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Friday, September 04, 2009

A solo show at the Berkeley Art Museum (inaugural show NetArtPortal)




The inaugural presentation of the BAM/PFA NetArt portal features work by young Greek-Italian artist Angelo Plessas. In a series of four related “mini-sites,” Plessas offers his whimsical and nuanced critique of the society of spectacle, appearance, and commodity. These works are like small derailments or turnabouts that disrupt the dominant glitz blitz via the Internet. In Plessas’s work, the viewer may quietly spend time balancing balls on a scale or styling the hair of a silhouetted woman. The purposeful and limited interactivity of these hypnotic works alludes to no goal, no score, no mastery to attain; it functions like electronic prayer beads instead of a virtual joystick.

Though wryly critical, these works are anything but dystopic. They do not propose a retreat from contemporary media and society into neo-Luddism or the romantic myth of the artist. Nor, in their quiescence, do they lull one into a state of numbed passivity. Rather, these works create a situation that allows one to hear one’s own senses and to ask, “What am I doing, right here, right now?” This series exhibits a highly personal touch and a sense of transcendent play. Describing another group of works by Plessas, an ArtDaily critic wrote: “alternating between funny and poignant, (Plessas’s works) reflect the abstract emotions often experienced in electronic communication and everyday misunderstandings. Works such as (2004) . . . owe as much to text emoticons as to Paul Klee’s naïve and complex emotional spirituality.”

Richard Rinehart
Digital Media Director & Adjunct Curator

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