The Museum of Contemporary Cuts presents Anatomy of a Dream, a new solo exhibition by Lanfranco Aceti, curated by Artemis Potamianou for Platforms Project, Athens, Greece. This body of new works of art is made of three painting diptychs with acrylic paint on raw linen canvas. One of the diptychs features spent matches embedded in the paint itself. The diptychs are juxtaposed with a sculptural object realized with a shadow box, two photos, burned matches, and ashes.

Anatomy of a Dream is a continued aesthetic exploration by the artist through a conception of contemporary society and its politics as the locus where love, sex, politics, and power intertwine through the concept of the dream, constantly generating both the illusion of love as well as setting the premises for its collapse.

Aceti, talking about this new body of work, explains that it emerges from a very intimate and visceral understanding of the collapse of the dreams of love and social frameworks. The works of art provide a thread to engage with the artist’s analysis of the collapse of the dream that characterizes a love relationship between two people or between people and the nation state.

The artist believes that we have moved on from the assumption that we can still “[…] cultivate an impartial altruism, by asking people to love the nation as a whole, and thus all of its people.” [1]

Contemporary politics and love are on commodified terms in which using and being used is the transactional mythological currency of contemporary existence. Love is no longer the key to personal or societal happiness but the cracked cornerstone upon which reality seeps into opaque dreams and shambolic illusions.

Love can no longer be conceived as “[…] the key not only to the personal happiness of the central characters, but to the happiness of all, of the whole community, as they sing: ‘Let us all rush off  to celebrate’ (‘corriam tutti a festeggiar’).” [2]

With the commodification of relationships there is the inherent impossibility of loving and being loved, the inability to understand the conditions of love based on an illusory understanding of what ideals these love relationships should fulfill. There is no longer the ideal of a sacrifice for love for the existence of the other and thereby the existence of all. It is in this post-postmodern structure of consumption that conflict arises from the reality of the process of appropriation, within which one or both parties betray and are betrayed.

“The personal collapse and the collective collapse are embedded in the choices that the artist has made for the materials,” explains the curator Artemis Potamianou. “Raw linen canvas is a mirror for the raw feelings that people are currently experiencing. Nothing has been left to chance. The captions, the connections between the works of art, the material used, all conjure together to transport the viewer through a personal and political journey of love and betrayal, of sex and power, of personal and social politics.”

Spent, consumed, used up, exhausted, finished, depleted, and burnt out are words that the artist uses to refer to both the works of art and the role that people seem to play in their relationship with the nation state and with each other. Anatomy of a Dream is a post-mortem of the rotten corpse of Hypnos, the god of illusions and dreams, under the harsh light of personal emotional realities and social understandings in order to find a new and different way of overcoming the sense of betrayal. In a contemporary reinterpretation of the words of Mozart we rush off not to celebrate the possibility of love but to grasp the opportunity of repeating, over and over again, acts of consumption and betrayal.

[1] Martha C. Nussbaum, “Teaching Patriotism: Love and Critical Freedom,” University of Chicago Law Review 79 (2012), 213-250.

[2] Martha C. Nussbaum, Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 28.

With thanks to Enia Gallery.

Project Manager: Vasiliki Gkini.


List of artworks

1 Lanfranco Aceti, Cut From the Same Cloth, No. I, 2018. Acrylic on raw canvas with raw feelings, 101×76 cm.

2 Lanfranco Aceti, Cut From the Same Cloth, No. II, 2018. Acrylic on raw canvas with raw feelings, 101×76 cm.

3 Lanfranco Aceti, Hypnos, No. I, 2018. Acrylic on raw canvas with raw feelings, 101x76cm.

4 Lanfranco Aceti, Hypnos, No. II, 2018. Acrylic on raw canvas with raw feelings, 101x76cm.

5 Lanfranco Aceti, Spent, No. I, 2018. Acrylic on raw canvas with raw feelings and spent matches, 101x76cm.

6 Lanfranco Aceti, Spent, No. II, 2018. Acrylic on raw canvas with raw feelings and spent matches, 101x76cm.

7 Lanfranco Aceti, Every Motherfucking Day, 2018. Shadow box, acrylic, two photographs, two pin pricks, spent matches, and ashes, 48x33x7cm.