For the past few months, Batman and Superman have been getting cozy in West Hollywood Park. The two iconic superheroes, cast in white fiberglass and sitting pretty outside of the Pacific Design Center, are posed for Modern Heroes, a sculpture by Italian artist Mauro Perucchetti. The piece reflects Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel and voices Perucchetti’s support for marriage equality. This week, it will be joined in the park by Michelangelo 2020: A Tribute to Women, another white fiberglass sculpture that reimagines the famous David as a woman. On September 10, Perucchetti’s critique of Western culture continues with the opening of his new exhibition, Pop Fiction, at De Re Gallery. The show, which will run until October 10, features a fusion of pop art and minimalist aesthetics in an effort to inspire people to consider global issues. We recently caught up with Perucchetti to discuss the inspiration behind his latest work.
This is your first solo show in Los Angeles. How did that shape your approach to the pieces we’ll see at Pop Fiction?
I previously had a show, Don’t Mess With the U.S., which was admittedly a tad on the “serious” side. Quite a few pieces were very political. I am not suggesting the current choice has been “diluted,” but it is definitely a little more lighthearted. De Re Gallery was understandably keen to show a variety of my work to better introduce me to their L.A. public rather than showing something very focused. That can be done at a later date.
What was your inspiration for this exhibition? Is there a particular message you’re trying to convey?
With my work, I always prefer to make people think rather than shoving a concept down their throats. And I truly have a passion for aesthetics. I always prefer an artwork to draw the viewer in first with its beauty rather than with its lack of it. Then, hopefully, the time one spends absorbing the less obvious content becomes a less strenuous experience. All of the artworks have their story rather than the sum of them carrying “the message.” The title of the show is in keeping with the fact that most art carries a bit of fiction, and some of the most pressing issues in our society do as well. Things are never quite as straightforward as we might like them to be, sometimes by design. There is only one Hollywood, and Pop Fiction, in my eyes, fits the bill.
Is there a piece you’re most looking forward to showing?
I am looking forward to showing Monument to the Dollar. I particularly like this piece, and I have never shown it before. This is the perfect occasion. The dollar has been interpreted and revisited by possibly more artists than a man on a horse. I have carved the dollar out of a slab of marble as my celebration of the most famous and powerful currency in the world. I really think I have nailed it and, with a touch of arrogance, I think it’s iconic.
Modern Heroes, your public installation in West Hollywood, demonstrates your penchant for social commentary and use of Pop aesthetics. Is it telling of what people can expect from the Pop Fiction exhibition?
When my wife, Lorena, who works as my PR director, approached the City of West Hollywood, we found that they embraced the work with great enthusiasm. Modern Heroes is now going to be joined by [Michelangelo 2020: A Tribute to Women], and the feedback we have received since the first installation has been very heartwarming due to public interest. It seems that both Lorena and the City of West Hollywood were right, and the tale definitely continues in Pop Fiction.
All photographs by Nick Parson.