Thursday, May 2, 2013

Idle Business


“The Idleness of Sisyphus” by Sandro Chia

Italy was home to a new surge of Neo-Expressionist group of artists called the transavanguardia that pervaded painting in the country during the 1970s.  Among the “three Cs” of the movement (Clemente, Chia, and Cucchi), Chia was the one who focused on Neo-Classicism from the 20s and 30s fused with Italian styles and flamboyance. This painting is very interesting for me because it takes a strong stance on society today as compared to ancient Greek mythology.  The work depicts a bureaucrat rolling a boulder up to the top of a mountain.  This parallels the ancient myth of Sisyphus, who was bound to eternally roll a boulder up to the top of a hill, where the boulder would consequently either break or fall down, starting the process all over again.  In this work, the role of Sisyphus is replaced with the bureaucrat.  Most of his style is to place modern everyday subjects in mythological or overblown narratives to poke fun and reduce them to the likeness of fairy tales.  In this, he was rejecting Neo-Classicism, who ironically were rejecting Futurism.  I guess artists just don’t like each other.

Lots of info on the artist’s work:

He has his own website:

More on Transavanguardia:

More on Neo-Classicism:

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