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  • Date
    14 JUNE 2023
    Author
    VITTORIA MARTINOTTI
    Image by
    TWEE WHISTLER
    Categories
    Interviews

    The Art of Obsession: Exploring Fandom and Celebrity Culture with Twee Whistler



    Twee Whistler is an Italian artist whose work examines fan art's economic and ontological position in relation to original productions and explores the thin line separating fandom from celebrities. Obsessed with artist Jon Rafman, she crossed the blurred line between fiction and reality by incorporating the Canadian artist in her work. In 2018 she debuted online on Art Contemporary Club with the exhibition “I only hope to fall asleep before I fall apart” and was included in “CHAIN LETTER”, a collective exhibition at Hutt Collective, Nottingham. She lives and works in Milan. Find out more about Twee Whistler’s practice in the interview below ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ




    Your work now mostly deals with technology and net art, however, you have an educational background in Painting, from a secular and let’s say “traditional” institution, what drew you to the digital realm? Did your education have some sort of impact towards this transition or not at all?

    My degree in painting could be translated into a degree in visual culture. Lessons by my teachers would mostly consist of collective crit sessions, where a student would bring their work and get criticized by their peers. It's something I'm truly thankful for and that consistently shaped the way I see, decipher and relate to artworks.

    Most of the people that follow you know that you mainly work with themes revolving around internet subcultures and their fetishes, most precisely the intersection of fandom and celebrity culture concerning original productions of fan art, can you please expand a little on your research? Which theories or real-life events motivated your study and led you to the investigation of these aspects?

    I've always been attracted to art sub-productions, I find them pathetically honest, as

    opposed to corporate ideals of efficiency, self-making or optimization.

    Furthermore, the fandom phenomenon reveals double standards in gender policies, in

    the economy (the value of the original vs the copy), in politics (individual vs corporate

    rights) and so on.

    Undoubtedly, the Justin Bieber fever in the 2010s left an indelible mark on me, that made me dig more into relational aesthetics and in my own loneliness 🧸



    You have a slight obsession with the artist Jon Rafman, which I totally get by the way, and you’re often asked about it. I would like instead to ask you if his art and his practice had an impact on your personal work and if you could share with us if you have any other “idols” let’s say or mentors that you look up to besides him.

    I don't feel the same sense of connection with any other artists besides Jon.

    He's like a voice in my head, sometimes reassuring, sometimes critical of my choices;

    overall a useful tool of confrontation. People around me have been joking that I

    substitute Jon with Joshua (Citarella) because I've been particularly close to his

    community (Do Not Research), which has wonderfully inspiring members ᕦʕ •ᴥ•ʔᕤ

    I could name any artist, at any level, I c̵͎̥͎̥̄͂̄͂r̵̠̦̠̦̅͊̅͊a̴͎͎͂̽͂̽v̴̨̤͛e̵̹͒ͅ art and I'm curious about anyone's production ♡(˃͈ દ ˂͈༶ )


    Your work is extremely personal, it is imbued with your emotions and your feelings, as you share with your public bits and pieces of yourself through the inventive use of rich symbolism, while maintaining some distance and an aura of mystery around your persona. I imagine it must be an intense process so I was wondering if you could share a little more about your production and overall creative process.

    I conceive my work in a fever, scribbling incomprehensibly on paper after months of

    restless research and bowls of raw cereals. Then I proceed by refining it, editing it

    maniacally so that it may inhabit different versions throughout its lifetime 乁༼☯〰 ☯༽ㄏ




    On social media you are a strong presence, and besides posting your work, you share tons of open call opportunities for artists around the world and interesting content produced by other creatives. I personally think it is such a curious added layer to your social media presence and to you as an artist, when did you start doing it and why?

    I started years ago, by direct-messaging the artists I thought could be fitting for certain calls that would show up in my feed, then decided to expand it to anyone following my account. I think it's part of my relational approach to art; I feel the urge to link up people that may produce fascinating collabs, a win/win situation for me 

    (「`・ω・)「🏆


    Lastly can you please share with us anything interesting you’ve seen lately? Are there any artists or institutions worth following?

    I've recently been questioning myself about the role of museums which is discussed in the latest issue (#75) of Spike Magazine. So I recently revisited the video work

    'Geomancer' (2017) by Lawrence Lek, where a museum dedicated to a dead A.I.

    satellite is erected. It's compelling to see how predictions from then still echo within

    nowadays problems (ʋ • ᴥ •)!

    Interview by Vittoria Martinotti

    Image Courtesy Twee Whistler