Carlo Zanni: Accept & Decline

Carlo Zanni: Accept & Decline

OPR Gallery

View of Carlo Zanni, Accept & Decline, OPR Gallery, Milan, 2023.

February 24, 2023
Carlo Zanni
Accept & Decline
February 16–April 28, 2023
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OPR Gallery
Viale Corsica 99
20133 Milan
Hours: Monday–Friday 2:30–6pm

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OPR Gallery is thrilled to announce artist Carlo Zanni’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, accompanied by an extensive text by art historian and curator Pau Waelder. The show will be extended online with the presentation of a selection of video artworks by Zanni on the digital art platform This selection will be available to stream on any smart TV, smartphone, or tablet.

With two new bodies of works, Check Out Paintings and the internet performance Save me for later, Zanni continues his exploration of the relationship between individuals and the systems that shape our consumerist society. 

Check Out Paintings is an ongoing series of canvases that seem monochromatic at first glance, but actually feature barely visible shapes in soft tones. Upon closer inspection, they reveal complex, layered compositions of geometric elements and text, meticulously drawn in pencil. Created in response to a period of isolation during the pandemic, in which e-commerce boomed and all social life forcibly took place online, Check Out Paintings take inspiration from the interfaces of the sites we visited to buy things from home. The artist has developed the functional layout of these pages to a point that can barely be recognized as such. The compositions no longer follow the logic of the interface, but gradually evolve into a visual language of their own, the buttons, drop-down menus, and disclaimers layered on top of each other, blending and even distorting their shapes. 

While creating a space for meditation, the paintings constitute a critique of a society that freaks out over shortages of toilet paper, blindly invests in cryptocurrencies, and turns global crises such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the war in Ukraine into business opportunities. 

The paintings reflect also on consumerism turned into a dull activity, whose meaning is blurred as it becomes part of a routinely cycle of dissatisfaction, aptly depicted in the software performance Save me for later (2022). Here a bot browsing autonomously selects items and places them in the basket. When the basket reaches its limit, items are automatically moved to the “Saved for later” list. 

This work connects, on the one hand, with Zanni’s exploration of the individual in a society shaped by digital media, questioning privacy and identity through portraiture, and on the other, with his conception of the computer interface as a landscape we stare at every day. 

Through these artworks, Zanni presents us with spaces for pause and reflection, that do not intend to force a message into our pupils, but rather offer us the time to observe, to come closer, and let these landscapes unfold in front of us. Whereas the real interfaces of online shopping constantly nudge us into selecting, adding to cart, and checking out, the artworks created by Carlo Zanni let us patiently gaze at these processes that they simultaneously accept and decline.


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OPR Gallery
February 24, 2023

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