Unpainted Undrawn, frames (series), Alessio Chierico, various devices, 2015

Alessio Chierico

Unpainted Undrawn

Unpainted Undrawn is a series of works that consist of cracked screens, mounted in classical and modern picture frames. These screens are collected from dismissed devices such as: tablets, ebook readers, smartphones, monitors, and several other kinds of digital device.

Screen damages reveals the material essence of electronic based images, as well as their potential aesthetics. The frame into which these screens are inserted plays a very important role within the concept of this work. First of all, the frame relates to the ancient and romantic stereotype of an artwork. Thus the frame’s presence is an ironic attempt to elevate the aesthetics of cracked screens to the status of art. At the same time, the frame recalls the medium of painting, and therefore its materiality, which is explicitly relevant for image creation. In the history of painting, the awareness of materiality emancipated the technique from the status of flat visual representation. In a similar way, the images of these devices are not representations driven by a software, but a physical expression of the screen/medium.

Unpainted Undrawn shows the potential aesthetics that are intrinsic to the materiality of electronic media. Technologies of representation are historically bound to the physicality of their support, but the dematerialization of the image, which occurred with the advent of electronic media, brought the idea that representation does not belong anymore to the visual support. Instead, the physicality of the visual support is an unavoidable and active elements of representation. Exposing the materiality of screens, Unpainted Undrawn determines a failure of representation. Broken screens lose their function of showing contents. Thus, the fiction of representation disappears behind a real expression of the image materiality.

This project is probably identifiable in the field of Glitch Art, but there is a difference: Glitch Art works can be made voluntarily or not, but generally they are acting in an infrastructural level that manipulates the content. In the case of Unpainted Undrawn, there are no contents because the image is never been processed and generated. In a certain sense, the abstract images which are used in Unpainted Undrawn can be considered as a ultimate step of iconoclasm.

Artist Statement

My practice combines the fields of art and design with theoretical approach. My research is based on the deconstruction of interfaces, looking for new naturalness formed by the essential properties of material and immaterial objects. A large part of this research focus on the aesthetics of digital representation.

My earlier works were reflecting on digital ontology, showing the code that composed pictures and texts, in order to question the digital nature, and its identity. Subsequently, I moved my interest toward media aesthetics and design theory, with particular attention over the conception that considers media as objects and objects as media.

Media aesthetics are seen as technological expression of media qualities. They show the seams of technology, exposing the fictional nature of representation. In this sense, the media function of reproducing contents is lost, and the representation fails.

Errors and failures are just ruptures of user expectations. When we use media technologies we await that their function will serve us. However, errors and failures brake the functionality of systems, reminding us their technical nature.

The aim of my artistic practice is to highlight media aesthetics, creating works which have the only function of express themselves, avoiding any form of representation. People relates with media using interfaces that hide their real structure. I believe that exposing the seams that emerges from their failures and their aesthetics, can drive to an awareness of the technologies we use.


Alessio Chierico is an artist with theoretical background in new technologies of art, design and media theory. He is currently MA candidate at Interface Culture department of Kunstuniversität Linz (Austria), and visiting student at IAMAS Institute of Advanced Media Art and Sciences in Ogaki (Japan). Chierico was previously studying at Academy of Fine Art of Carrara (Italy), NABA of Milan (Italy) and at Academy of Fine Art of Urbino (Italy).

In the last nine years of activity he had more then fifty exhibitions, including: Roma Media Art Festival (2015), ArteLaguna prize in Venice (2014), Ars Electronica festival (2014, 2013), Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea of Lisbon (2014), Victoria Art gallery in Bucharest (2014), MAMbo in Bologna (2014), Speculum Artium in Slovenia (2013), Museo di Scienze Naturali of Torino (2013), French embassy in Rome (2012), MLAC of Rome (2012), MAGA in Gallarate (2011), MART in Rovereto (2011).

Chierico participates to several conferences and he had three academic publications. In 2014 Chierico won the Lab Award (Augsburg, Germany) and in 2008 Milano in Digitale (Milan, Italy).

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