Immanuel Kant in the 18th Century and Victor Hugo in the 19th Century already called for the project of the “United States of Europe”. Since the German reunification, the implementation of the Euro and the EU expansions after the end of the cold war, the formation of this alliance seems to be more real. However, a complete political union, with a supranational government, one tax system and a binding common administration of justice as of yet is not in sight. The neo-liberalisation of all areas of life, that simultaneously has been taking place since the 1980s, widens the gap between the rich and the poor and divides Europe deeply. One clear symptom is the uprising of populist parties all over Europe, that use nationalist slogans to position themselves against the European idea.
Since the second half of the 1980s, in his artistic work Luca Vitone engages with the notion of the construction and representation of specific locations and the different modes of expression that define these places in their geographical, political, social, cultural and poetic dimensions. Many of his installations and paintings can also be understood as mental landscapes that were created from locally found remnants of civilisation (dust, waste, food). His “monochromes” are conceptual self-portraits of the places from which they originated.
For EUROPE!, his 5th solo exhibition with the gallery, Luca Vitone has created a series of watercolours made from dust, that represent different European institutions and that are painted with the dust of the respective places. Vitone was sent dust from the premises of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, the European Parliament in Brussels and of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxemburg. He dissolved the different dusts in water to paint the gallery walls with it, as well as large pieces of paper, that were framed with cherry wood and placed on the dusted walls. Vitone’s room-filling installation is minimal and monumental at the same time. Dust is the most trivial element of the testimony of lived life, and – if one thinks about the meaning of the institutions, which it here stems from – lived history. Luca Vitone’s portraits are painted from rock bottom, from the smallest part and in terms of the whole. They don’t show or judge anything. They initiate a perspective within the viewers, that grants them the possibility to envision themselves as witnesses of the presence of history (history as social framework). They create a distance to the events of our history, form which one can perceive oneself as living within this history. That much, not more.