There are two characteristics I find very interesting about Ludovica Gioscia’s work. First, it is very fashionable, which seems almost taboo among artmakers I know. Secondly, given that it’s very fashionable, it blurs the lines between design and art in a way I’m not really used to seeing. I like it very much, but it kind of causes me to worry: wouldn’t this art fail to hold up in decades to come, considering how au courant its palettes and visual devices are? But then, that leads me to think that if I’m suddenly looking at work which makes me uncomfortable in my own definitions of art, then I’m thinking in ways I’m not used to, and that makes for a thoughtful piece of art.
So, let’s look at what I don’t like about the work on the surface. There’s an undercurrent of forced youthfulness, of snark, of shameless hedonistic theft from the past, that annoys me. I’m done with the whole ball-point-pen-drawing-from-the-cover-of-my-Trapper-Keeper thing, I’m done with Ray-Bans. I think the work really should evolve beyond that. But then, in certain pieces, the work begins to show definite clues to its messages involving youth culture, consumerism, and the boundless fake optimism forced upon us by ever-present advertising. There’s something dark underneath some of these works. Its snark has a purpose.
Here’s an easy one: look at the untitled animation from 2003: that clearly shows influence from Longo’s Strong in Love. There’s another piece called Blue Sky—a shattered and reconstructed disco ball reflecting a ball-point pen environment, which seems to talk about reconstructed youthfulness. I love it when artists turn nostalgia in on itself to give it other messages.
Overall, I’m conflicted about Ludovica’s work, but I think the conflict might be more about my own unease—and I like being forced to confront that. It’s smart and sly, and a brilliant combination of art and design that’s not easy to find, but a bittersweet rush when I do find it.