Andy Picci
 
social-media copie.png

 From 2016 to 2018, Andy Picci has taken part in a virtual art performance. He created and impersonated a virtual alter ego on social medias. The performance was pictured by himself and the aim of this project was to analyze the need of staging our life on the internet. 

By creating fake magazine’s covers, fake celebrity selfies, and fake collaborations, his process tried to use social medias as a full art medium. 

The character he created broke boundaries between virtuality and reality as people thought he was putting his whole life on socials, although they didn’t know anything about him simultaneously. This virtual social media experimentation went along with a global social race to success on social media. 

Indeed, those two past years have seen unimaginable things happen, as the rise of an Influencer’s Era. 

 
 

THE FAKE SELFIES

 
 

The Fake Covers

 
 

 THE FAKE COLLABORATIONS

 

The Fake Artworks

 
 
 

ANDY PICCI IS A LIVING WORK OF ART

 “Taking his cue from Guy Debord’s 1967 treatise The Society of the Spectacle – as promulgated by the Situationist International – then simultaneously expanding on and amalgamating their central themes of hyper-consumerism, the visual saturation of the modern metropolis, reproduction, and the notion of the dérive – a drift through urban spaces, as a dandy might engage in: Andy Picci, born in 1989, is a contemporary artist living and working in Paris. A polyglot, he was trained as a graphic designer in Switzerland, and later found his own voice at Central Saint MartIns, where he received his MA. No single medium defines his oeuvre. Yet, while contemporary artists all too often lack the ability to communicate the centralised theme that defines and unifies their work, such a threading theme is evident within the work of Picci. He dissects today’s celebrity-obsessed, envy-driven culture and allows his ideals to lead him to an appropriate medium of expression. “I begin with a goal and main idea, and work backward from there,” Picci explains. 

Digital collage enjoys a heavy presence in his oeuvre: he rehashes ubiquitous imagery both from today and from centuries past, such as Old Master paintings; he also embellishes with acrylics atop ephemeral, modern magazine covers. All his works subtly force their reception upon the viewer – regardless of the medium – in that his output presents familiarity, yet simultaneously evokes confrontation. Look once, and all seems to be in order; keep looking, and questions begin to emerge in the viewer: If one work appropriates another, what was the original work’s purpose? Why was that person on that magazine cover, and what was the image’s original intention? Picci’s biggest claim to fame is being photographed as, and being mistaken for, Pete Doherty. When strolling along the Thames back in 2014, wearing his – that is, Pete’s and Picci’s – trademark wide-brim hat, he suddenly found himself being chased after by London’s paparazzi, who were shouting out to him, “Pete! Pete!”. What was at first an accident of mistaken identity eventually became an artwork in itself. Initially oblivious, Picci soon realized that this confusion between photographer, character, and celebrities could also be manipulated – itself becoming a medium for art. It wasn’t long before he began tipping photogs off with the intention of being “captured” in character. 

On one occasion in 2014, an image of him “in character” as Doherty was sold to the French newspaper Le Parisien, which printed the image on its cover – with accompanying cover lines insinuatingly questioning “Doherty’s” sobriety. By his being mistaken for that celebrity, and being published as such, Picci successfully usurped today’s modern media machine, and ushered the Situationists’ practices into the twenty-first century. “Anyone and everyone can be famous on the internet today,” explains Picci, “though unlike the early 2000s, when to be famesque was a commodity and goal unto itself, there’s now a shift toward a silent, less evidently spectacular culture. Even as we’ve come to expect the situations we inhabit, and our digital experiences, to be meticulously crafted and perfectly presented.” Picci’s work reveals imagery that’s less purposeful today than it was upon its genesis – such as Old Master paintings – but obtains further relevance through its appropriation. The every- day and ordinary, it seems, are being questioned yet again – just as they previously were, at the dawn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Picci forces his viewers to question the systems through which they receive contemporary works of art; in the process, he has successfully updated the seminal trains of thought – as found in books, paintings, and even print – of some of the most influential figures of the recent and more distant past, including Cindy Sherman, Walter Benjamin, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Andy Warhol. Perhaps quite consciously, Picci has himself become famesque. An online image search for Picci delivers a multi-faceted vision of him embracing the lifestyle of a dandy on the edge of, or perhaps even inhabiting, today’s celebrity-driven culture: there he is, seen attending gallery events and fashion parties, and DJing well into the night. Yet as they peruse his online presence, those who view this artist’s sculpted persona shouldn’t forget to consciously apply the same questions as arise when viewing his work: Are we seeing Picci, or a persona he created, or both? Where is the division between the digital and physical in today’s image-oriented, envy-driven culture? Where does the porous border now begin between spectacle and society? Where does it end? Picci encourages such inquisitiveness on the part of viewers – as he literally is a living work of art. “

John Bezold

for platea magazine

 
Portrait Andy - ©Wolf Mike.jpg