berlusconi is not old.

I’ve seen Paul Stuart’s portrait of Silvio Berlusconi at Taylor Wessing Prize exhibition for the first time. I was shocked, literally. I guess Paul Stuart combined top-quality lenses with an ungenerous and techincally perfect sharpening in postproduction. He probably went too far and I can’t embed that portrait to my post. Somehow I have the feeling it would be unrespectful. It’s like Lenin or Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. I want him immaculately embalmed like he looked at Domenica 5. I can’t explain why.   Silvio Berlusconi interviewed by Barbara D’Urso at Domenica 5 on Canale 5, one of Berlusconi’s tv channels   I grew up in Italy and Berlusconi’s TV channels were forbidden by my parents. Still, me and my sister would watch some of programs in secret. I’ve been inadvertently accustomed to these glowing yet evanescent persons only contourned and defined by almost bleeding-saturated blotches of colors. An acid marshmellowed dazing hypnosis where magenta or bronze bodies, shiny and smooth as silk, float and exhibit themselves without any reserve. There are no bags under the eyes, no flaws and blemishes. No wrinkle, even if due to facial expression, is allowed. In Neverland nobody grows up or gets older. Nobody is three-dimensional because there are no shadows: shadows bring detail and this is not acceptable. Silvio Berlusconi has always genuinely embodied the philosophy of his TV. He has always wanted to be timeless, silky and bronzed. I saw him in person a few years ago and I shook his hand (just to grope my sister’s bottom saying “ha-ha, Berlusconi touched your bottom too now”. Which is silly. But it was good fun, she running desperately away in Vittorio Emanuele’s gallery shouting “Nooooo!!!!”). He didn’t look young at all, but not even old: timeless, really. He was a mask of dark foundation with a very broad and sincere smile.   From “Ciao Darwin”, a Saturday night favourite of me and my sister   In Paul Stuart’s portrait that mask persists and you can’t really see so many wrinkles. I mean, for being 80 next year he only has a lot of blemishes on his skin. His wrinkles have been stretched and pressed and they are not allowed to exist. But his eyes! His eyes were blank and bleak, like those of a dying man. The only true hint of his age. I am not the kind of Italian blaming him for everything that happened in the last 20 years… And his smile was funny. I don’t like him at all, but I felt pity for him. His TV world like his life is an impossible mirror room with excessive color and contrast adjustments. It’s like when you retouch an image for a long time and then you disable all your corrections and think “this is not reality at all. Reality is just what I created. Everything else is fake and I refuse to believe it.” He must be desperate. {this blog post was originally published in 2015}

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