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With the prudence the reading of any artwork would require, in particular when the artwork is contemporary to you, today we attempt to reply to the basic question asked by the introductory text of Ilja Karilampi’s solo exhibition currently at The Suzanne Geiss Company, that is: to whom do these symbols coming from pop icons and logos belong?
As someone has named object-based art the baroque period of “ready made”, and as someone else at a certain point has introduced the label of process-based art to describe the essence of those artworks whose meaning could not be properly understood without knowing what was carried out to produce them, a few months ago we introduced the info-based art category to underline the importance of specific info for a certain kind of art.
Iconology is, of course, the background of the info-based art, and some clear samples of this kind of approach could be spotted nowadays in the practice of emerging artist as, for instance, Timur Si-Qin, Katja Novitskova and Ed Fornieles, or in the practice of Cory Arcangel, or even in that of a master of the last century, like Alighiero Boetti.
By focusing the attention on the importance of the info related to the artwork, it should be easier to grasp the quality of Karilampi’s artworks such as the Hendrix’s Incident (2013), and to fully comprehend the value of putting in relation Le Corbusier and Dr. Dre, as he has done in occasion of The Chief Architect of Gangsta Rap, 2009. It would also be easier to approach “The hunter in the armchair”, the autobiographical novel Karilampi wrote in 2012 and that it turned out to be the must read for anybody who is interested in the understanding of the artist’s assertive poetic.
Now, the answer regarding the symbols comes easily too, and goes straight into the direction the mentioned introductory text indicates. Far from being universal, or ecumenical, these symbols will belong to the artworks themselves until the specific link between form and information produced by the artist becomes recognizable by the beholder as the essence of the work; that is to say until he is able to share with the artist the culture he, the artist, is carefully and personally shaping for him, the beholder. And this is possibly the core of the matter. What is going to happen when Dr. Dre or Jimi Hendrix, or if the many brands Krilampi manipulates and that appears here and there on his artworks as symbols of certain aspects of the society he is living in, or also if the artist’s presence on the social networks won’t be recognizable anymore? Is the info-based art a way to perpetuate, in the name of beauty, a certain, otherwise ephemeral, beautiful aggregation of info?