beyond cultural appropriation

it has to happen: the appreciation for an object of art transcends the cultural appropriation that has come before the object is first seen. in this case, a tomb’s artwork for the Famiglia Appiani at Staglieno (in Genova) has become famous through the use of a photograph by French photographer Bernard Pierre Wolff in Joy Division‘s second album Closer. like the point of view expressed in The Vanity of Grief, this particular work, at first glance, has to overcome the Vanity of Grief context, and that of the history for a beloved album. yet, the power of this artwork is that it quickly makes those two contexts vanish: there is so much immersion into this work’s layers, that preconceptions were vanished ever so quickly. apparent on the first visit (in May), and fully obvious on a recent second visit, is the many ways that, despite its testament to a Christian presentation, the work catapults away from this context and works from any point of view. for example, it is simple to ignore the two auras, and consider the four women as the same person in stages of grief: disbelief, acceptance, sorrow, and sufferance— for example. personally, the appreciation of an artwork has to transcend the artist’s (or customer’s) intent, and in this case, beyond the cultural appropriation and/or the modern view of elaborate tombstones. this one, personally, is the magnum opus of such work.

 

snapseed-3
via Instagram: A.Touching.Display

 

links:
B.P. Wolff’s obituary [ NYTimes ]
Vanity of Grief account on Instagram [ A Touching Display ]

at Staglieno

unlike the Vanity of Grief that envelops all of Monumentale in Milano, the vanity at Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno is quite contained. in this sense, Milano‘s Monumentale offers an edge over Genova‘s. this is because the significant statues are confined to the building in Staglieno, with “regular” headstones graveyards dominating the field. in some ways. this is a good situation because there is no need to compete between the two, and the experiences were complementary. strangely, the best works at Staglieno were those used on the cover artwork for Joy Division‘s releases**. I was hoping that they were chosen for their design goal, rather than being the most exemplary statues at cemeteries yet seen.

[ link ] another video from Staglieno [ on Instagram ]

{** there is a sense that, exposure to the work via a covert artwork, and the music contained therein, would make it the favorite one. however, this is not the case. the Appiani family grave statue is quite magnificent, working at many layers as photographs and paintings can affect one at a museum. }