Roberto and Valentina Gramiccia

Barefoot is an original and unusual exhibition. It was named so thanks to the imagination of the person who came up with the idea of giving an empty shoebox to each artist participating in this exhibition. So the idea is that someone without shoes has to walk barefoot. This can be annoying and irritating but if the ground is not too rough (think about a tropical beach) this could also be pleasant and gives one the feeling of freedom and liberty. And so the theme of this exhibition is liberty. Liberty from any type of obligation. Independence of thoughts and actions. A full autonomy or even total subversion when needed and when necessary.

The aim is to demonstrate that starting from the same conditions – all of the artists were given identical shoe boxes – wasn’t meant to discourage each individual choice but to exalt the various potentials. So equality is a presumption of real liberty. In fact in art it really isn’t the same thing having powerful war machines at your disposal to guarantee success (powerful allies, galleries, first class assets, skilful assistants, and above all access to the world of communication and financial power) or just being in possession of nothing apart from one’s own talent and desire to create.

In our own small way we decided to place each artist symbolically on the same level, cancelling any type of advantage. The young and not so young, known and unknown artists, painters and sculptors, installation artists and visual artists. We fully believe that equality is worth fighting for and if equality is missing in life then so too is liberty. Voltaire, Marx, Bakunin, Mazzini, Gramsci and Gobetti (to name but a few) always fought for equality, and if you think about artists and poets could you imagine Rimbaud asking for recommendations or Picasso copying a picture at school?

This exhibition, which several authors have supported with enthusiasm, positions itself well into the wonderful initiatives of the Festa della Perdonanza held in L’Aquila on the 28th and 29th of August 2012, a celebration soaked in themes of traditions, current affairs and above all culture. Independent culture, culture of words, images, music and palate, capable of surviving despite being away from mass distribution. A distribution that has nothing to do with quality because quality can’t sustain the implacable and approved rules of the mass market. The system of art as set up in the last decades in some way rebuilds the dynamics of a monopolistic distribution in a miniature way.

Functioning in this case are not the supermarkets and the orderly buzz of the shopping centres, the ‘non places’ of Marc Augé but a miniature apparatus that controls everything: careers, success, the final drop of the hammer at an auction, reviews in a magazine, the selection of names to invite to the arts festival and so on. In Art there is no mass distribution.

Barefoot positions itself well outside these dynamics, in its simplicity and modesty. But also in a presumption to indicate a possible walk against tendency.

The support of several important artists is a comfort to us and makes this micro-observation of language, tendency and concerns objectively valuable. Inside a room the work of fifty artists will be classified so that a type of poor but also ambitious mapping will indicate what is happening, in an artistic point of view, around our cities and our country. A type of walk around Italy in just one room.