Student art project mimics Italian election campaign poster

May 23, 2011

During the recent Italian election season, architecture student Karl Tsui (B.Arch. 12) created a poster depicting embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The graphic showed Berlusconi with his hands extended, imploring the public to accept that he had sacrificed for all. Tsui created the poster for Visiting Critic Luana Perillis painting and drawing class during the spring 2011 semester at the Cornell in Rome program. Karl wanted to explore the similarities in the aesthetics of Chinese and fascist propaganda along with sacred icons, which led him to create an ironic image of Berlusconi that was inspired by some of the Italian prime ministers public statements, commented Perilli. Tsuis placement of a golden halo behind Berlusconis head recalled the recent beatification of Pope John Paul II, a highly publicized event that brought more than 1-1/2 million pilgrims to Rome. The handmade original was made with a stencil and hung as an installation in the entrance to Palazzo Lazzaroni, a space whose light and structure strongly resemble a chapel. Copies of the original were printed as a street-art poster and placed in various spots around the city at the height of the publicity for Italian elections creating the perception that the piece was an official campaign poster.

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