Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening participants at Festival Asalto 2020: 1. Isaac Cordal 2. Elbi Elem 3. Akacorleone 4. Lida Cao 5. Diego Vicente 6. Karto 7. Marta Lapena 8. Sawu 9. Slim Safont
BSA Special Feature: Festival Asalto 2020
In Barrio San Jose (Zaragoza) the Festival Asalto mounted its 2020 edition in spite of, and perhaps because of, the very strange time that we are living in. Once considered an expression of the counterculture, illegal street art has evolved in some ways to spawn legal mural festivals that actually reinforce a sense of normalcy. The organizers and participants of Festival Asalto had to overcome logistical obstacles as well as the fears of many to mount the outdoor exhibition this year, and we salute them for their fortitude and successes.
A pioneer in public art festivals, Asalto celebrates its 15th year here in San José, in Zaragoza (Spain) with a lineup of very thoughtful artists. The intensity of 2020 and the toll it is taking on the countries of the world – is somehow reflected in the gentle dispositions of this year’s collection, who add their works to the 300 artists and works of art here. Organizers say the connection to the community is predicated on the organizing structure of the festival, which doesn’t decree what is good, but Asalto creates “a dialogue with neighbors who see art as something intimate and in the works they can see scenes in which they can be identified.”
This years Asalto 2020 line-up
includes artists Akacorleone, Diego Vicente,
Elbi Elem, Isaac Cordal, Karto Gimeno, Lida Cao, Marta Lapeña, Slim Safont,
Anna Taratiel, Sawu Studio and Aheneah.
Below are a few that we thought you would enjoy, along with brief descriptions of the artists directly from the Asalto organizers.
Lidia Cao: “The artist Lidia Cao gives us in a large mural those hugs that we have been missing in recent months. With great sensitivity to capture moments in all her works, Lidia Cao makes this gift to the neighborhood. As the artist says ‘A hug. An act as simple as it is difficult. We have seen how a world, in the blink of an eye, has become something completely distant.’ This is a hug of joy or comfort but always comforting and that has already become a symbol for all the people who see it every day in its wake.”
Elbi Elem: “The artist Elbi Elem has explored every corner of the area of Zaragoza where the Festival Asalto has been held to continue on her path of artistic research. Elbi Elem has used the possibilities of water and reflection to create installations that lead us to recognize the duality between balance and movement or the constant change in which we find ourselves.”
Issaac Cordal: “The small figures that Isaac Cordal has placed in different parts of the San José neighborhood are part of his series, called Cement Eclipses. With this game he invites us to look for the works – he wants to draw attention to our behavior as a mass and the effects of the evolution of society. Isaac Cordal presents this intervention to us as a game and as a surprise, each encounter with one of the figures makes us wonder and question who we are.”
Karto Gimeno: “Karto Gimeno makes his first foray into public art at the Asalto Festival and he did so by transferring his characteristic style to the large format: photography and almost scenographic installation.
With that style with which he captures the urban environment that surrounds us, Karto Gimeno wanted to bring to the people some characteristic buildings that surround the neighbourhood where Festival Asalto took place this year: abandoned and invaded by vegetation and humidity houses. Three large photographs located on the facades of the buildings become three new windows from which to look and recognize the past of an area that has forgotten its agricultural past.”
Marta Lapeña: “In a large mural of five panels, the artist Marta Lapeña remembers the everyday life of the San José neighborhood of Zaragoza with some of the elements that represent its past: glass, ceramics, wheat and barley or the thread with which industrial tarpaulins were manufactured. The 50s and 60s saw the birth of a neighborhood that was born around the industry and now the artist wants to take us to that simplicity of workers’ homes with a figurative mural in which color takes us from one scene to another.”
Slim Safont: “After meeting the neighbors of the building in which he was going to make his mural and walking the streets of the neighborhood capturing his life, the artist Slim Safont noticed a scene as everyday as it was loaded with a message; a slogan on a young girl’s shirt and a nursery in the background remind us of the future that lies ahead. And he does it with that technical skill that characterizes his work: almost photographic paintings that acquire texture as we get closer.”
Akacorleone: “Akacorleone’s mural ‘ILUSIÓN’ is a set of vibrant colors halfway between abstraction and figuration. With this work, the Portuguese artist wants to defend the life and flourishing of the human being after experiencing difficult situations. As he said “my idea was to create something that simbolized the calm after the storm, something beautiful that can emerge from dark times”. Painted with the spray technique, the refined shapes that we appreciate in this work also lead us to a oneiric world.”
Sawu Studio: With the challenge of transform into a new space a degraded -although widely used- square, the Sawu Studio team has built an ephemeral installation that claims play and meeting spaces for people. A large circle symbolizes that circle or safety space in which dialogue arises and which also protects the little ones.
The effect of light on wood turns four colors into an infinite palette that changes with the sun and the movement of those around it. With this installation, Sawu has managed to point out the need to humanize public spaces and respect them and has responded to the more than 300 surveys with which the neighborhood expressed its wishes towards the “nameless square”, the place where locate this facility.
Unveiled during an opening a week ago, a dynamic new blue resistance is on display in this inaugural space at the University of Badalona (Catalonia). A serrated kinetic mobile turning slowly as artist Elbi Elem brings her spray can inside for finishing aerosol touches the cerulean abstract.
The muralist had been creating dimension on walls with paint and geometric assemblage for years, eventually popping out from the wall in 3-d sculpture. Now she is creating with metal, wood, and PVC – and hanging free, gently gyrating and re-casting shadows in public space in new ways that electrify her mind and imagination.
The show is called RECIÉN PINTADO (Just Painted) and she shares this suspended
installation in the space with artists like Bre, Chan, Sm172, Dagoe, Spogo,
Crajes, Ruben Sanchez, Juan Chacón and Marcos Navarro. Curated by Spogo and
Martí Noy with the support of the Badalona City Council, the show marks another
significant milestone in the ongoing movement from street to formal exhibition
For Elbi Elem the new work is an opportunity inside a space “that may normally go unnoticed,” she says. “The dimension that unites the material elements is full of energy and somehow I think that its life is created between it, me, and my emotions is on display. All of this is embodied in the final work and the space itself is filled with it, transforming it. ”
Not your typical mural festival, Circular asks you to recycle your art materials to create your new piece.
Occurring on the outer rim of Madrid, this collection of thinkers and conceptualists challenge almost every concept of the sad digression called the “mural festival” today – with the sincere focus of bringing the practice back to the community and creating work in the context of it.
Artist Elbi Elem tells us that she and Sue975, Aida Gómez, Octavi Serra, Clemens Behr, Brad Downey and Marina Fernandez were living and working in this barrio in the southern part of Madrid for two weeks. Rather than “parachuting” in and immediately putting up a mural that has nothing to do with the city, she tells us that it was important to spend a week to get to know the barrio and the people.
“Then we chose a location and got the materials,” she says of the recycled items with which she built this sculpture. “It is metal and mostly tubes and plastics that were found in abandoned places and waste from some factory of the industrial area that we were in – like plastics that had been used for signs or skylights.”
Officially running from October 1-20, Circular says that the entire concept is meant to reconsider the role of urban art in a city and to return its scope and proportions away from the enormous expanses we have been seeing on the sides of skyscrapers to something that is more, well, human scale. In addition to supporting themes such as sustainability and scale, organizers say they’re less interested in being a tool for gentrification or revitalizing areas for tourism, and more interested in bringing art to neighbors.
“By taking the festival to this area of southern Madrid, we contribute to the decentralization of culture in the city, to the democratization of art and to bringing it closer to all types of audiences,” they say in a description of goals.
For Elem’s sculpture, which she calls a “floating art installation”, she welded the metal and tried to use colors that are natural to this human-made environment.
“At the same time the colors I used were also the same as the surroundings, being integrated with the landscape,” she says.
“I decided to work under this long-roofed area at the entrance of the main market. I liked the environment and the background and it was easy to hang the piece. I loved that place because you could see a lot of movement of people going to shop and it was interesting seeing their reactions,” she adds, “mostly of surprise.”
Sometimes as an artist you go away to the city to chase opportunity, to pursue new paths, to develop your repertoire. Sometimes you return home to give your city a gift.
Known more recently for her works on the street and on street walls in Barcelona, Street Artist and sculptor Elbi Elem continues to develop her geometric reach, even as it leads her to alleys, roofs, and houses in her hometown of Cordoba, Spain.
Taking inspiration from the large scale installations in cities like Rio where Dutch artistsJeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahntransformed the Santa Marta Favela, Elbi began to work with the multiple textures and angles and surfaces that occur in a grouping of building.
She says it was a big challenge creating anomorphic images within different planes upon adjacent buildings, but, “After a long period of waiting, some demanding walls, using a large dose of patience, a lot of hard work and negotiations with the expected rain, I finally finished this work in my beautiful and dear Córdoba,” she says. Appropriately, she’s calling it “Home”.
you hear someone comparing an empty, abandoned factory to a gallery where
graffiti writers and Street Artists have sprayed their pieces directly on the
walls instead of hanging them as canvasses. Less often is the space itself
claimed as an exhibition opportunity for sculpture, or mobile.
Street Artist Elbi Elem has taken that step from two dimensions with three with
this new hanging piece that engages geometry, abstraction, and texture with a
kinetic perspective, and the results fill the room as much as the imaganation. What
is next for a Street Artist whose work is geometric on the wall?
“I made this a couple of days ago in an abandoned place in the Costa Brava, Girona,” says Elem, who has been creating sculptures since 2002, and in the past few years has exhibited in galleries and on the street in places like her home Barcelona as well as Valencia, Madrid, and Turin in Italy.
The work itself reflects, architecture, urban landscapes, surfaces, and patterns of the city. The artist says that invariably the expression also is an interpretation of her inner world. This new mobile sculpture gives you an additional clue with its name: “Liberty”.
Today we have an opportunity to see some of the Street Art and gallery-related works on show in Madrid. Our sincere thanks to photographer and avid observer Fer Alcalá, who shares his findings with BSA readers today.
I was lucky enough to meet and walk the streets of Madrid with Guillermo from MadridStreetArtProject a veteran actor in the local scene. His way of seeing and understanding the urban landscape is outstanding. He is one of the best hosts that you can find in Madrid.
Espacio SOLO is an EXPERIENCE, not only because of the mystery associated with the project, but for the feelings that you have once you are there. Surrounded by astonishing pieces of fine art, getting lost through alleys and rooms and at the same time, having the sensation of invading someone’s coolest home on Earth.
While You Were Sleeping is a Korean TV series about a woman who can see the future in her dreams, and a prosecutor who fights to stop these future events from happening. The title also makes us think about the scam of a Tax bill passed while you were sleeping in the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday.
The servants of the rich, these wolves, are facilitating the largest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class up to their masters for well into the future, and it appears that few are awake to see it. It also pulls health insurance out from underneath 13 million sleeping people. The majority of the country was against this but the servants pushed it through anyway when you weren’t stirring. Good night!
Street Art better be dope ya’ll, because that’s where many of us will be living soon – the street.
But we are wide awake for sex scandals, by golly. Powerful men are being accused by past alleged victims from every sector in society right now. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Santa Claus can stay above the fray!
Meanwhile, the tree got lit this week in Rockefeller Center, a lot of people are going to get lit this month at their office holiday party, many NYC art denizens are heading to the Miami Basel Circus this week, and apparently there is supposed to be some Street Art thing happening there too.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring BD White, Daek, Elbi Elem, Elisa Capdevila, Faile, Jason Woodside, Jerkface, Kai, Killjoy, Magda Love, Mazatl, Mr. Toll, Ola Kalnins, Praxis, Timothy Goodman, and Sonni.
The 90s graffiti writer who now often participates in mural festivals says he chose this geometric abstraction to represent the poplar tree because of its historical connection to this host city and because of the undeniable intertwined associations he also has with the architecture that these trees often frame.
Part of the “Without Frontiers’ project that ran June 19-24 and was curated by Simona Gavioli and Giulia Giliberti of Caravan Setup Gallery in Bologna, the mural project includes work by artists Elbi Elem, Panem et Circenses, Zedz, and Corn79.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Colouring The World. A Film By Okuda San Miguel
2. Borondo “Golden Gate” 3. Elbi Elem in Barcelona for 12+1 P 4. Chip Thomas in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Biocultura
BSA Special Feature: Colouring The World. A Film By Okuda San Miguel
The pleasing and bright geometry of Okuda has wide appeal to many audiences and he maximizes the effect with his choice of amiable animals and friendly themes. It’s a worldwide dance party for this artist and last year he took his public and commercial murals to many cities in places like Australia, Tahiti, and Thailand. And Miami, naturally.
Borondo “Golden Gate”
Dude, I told you – turn your phone so it’s landscape when you are doing video!
Just kidding. Here’s a video installation from a group show in March 2017 called COLERA in Rome’s Galleria Varsi.
Made as a stop action animation of a house on fire by Matteo Beradone with music by Enzo Pietropaoli. The multiple monotype prints by the Street Artist/Fine Artist Borondo are moving and crackling, inflected with gold leaf shadings, each different and evocative of the rapid flickering of fire, drowning in a reflective sea.
The group show also included Run, Canemorto and Michele Servadio during a two week residency at the gallery. You can see how the images were displayed in the photo from Borondo below the video
Elbi Elem in Barcelona for 12+1 Project
Here’s a process video of artist Elbi Elem at work on her mural for the 12+1 Project in Barcelona this spring.
Chip Thomas is a master at wheatpasting his large scale photographs, and has been doing this kind of art for many years now, usually with a genuine social mission and without great fanfare. This project is with Social Media Workgroup on the side of the Biocultura event space in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Somewhere between celebrity and anonymity sits the Street Artist, depending on their wishes and fortune. We always feel lucky to see the artwork first anonymously on the street, because it needs to stand for itself, free of the passerby’s association with their knowledge of its author. Later, when you are in the presence of the artist with their work, the relationship you have with it is permanently altered. If you have established some trust, you also can learn so much about an artists relationship with the physicality of their process of art-making; the posture, the breathing, the gesture, the distance.
Photographer Fernando Alcalá Losa has made it a focus of his own art practice to notice the small and the great aspects of the artist’s process and captures important details that allow the viewer to understand the dynamics and relationship between an artist and their creation. In December on BSA he wrote,
“It’s about being there, right there, feeling the energy of creation. It’s about intimacy, about detail, about the personal connection with the artist, because you were able to be that close. And not everyone can be that close, that’s for sure…
I’m grateful for having the chance of living these moments of proximity, knowing that those artists that you’re shooting at trust you and allow you to be there, right there.”
Today on BSA we’re pleased to present a very rare collection of Fernando’s images that tell just these stories, these primary relationships that are in alignment with the life of a creator; a struggle, a dance, a wandering journey of discovery, a spirited production, an execution of plan. All of these aspects and more can be seen, and sometimes captured by the artist behind the lens.
“The Intimacy Project”
Fernando Alcalá Losa
Some weeks ago, I read a post from someone on Facebook saying that the figure of the artist wasn’t important, saying that the piece was the only relevant thing in fact.
It sounded funny to me because there’s no artwork without the artist, but I understand what was meant, although I disagree from a photographic point of view. “The Intimacy Project” is an idea that has been in my head for some time and it has been developing in parallel with my evolution as a Street Art photographer.
When I started to interact with artists, I was kind of obsessed about keeping the distance, physically speaking, and about not disturbing the artist. As time went by, I began getting closer to everything; not only to the wall, but also to the person who paints the wall. I became more confident, always trying to be respectful and operating from my best intentions – and I continue doing this today.
“The Intimacy Project” is about the person behind the artist, about the human side of the creative process and about what happens from a close up view while a piece of art is being produced.
It’s about gestures, expressions, obsessions and techniques. Because the artwork, the final result, is important, but the human being who creates it is also important for me…indeed…
“Break with the rectangle as the space to intervened,” says artist Elbi Elem, the March painter for this wall curated monthly in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain. The abstract muralist says she began making kinetic sculpture in 2002 and has an interest in movement, composition and form.
In fact she has redirected the attention outside of the rectangular canvas with an arching red line that extends beyond the stage, perhaps to annex a part of the sky and add it to the composition.
In her description of the new piece just completed, Ms. Elem says the flexible tube forms “forming a visual circuit” that captures the movement of the trains above – and becomes a framing device for anyone who may want to pose with it on the landing.
Far from the rectilinear boxing of Mondrian and certainly not in his primary palette, the work is nonetheless geometric abstraction, calling to mind some of the heroic adds for locomotives and rail transportation of our last mid century.
By inducing the element of the handrail diagonally bisecting the wall, Elem opens the experience, rather than sealing it closed, symbolizing, as she says “traveling, moving forward, and action.”