June 20, 2005

I can't believe this artist.

BBC reports:
An art work purportedly made from excess fat from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sold for $18,000 (£9,862).

Switzerland-based artist Gianni Motti claims to have bought the fat from a clinic where the leader had a liposuction operation performed....

"I came up with the idea of because soap is made of pig fat, and I thought how much more appropriate it would be if people washed their hands using a piece of Berlusconi," Motti told Welwoche magazine.
We're asked to think the artist thought this up entirely independently of the widely known film/book "Fight Club." What do you think that bar of soap in Brad's hand is?

Whoever bought the thing is a fool for buying conceptual art where the concept is already extremely well known from a previously existing art work.


Dave said...

I'm confused. What's the soap reference in Fight Club? I saw the movie when it was in theaters, but don't really remember anything about soap...?

Alcibiades said...

It made me think of the Holocaust and the Nazis making soap from the Jews. That's the only reference I know to making soap from humans. I never watched Fight Club all the way through.

I couldn't imagine buying it. I thought it was utterly gross.

Ann Althouse said...

(Spoiler alert) In "Fight Club," they steal bags of human fat from a liposuction clinic and manufacture it into soap. The posters for the movie and the cover of the book feature a bar of soap.

Ann Althouse said...

A reader emails:

"Some of us were trying to eat lunch around here.

"It does open up new vistas in art authentication, though, doesn't it? I mean, is that echt Berlusconi, or fake Berlusconi? Enquiring buyers (assuming that there's, y'know, more than zero) will want evidence. DNA for a start. And then, er, provenance."

I assume it's fake. Why go to the trouble to make it real, which would probably subject the clinic to some sort of legal reprisals? It's just conceptual art. Like that artist that displays closed cans labeled as if they contained bodily fluids. What difference does it make what's actually in them? It's all in the idea, isn't it? In this case, however, it's such an unoriginal idea, that it's bad conceptual art.

Dave said...

I have no recollection of that plot point (the soap...)

I'll have to rent the movie again. It's been a while since I saw it.

Shane said...

I was always disappointed in the "gimmick" of Fight Club's story, because so many people missed out on everything else the book/film was saying. People not remembering the soap thing is but one example.

As far as this particular piece of art goes, it really is so unoriginal that I'm surprised at the attention it's gotten. I'd be more impressed if it were purported to be made from Jared Fogel's fat.

lindsey said...

"Narrator: [about the soap] Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them."

The soap always struck me as a pretty big plot point.

Dave said...

A note in my own defense: When I saw Fight Club, I was in college, and, doing what college students are wont to do, I got nicely soused before going to the movie.

Ergo, I was focused on other things while watching it.

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