• ABNER PREIS
  • 25.04 
  •  

The first story I ever wrote was on a train going from Rome to Santa Margherita Ligure. It was during my studies, and I was going to visit a friend. I remember looking at a magazine. There was a picture of Carla Bruni, the model/singer/actress wife of the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. In the photo in the magazine, she was holding a little African baby. The article was about her going to help orphaned African children for an afternoon. She didn’t really seem to be enjoying herself, half smiling and un-interested. The child seemed unaware and distracted. It was a perfect picture that clearly represented something funny and tragic.  

 

The story I wrote was called “Shirley Templeton”. It is about the ups and downs of a girl who had come from a poor family, was discovered and became a famous model. Then tragedy hits, her first real love (80 years her senior) dies, and his family fights for the will and testament. Several months later, her new boyfriend, the soccer star Pepe Cazzotti, gets caught in bed with 3 transvestites, her sister gets pregnant at the age of 13, she gets caught doing drugs, falls out of grace and loses her sponsors. Next, she decides to clean up, and after rehab, she comes back, born again as a role model. She goes to Africa to help orphans, solves the North and South Korea issues, gets married and lives happily ever after. 

The focus of my art, and its point of departure, is rooted in my aspiration to give people hope in situations that seem hopeless. It is about the ability to laugh at sadness, and the heart to see beauty in a bleak object. All of my stories are presented with a child like naiveté, and they are always filled with irony and humor. 

The path I choose for expressing this humor, beauty, and hope is not a direct one. It is a trip that deviates from the main punch line, and it is usually presented by combining different formats, objects, mediums, alter egos, and situations in the form of video, installation or performance piece. Usually, the audience becomes a part of the story – sometimes if they want to or not.

 

My stories speak of politics and the media, about the rich and poor, they are universal and bring forth understanding. They always start as oral representations, and a self-imposed constraint is that they must always end in a happy ending. To me, the happy ending is a tool, which is frowned upon in the art world and many intellectualized cultures, but I believe that people have the power to understand the funny things I tell and reflect on the cultural references and absurdities in their own way.