First presented at the Italian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, Democrazy is a video installation that recreates the media battle for the 2008 American presidential elections questioning the influence and power of media over the concept of democracy.
Created by artist Francesco Vezzoli (Italian, b. 1971), Democrazy consists of two election ads played concurrently, featuring the theoretical candidates, who have different political visions. The candidates are played by media superstars, both poised to become the quintessential twenty-first century leader: Hollywood actress Sharon Stone and French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Lévy.
How are we manipulated by strategies of political communication? How do issues such as fame and the power of the media play into this dynamic, and what is the role of democracy? Inspired by the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections, Vezzoli explores these issues and how they’re expressed through contemporary visual language in his installation Democrazy. The presentation at The Wolfsonian is in connection with the current exhibit, Thoughts on Democracy, part of the Celebrating America year of exhibits.
The ads were produced in collaboration with teams of political experts, one led by Mark McKinnon, George W. Bush’s media advisor in 2004, and the other by Jim Mulhall, part of Bill Clinton’s creative team in 1996.
With their on-point, extremely precise, and seductive messages, the ads highlight the candidates’ popularity, confidence, and their seductive capacity to use the media to bolster their images.
Democrazy follows Vezzoli's earlier parody of contemporary Hollywood, Trailer for a remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula, presented at the 51st Venice Biennale and at the 2006 Whitney Biennial.
Francesco Vezzoli’s work includes video installations, petit-point embroidery, and photography, mixing heterogeneous languages and genres to bring together pop icons, auteur cinema, art history, social, and personal issues. He has had solo shows in museums and institutions worldwide including Fondazione Prada, Milan; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London. His video projects and needleworks have also been presented at several biennials including the 2006 Whitney Biennial, the 49th, 51st, and 52nd Venice Biennials, and the 26th Sao Paulo Biennial; and in group shows at venues including Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; and Migros Museum, Zurich.
The Wolfsonian-FIU Website