JACEK LUDWIG SCARSO / LITTLE MAN SAGA

curated by Italo Bergantini and Gaia Conti


November 2015 - January 2016

ROOMBERG Project Space / Ground floor / Latina

installation view, ROOMBERG Project Space, Latina (photo © Marcello Scopelliti)

Yes Man! 2015

lenticular 3D print in a hand-retouched frame cm 54,5x40,5 

(the images depict the holographic effects of this work, as seen from three different angles)

floor-level, a view of the multimedia installation Boys-Toys, 2015, cm 300x100x60

The Guardians, 2014

digital print retouched by hand on Hahnemühle paper, mounted on aluminium, cm 70x105 (frame cm 80x120). 

Edition of 5+1 Artist’s proof

installation detail Boys-Toys, 2015

L'Entraineur, 2015  video loop integrated in the installation Boys-Toys



Santino, 2013 (detail) video installation in bespoke frame, cm 22x18. Edition of 5+1 Artist’s proof

L'Entraineur, 2015 (detail) video projection, 9:26 min. Edition of 5+1 Artist’s proof

K.O., 2014 (from the Macho Messiah series)
digital print retouched by hand on Hahnemühle paper, mounted on aluminium, cm 35x115 (frame 45x125 cm). 

Edition of 5+1 Artist’s proof

The Second is ComingMan Up! Man Down...Crash Course, Trivial Pursuit 2014 (from the Macho Messiah series)

each, digital print retouched by hand on Hahnemühle paper, mounted on aluminium, print cm 115x35, frame cm 125x45.

Edition of 5+1 Artist’s Proof

Santino: An Unexpected Blessing | Santino: Arrows and Flesh | Santino: Miraculous Blossoms | Santino: Growing Wings

Oh yeah?! | Damn, Adam! 2014 (from The Guardians series)

each, digital print retouched by hand on Hahnemühle paper, mounted on aluminium, cm 80x40. Edition of 5+1 Artist’s proof 

Julius, 2013 (Regno Unito) multi-channel video by Jacek Ludwig Scarso and Elastic Theatre, in collaboration with Savage Mills, here exhibited in split-screen view

“Every man wants to be a macho macho man

to have the kind of body, always in demand

Jogging in the mornings, go man go

works out in the health spa, muscles glow

You can best believe that, he's a macho man

ready to get down with, anyone he can”

Village People - Macho man


Macho-macho man, I wanna be a macho man... is a chorus that rings familiar to our ears and belongs to the ironic song by the Village People dated back to the late Seventies and still relevant today. Frequently the term macho is referred in a charming and sarcastic way to designate the masculine, athletic and strong man, as it is in everyone’s mind sponsored by the modern society, describing him as a contemporary mythological God.

Little Man Saga winks at this collective imaginary and challenges it, bringing back Gods on earth and enhancing their ambiguity. Jacek Ludwig Scarso creates his Saga by narrating events that occur in the coherent universe of its little, ordinary men. His little men face their ups and downs within the frame of the picture, within the timeframe of the video and in the physical space of the installation. Sometimes they are angels, but not saints, as in the series The Guardians, they are athletes, but vulnerable, as we can see them in the cycle The Macho Messiah, they are boys with unfulfilled omnipotence ambitions as in the intense video Julius or employees somewhat messed up and reluctant, almost like contemporary versions of Bartleby-like characters, in the project Little Man Saga, which also gives thename to the exhibition- therefore vulnerable, sometimes naive.

An unusual show for its stylistic and cultural concept that deals with the subject of super-man, with a point of view that emphasises the evocative power of the image. Characterized by photos, videos and installations, Little Man Saga is a human document, a caustic, bold, biting and cleverly playful exhibition, questioning the particular view, which paralyzes men behind the static curtain of a definition.

In this scenario, the artist plays the role of an actual stage director, which is his life’s job, guiding the performances of the actors throughout its production.

The stage is without frills, everything is accomplished through a clever play of lights and chiaroscuro à la Caravaggio, to grant the works, both static or dynamic, a surrealistic atmosphere.

Jacek directs a scene that takes place inside the gallery, transforming it, channeling it in a continuous and dynamic dialogue with the audience. He becomes the guardian and thenarrator at the same time - by writing he tracks a permanent plot on the works, but, as happens in theatre, the public functions as a live audience arrogating to themselves the opportunity to choose.


A seamless flow of vibes, a consistent narrative flow, deliberately pending questions, metaphors and symbolism cleverly balanced are the super-powers that the artist owns to let the viewer in his imaginary universe rich in emotions, ideals and spirituality. (Text by Gaia Conti)

“Every man wants to be a macho macho man

to have the kind of body, always in demand

Jogging in the mornings, go man go

works out in the health spa, muscles glow

You can best believe that, he's a macho man

ready to get down with, anyone he can”

Village People - Macho man


Macho-macho man, I wanna be a macho man.. è un ritornello che risuona conosciuto alle nostre orecchie e appartiene all’ironica canzone dei Village People di fine anni settanta, ancora oggi attuale. Spesso il termine macho ci viene proposto in maniera accattivante e sarcastica per indicare l’uomo virile, atletico e forte, così com’è nell’immaginario collettivo che la società ci propina descrivendolo come un moderno Dio mitologico.

Ebbene, Little Man Saga sfida in maniera ammiccante questo immaginario collettivo, riportando gli Dei in terra ed esaltandone l’ambiguità. Jacek Ludwig Scarso costruisce la sua Saga narrando alcune vicende che avvengono nell’universo coerente dei suoi piccoli uomini, uomini comuni. I suoi little men affrontano le loro vicissitudini all’interno della cornice del quadro, nei limiti temporali della narrazione video e nello spazio fisico di un’installazione. Talvolta sono angeli, ma non santi, come nella serie The Guardians, sono atleti, ma vulnerabili, come li possiamo ammirare nel ciclo The Macho Messiah, sono ragazzi con aspirazioni di onnipotenza disattese come nell’intenso video Julius oppure impiegati un po’ incasinati e reticenti, quasi dei moderni Bartleby, nel progetto Little Man Saga, che dà anche il titolo alla mostra. Vulnerabili dunque, a volte sprovveduti.

Un’esposizione inconsueta per visione stilistica e culturale che affronta la tematica del super-uomo con un taglio che predilige la potenza evocativa dell’immagine. Strutturata tra foto, video e installazioni, Little Man Saga è un documento umano, una mostra pungente che è una polemica audace, sferzante e abilmente giocosa con cui si mette in discussione quella particolare visione che barrica gli uomini dietro l’immobile paravento di una definizione.

In questo scenario l’artista agisce come un vero e proprio direttore artistico, qual è nella vita, accompagnando la recitazione degli attori lungo tutta la sua produzione. Lo spazio scenico è privo di orpelli, tutto si realizza attraverso un abile gioco di luci e di chiaro/scuri quasi caravaggeschi, a conferire ai lavori, statici o in movimento, un’atmosfera surreale.

Jacek dirige una scena che si svolge all’interno della galleria, la trasforma, la canalizza in un dialogo continuo e dinamico con lo spettatore. Si fa custode e narratore allo stesso tempo, con la scrittura traccia un canovaccio indelebile sulle opere, ma, come succede a teatro, il pubblico diventa platea avocando a sé l'opportunità della scelta.


Un flusso ininterrotto di sensazioni, un impianto narrativo coerente, domande volutamente sospese, metafore e simbolismi sapientemente equilibrati sono i super-poteri che l’artista possiede per far entrare il visitatore nel suo universo immaginario ricco di emozioni, ideali e spiritualità. (Testo di Gaia Conti)

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