Today I caught the last day of Timestory, the exhibition of Lorenzo Petrantoni‘s graphic work at the gallery of Credito Valtellinese in Milan.
The artist was present. I complimented him on the exhibition and had a brief chat with him. We talked about his visual sources such as 19th-century books, and I remarked that Max Ernst too made collages out of old old illustration books.
“But you scan everything and then do the work on the computer, right?”
“No, I actually cut up everything with scissors and do the work by hand. I use the computer only at the end, for finishing.”
“Oh, I had no idea. I thought graphic artists were completely digital by now. See how misinformed I am.”
“And what do you do?”
“Well, I do Internet stuff.”
“The Internet? That’s a world I know nothing about”.
“Nothing? That’s too bad. For example, I’m sure you could buy a lot of old illustrated books for cheap on eBay.”
“eBay? Not sure… But there’s one thing I do I do on the Internet: I buy old books on AbeBooks. After all, I couldn’t very well travel each time to buy them.”
“You see? That’s great. And this here on the tripod is your camera?”
“Yes, I am documenting everything. It is the last day of the show. Kind of sorry to dismantle it.”
“Well yeah, that makes sense. How long did it take you to put up the Timestory on the big wall? You must have had assistants helping you out, right?”
“Yes, there were three of us. But still, it’s 22,000 small pieces of paper, so it took us about ten days. And the exhibition is only one month. The PR did not work out too well. Too bad. Just as it was picking up, people were starting to come…”
“Well, that’s right. I only came myself because my friend Serena tweeted about it yesterday.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Well then. Nice meeting you. Well done, again.”
“Thanks. Nice meeting you, too.”
One wonders, if this charming man had had a thousand Facebook fans, or a hundred Twitter followers, and they had liked and retweeted the news of the exhibition, and their friends and followers had liked it and so on… the exhibition would have been packed on day one (entry was free, too). But he’s just not into it (except for buying the books).
Below: Une Semaine de Bonté, the cover of Max Ernst’s collage book. Two works by Ashley Bickerton. An umbrella by Marcel Wanders.