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ICOn_Portraits by Carlo Zanni [a.k.a. beta]
about the artist

Relating and researching the trend of new media technologies mutating at high speed / leaving behind the stillness of content / the stillness of analogue looking and experiencing / the major role content used to play in front of a background of technical staging, Carlo Zanni interprets traditional genres like the landscape and the portrait.

Zanni's oil paintings on canvas show the icons and windows looked at on computer desktops every day by nearly everybody. Zanni turns such icons into new 'subjects' of landscape - and in such landscapes the artist finds his contemporary approach to the art form of portraying and such updated versions as email / avatar / ftp login / nickname / or emoticon.

In u _r your c / http://www.e-sm.org / the reflected image of the man on his harddisk was the prevailing idea. 'Show me your harddisk, and I will tell you who you are' Through a metonymic process man identifies himself with his personal 'content' by following his individual psychological dispositions.

In the ICOn_Portraits / http://www.newnewportrait.com / the human figure comes out again. Human features are recalled through simple and clear graphic outlines. The physiognomy of a face is outlined through pixels - the portrait form develops / simplifies / and finally turns into a symbolic and metaphoric form of the sign.

The meaning can always be different. A computer icon is a simple symbol but every 'face' recalls precise action to stay individual. Zanni goes further - he does not find it enough to reduce a portrait to its essential form but researches its role when stepping into co - relation with linking.

The underlying link is interchangeable / changeable / and temporary. The appearance does not coincide anymore with identity, which becomes nomad / elusive / and indefinite. In a recent text Zanni writes: 'The link is a reload of Fontana's cut, it is the third dimension of the word. The word has iconized itself and is loosing its intrinsic and deep value. Not the linked word is important, but the address the word is linked to.' Each time the link gives a different meaning to the linked word, adding a new aspect to its pre - defined horizon of meaning. To images they same sort of development seems to happen.

The ICOn_Portraits are a contemporary version of the traditional genre of portraying. They not only ask for being looked at but are interactive objects - tools to be used / saved on desktop / and linked to folders / software / and web pages. The artist provokes the user to reflect the impact of interactivity by swapping common context from a canvas to the desktop.

This process literally turns around when the artist decides to paint again. In a way forming the completion of Zanni's new media artwork, his big oil paintings on canvas show common computer icons and well known software logos of companies like Napster, Java or Linux. On canvas, the immobility of an oil painting transforms the impact of the icon again, eliminating its basic feature of interactivity and transforming the meaning of its commercial presence by underlining its overall impact through stillness.

Zanni's approaches work. The ICOn_Portraits are links to new cognitive and experimental dimensions.

y.o.p. 2000 / 2001
original text by Valentina Tanni

technical requirements:
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kanonmedia.com, non - profit org for new media, amadeus house, 99_48, mariahilfer st, a-1060 vienna, t: ++43 - 1 - 920 70 03
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