intimate fresco where anecdotes and geographies, installations and fetishist photographs meet. In this game where desire instructs the form, investigation, exploration and introspection are mixed to lead to crossed portraits where ghosts and fantasies intertwine.
What has excited the gaze and imagination of Alfredo Aceto to come and observe on tiptoe -behind the railing- the successive houses of the industrial magnate Sergio Marchionne. One in particular caught his attention, that of Blonay in the Vaud hinterland (Switzerland). The house, like the dress, from the religious to the peasants, situates a position, engages a genre, completes an affection. Often, it also conceals, partitions, and organizes land and society. This affluent domain observed in hollow, it is that of the magnate who saved the Fiat group from bankruptcy at the cost of damaged lives and the dismissal of thousands of men. Through it, we perceive a character with a frank masculinity, nourished by the reading of the so-called Chicago Boys economists. The man in the sweater was loved and feared depending on whether he was in the village, the office, or the factory. One can imagine a dark, authoritarian, and unambiguous figure behind a casual demeanor. Alfredo Aceto, placed behind the gate, observes like a voyeur the relics of the place that this ghostly figure occupied. With the help of a drone, he films the remains of a bygone era, that of a roaring industry where we were toasting each other in the exchange rooms, the restaurants with dark wooden walls in which the contracts of the world were signed.
The artist also seizes sweaters that he selects in stores affiliated with the five places occupied by the Marchionne family. Thus, the cities of Geneva, Blonay, Cham, Schindellegi, Flims are symbolized by simple knits with an equivocal softness. Through a telescoping effect, the garment of this Alpine prince finds a new meaning, an afterthought: truths sneak out of the closets. Later, Alfredo Aceto plays with textiles and textures by photographing innocent objects on his Subaru car, feathers, instruments of pleasure or torture bought in bazaars that they impose on the ductile surface of leather clothes. Later still, he photographs laundry rooms, places where the intimate becomes public, where people unfold, soap, dry and fold. Dry cleaning is a psychoanalysis.
Does he seek, by this method, to approach a myth? Certainly, so much the sensuality of the step touches the erotic one, that of a mental and paper creature. Marchionne’s triumphant virility is opposed by the effortless but heroic pose of David’s bronze (1430-1432) by Donatello, another inspiration of the artist. In this crypto-queer sculpture by the Florentine genius, David, the graceful body of a not-quite- completed adolescence, savors his victory over the Philistine giant Goliath. On a divinely proportioned leg rises a feather, ticklish, erectile, it comes to open the mire of a still dumb desire. The natural allure still relaxed by the sensation of this velvet sword, second skin for a moment of ecstasy, reveals this taste for the feverish confrontation of bodies and materials. To hold the limit, the tension between narratives and forms thus reveals this fetishistic and effervescent quest. The bodies are with the barks.
Was this irrepressible taste, this fever caused by the discovery of the concealment of a desire, that of Gustave Courbet’s painting, The Origin of the World (1866)? After a sale to the Ottoman collector Khalil Bey was hidden behind another painting by the master, called The Castle of Blonay. We come back to it. By a confusing game of chance, this castle was the view and the point of escape for Sergio Marchionne, protected behind the walls of his mansion. To escape the scandal or to calm some ardor, the bushy and spread legs of the Origin were covered by a snowy carpet.
Marcel Duchamp, then living in the same vicinity, amused himself by calling Courbet a “faux-con/ falcon” or “faux vagina” in French, attacking the supposed masculine triviality of this painting. It was also on the pages of the local newspaper that the author of Etant donnés (1946-1966), also known as Rrose Sélavy, obsessively drew birds. The hawk, a voyeur and predatory animal that replaces the artist’s drone/look, flies over the town, which becomes its theater of operation. Blonay becomes his territory, his strike zone as well as a matrix of voracious desire and once again the origin of the world.