di Ivan Quaroni

The cutting edge of the Italian fringe of crypto art, Hackatao is a duo of artists internationally recognized among the pioneers of the NFT revolution. Their name is formed by the crasis of the words hacker and tao, indications of a cultural background that mixes Cyberpunk antagonism and spirituality in the sign of an art of immediate recognition, which combines elements of pop surrealism and imaginary manga. The "Hackers of the Tao" are two artists who combine their talents in a grammar that blends the drawing impulse of one with the chromatic and structural sensitivity of the other. Their association was born in Milan in 2007 and materialized first in the creation of "Podmork," resin and ceramic sculptures that form a sample of figures halfway between the Japanese kawaii aesthetic and the lowbrow fashion of vinyl toys, then in the transition to a pop painting, in which the shapes of their bizarre characters are filled with a dense web of drawings, a sort of visual hypertext in which phrases, images, and references nestle, forming an uninterrupted stream of consciousness and, at the same time, an optical trap for the observer. The short-circuit generated by the combination of graphic linearity and flat painting - a polarization reminiscent of the Taoist dyad of Yin and Yang - is, in fact, the main feature of Hackatao's research, kept intact even in the digital format. Their contribution to the definition of crypto art is fundamental and passes through a series of experiments that combine painting on canvas with elements of digital animation. In 2018, when they have already been living for seven years in a remote medieval village in the Carnie Alps, the turning point comes with the entry into the still unrecognized world of NFT. Reacting to the old elitist logic of the art system, they begin to make digital works receiving the appreciation of a community still esoteric but about to expand like wildfire. They only later received the rapt attention of auction houses and the millionaire sales that made them jump to the headlines. However, their work remains faithful to their binary aesthetics even in the new digital format, as the works shown in this exhibition demonstrate. The first is "Beyond the Void," which ended up on the cover of "NFT Mag," the first magazine dedicated to crypto art published on OpenSea. Still, it is above all a tribute to Lucio Fontana, the artist who, with his cuts, threw light on what lies beyond the surface of the painting, opening the doors of perception to the understanding of a further space. The NFT "Beyond the Void" was born, in fact, from an exhibition experience of the Hackatao at the Cà la Ghironda Museum in Ponte Ronca, near Bologna, where they projected their own work on the work "Concetto Spaziale-Attese," seven cuts, thus creating an intimate dialogue with Fontana's three-dimensionality.

The other two are works born from the collaboration with the American punk band Blondie on the occasion of the 93rd anniversary of Andy Warhol's birth. In typical Hackatao style, they depict the group's singer Debbie Harry, the subject, back in 1985, of one of Warhol's first digital works created with a Commodore Amiga 2000. The works of the "Hack the Borders" series represent a link not only between the revolutions of crypto art and the punk movement but also between the world of NFT and the first seminal digital experiments of the father of Pop Art.

Hack The Borders – Douane Zoll #4/13


Hack The Borders # 150/284


Beyond The Void