The creations of Aldo Lanzini
Aldo Lanzini de Agostini D’Aviance is an Italian-born artist. I met him thanks to a common friend, our former assistant, Jean Marc Arnaudé who met Lanzini in New York in the alternative club scene of the middle and late 1990s. At the time Aldo Lanzini was notably doing crochet dresses for his brother Miss Kevin Aviance in the “Queens of The Night” parties and also for the famous Wigstock event.
Aldo Lanzini is the creator of Illegal Aliens. My friend Jean Marc who knew that BillyBoy* and Lala had a Mdvanii exhibition at La Maison d’Ailleurs, museum of Science Fiction and Extraordinary Journeys, and he suggested to him to contact us, which he did, and this is how I could discover his original creations. Aldo Lanzini explains how the idea of creating these aliens came to him: “ The first Illegal Alien came to me in the winter of 1996 in New York City. In Chinatown I bought a little box with the instructions on how to make your own mini-teddy bear....at night, dancing at Junior Vasquez, surrounded by all the creatures of the night, I started thinking of different shapes and in the morning I made my first Illegal Alien.... since then I have made almost 600 of them.”
For Aldo Lanzini his craftmanship is similar to “automatic writing” practiced by the Surrealists. He skips the design part and works directly on the material, which is bright-coloured felt, buttons and glass eyes. Each piece is entirely hand-made and hand-sewn, this way each Alien is a one-of-a-kind creation. His motto “One-of-a-kind - Please be kind” evokes the famous gold button placed in the ears of every Steiff toy, along with the mention “Kopf im Orr” on a label, proof of their authenticity, known by all collectors of the now legendary toys. However, the creations of Lanzini are not simply toys and in their pure artistry, they are, to my point of view, more linked to the creations of Marie Vassillief who designed cubistic dolls in the 1920s (ultra rare and collectible now!) and created many designs for the high fashion master Paul Poiret. Lanzini's own slogan is transferred on a pop-art-style badge that you receive along with the adoption papers and certificates. His Aliens in vivid and often contrasting colours, are terribly cute and charming in every sense of the word. Each individual Illegal Alien has a a magnetic presence. ”There is so much to say about the Aliens and the Illegal Aliens...What interests me is a sort of celebration of what we are as individuals in the Universe”, says the artist, who admits not to be sure where all this imaginary world comes from. “One time a strange woman in New York told me that when I sew my invisible antennas get connected with the aliens in the Universe and my hands materialize those connections...I like to think they come from a place where there is pure JOY". says Lanzini.
To the question as to whether he considers his creatures as playthings for children and adults or as artworks, he answers simply: ”The characteristic of the Illegal Aliens is that they can be both toys and sculptures, as Duchamp teaches us: it is the context that defines this kind of values. They like to stay straight up on their legs, they have no mouth, they like to stare into space.They like very much empty spaces. They have been displayed in prestigious windows - Bloomingdales in NYC, Galeries Lafayette in Paris - as well as in the streets, sometimes abandoned on benches, waiting for somebody to take them into their home. Sometimes they have been given to people I like and sometimes exhanged for money.”
Adoption Nights, an artistic concept
Aldo Lanzini pushes further on his concept by organizing from time to time an “Adoption Night”. It is a sort of “performance” which follows the itinerary in an Adoption Office. It takes place for one single night in a place which can be a gallery, any public place or a private home. In the evening about thirty Illegal Alliens are introduced to the people and an A.A (Alien Assistant) helps the candidates to fill in an Alien Questionaire form, which contains mostly philosophical questions to determine whether the candidates are eligible or not. The cost of an adoption is about 150 euros (about 200 dollars). It is more expensive than to adopt a brave dog of vague origins or an alley cat in a shelter home, but this is not a brave abandoned dog or an rejected animal you’re getting for this fee (I have to mention that animal refugees today are filled as well with pure breed animals) but a truly friendly alien creature! For those who cannot (or would better off not at any cost) take the responsability of acquiring a real pet, as well as for those, gay or not, who could not even think of adopting a child, there is now the option of adopting your very own Alien, a true individual with a cartoonish soul which came on earth just for yourself! Isn’t it utterly, marvelously comforting?
A beautiful artist monography on Aldo Lanzini's work has been recently published by Johan & Levi Editore (Iin Italian and English) with an inspiring interview conducted br Alessandra Galasso. It's a MUST. One can discover more of Lanzini's hallucinating and divinely chic crochet and knit creations, which seems to habe been knit by some science fiction spider on LSD and which are all individual wearable artworks in every sense of the world. Photography, drawings, paintings and sculpture and more Illegal Aliens, each one to die for.
Those who would like to persuade you that art is some hermetic affair reserved for an intellectual elite are wrong and certainly not poets. As we know, art is expressed and created in many different ways, far from the acknowledged circuits and circles, fashion and all its absurd speculation nonsense. One can sometimes encounter it at the corner of a street and as well as in many unexpected places, and if you're lucky or simply open your eyes at the right moment, it will be personified by the enigmatic Illegal Aliens of Aldo Lanzini.
Lala JP Lestrade
To get the book: www.johanandlevi.com
You can also join the IllegalAlliens Group on Facebook and meet Alien fans and admirers as well as find more photos, videos, comments etc....