From our partners at Art Practical, today we bring you Mediated Morandi, a project by Will Brown—the moniker of the San Francisco-based collective of Lindsey White, Jordan Stein, and David Kasprzak. This essay was commissioned by guest editor Jonn Herschend as part of Issue 5.5, Slapstick and the Sublime, and originally published on July 10, 2014.
Will Brown is a collective that experiments with various modes of exhibition making while researching and manipulating histories as a part of their practice. After mounting an exhibition of Giorgio Morandi reproductions, Will Brown became acutely aware of how often facsimiles of these paintings appear in various outlets of popular culture—particularly film. Mediated Morandi is an ongoing search for Morandi paintings inserted into film backgrounds, and it investigates how the context of an artwork evolves through various levels of mediation at the hands of multiple authors.
Born in Bologna, Italy, in 1890, Morandi is often considered the greatest master of Natura Morta (still life) in the 20th century. His distinctly subtle paintings depict the modest arrangement of bottles, vases, boxes, and pitchers stripped of all detail except light and color. As the painter’s popularity grew toward the end of his career, his work became synonymous with class, wealth, and refined sensibility.