!Mediengruppe Bitnik

Join the Secret Tintoretto Fraternity


!Mediengruppe Bitnik build their intervention on the idea of communion, which permeates the work of Tintoretto. Artist often focused on the theme of the Last Supper and interpreted it as a spiritual unity, leaving the subject of betrayal behind. Tintoretto depicted the scene in the setting of a Venetian tavern and portrayed the characters as ordinary people.

Tintoretto always emphasized with the poor. From the early stages of his career he created paintings for the communities of craftsmen. Different communities and confraternities coexisted with the authorities of the Republic of Venice and were a kind of social security system. To be a member of such a community allowed for status and influence.

Scuola di San Rocco, with which Tintoretto was affiliated for twenty years, helped common people, especially during the dark period of the outbreak of plague in Venice. The building of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, where he created his largest painting cycle, is called the Sistine Chapel of Tintoretto.

The artist had to make a lot of effort to join the fraternity and to decorate the building. In order to be noticed, Tintoretto first created two enormous paintings at the Church of Madonna dell’Orto — for no fee, asking to only reimburse the materials. The paintings of The Last Judgment and The Adoration of the Golden Calf became a kind of advertisement of the artist and a manifesto of his views setting spirituality against idolatry.

When he was finally called to take part in the competition for the decoration of Sala dell’Albergo at the Scuola di San Rocco, instead of presenting a preliminary drawing he managed to install the painting St. Roch in Glory in the center of the ceiling, claiming that he knew no other way of drawing and if they did not want to pay him for the work, he would donate it to them. Thus an arrangement was established between Tintoretto and the Scuola, which was destined to produce the most extraordinary painting cycle in Venetian art.

 !Mediengruppe Bitnik calls to join a secret fraternity. 21st century offers new identities, new social and economic instruments, but the human aspiration to unite, communicate and celebrate life remains. The atmosphere of secrecy, communion and co-creation links their project with the theme of Venetian scuole.

!MEDIENGRUPPE BITNIK (Carmen Weisskopf, born 1976, Switzerland; Domagoj Smoljo, born 1979, Croatia) is a team of media artists who work primarily with the Internet. In their works they explore the concept of virtual space, specifically the darknet. Their art works have been exhibited in many museums 36 and galleries, such as the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, City Art Gallery of Ljubljana, Kunsthaus Zürich, Contemporary Art Center of Vilnius, Tehran Biennial, etc. The art group received the Swiss Art Award (2014), Pax Art Awards (2018) and an Honorable Mention in the Prix Ars Electronica (2016).