Federico Luger Gallery is pleased to host the first solo show in Italy of Belgian artist Michaël Aerts (Dendermonde, 1979).
A night at Playboy Mansion represents an ironic hymn to the current hedonistic decadence governing today’s Western society. It is precisely the explicit reference to one of the symbols of excess par excellence, the princely Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, that expresses the sense of the desire of today’s society that is more and more oriented towards the search for excesses that are difficult to obtain and for this reason are even more desirable. In a planned coherence between the various means of expression Michaël Aerts’ work nevertheless finds its identity in the realm of ambiguity. Especially within his graphic work the austerity of the tones and iconographical references, signs that range from Gothic to Victorian, advertising glamour even, becomes disinhibited in the explicit references to the sexual domain. Elsewhere in his sculpture cycles the artist’s irreverent imagery draws on the lost sense of an ancient monumentality: his dismountable sculptures, made from flight cases, stress the vacuity of power, the instability of empires in continuous mutation, in today’s information society. Austere bases support forms that are kitsch in their gold and silver tones. The obelisk is one of the artist’s favourite forms, but in his work such form completely loses its original meaning, that of an immovable erect body to celebrate places of cult, itself transforming into a migratory sculpture, an object of a desire that is ungraspable, for its instability. Yet there is no nostalgia in Aerts’ work that finds in such particular taste the fasti of a late nineteenth century artistic expression where the spasmodic search for taste represents a resistant barricade against the progressive cultural erosion of our times.