Author | Giuseppe Virelli 

  • Benetti
  • 4 min read

So far and yet so near

VR60768 is the identification code of a rare Paleolithic artifact, but for the non-expert of archeology this alphanumerical sequence might appear to be a “string”; a digital genetic code that can transmit any number of data like, a program, a piece of music or a movie uploaded to the internet; actually, it could be an entire multimedia encyclopedia where different media meld together into an overwhelming knowledge experience. While on the one hand, this confusion might be caused by an innocent mistake, on the other hand it may have its own raison d’etre. As Silvia Grandi has often rightly pointed out in other occasions, There is a sort of match – or better said – functional identity between the images that echo antique cave drawings that the artist creates and the modern symbols that have invaded our everyday lives (from those that dominate traffic signs to those highly sophisticated icons on computers). Both are made up of minimalist signs that diminish the main characters of this new “reawakening of the contemporary” to mere stylized outlines. Both manage to impress themselves in the memory of observers and elicit immediate reactions. In other words, these super-light and “thin” anthropomorphic figures bring with them a whole series of easily communicated and interpreted signs, comprehensible to all thanks to their perfectly shared iconicity. They can immediately evoke from our experiential database moments and feelings that were only apparently forgotten. 
As in the past, this archaic alphabet still represents an intimate and deep need that humans have always carried within themselves: that is a need to affirm our own existence. Andrea Benetti says, “From the beginning of humanity – even before writing systems were invented – man has felt the need to communicate, to leave his mark in the world” (Manifest of Neo-cave Art). Between the first signs painted by our ancestors on stone and those traced in modern means of communication, the basic concept is one and the same: proclaim one’s existence, declare “I am here”. With this series of works, the artist tries to stimulate and regenerate humans through an energetic dive into the past that is not intended as a simplistic and obtuse regression towards past formulae. He wants to revitalize the present and he points it out with the word “Neo” before Cave Painting. VR60768 is presented as a veritable password that can create a short circuit between past and present, near and far.

Giuseppe Virelli
Professor in the Department of Visual Arts | 
University of Bologna |