Elfo’s furtive and artful wanderings can veer off into the neo-Dadaist fields at times, sometimes wittily so, and textually. The Italian graffiti writer and street artist uses the simplest of devices to capture attention, a reductive and deliberate strategy born of careful consideration girded by impulses to broadcast his view, to be seen and heard.
Here in Turin (Torino) the artist diagrams the messages in a butcherly way – a triangulation of views on class structures, the street-to-gallery continuum, and the tensions separating carnivores and herbivores. Oink!
He says it is “a new ironic artwork” and pays tribute to the late Italian artist and art collector G.A. Cavellini.
Many people in New York and around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when our native son from Queens got on that helicopter with his immigrant wife and A. left the White House and, B. flew to Florida.
But for this week anyway, the streets are saying let’s give Biden and Harris and this new administration the congratulations and the honeymoon they deserve. We wish them (and us) the best!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Anna is a toy, Bastard Bot, CRKSHNK, Elfo, Jason Naylor, Lunge Box, Praxis VGZ, and Queen Andrea.
Looking for a Christmas tree? An accurate barometer of the income gap perhaps, we found two vendors on the streets of Williamsburg who each told us a 6 foot tree this year starts at $150 this year. Later in the neighborhood of Bushwick we saw a collection of 6 foot tall trees for $60 each. In Soho or 5th Ave just double it, or quintuple it.
Here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring City Kitty, Elfo, Exposure, Easy and Joz, Gak, Giani NYC, Kest, No Sleep, Quality Mending, Raw Raffe, Skewville, TV Head ATX, UFO907, Muk 123, Gen 2907, Oze108, and Unlok.
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
That’s the text of a cable sent by the writer Mark Twain from London to the press in the United States after his obituary had been mistakenly published, so the story goes.
Similarly, the “elite” of 2020 may be suitably surprised by this new text piece by street commentator ELFO on the streets of Verona, Italy. Since there are roughly four months remaining to the year, maybe this is a meant to be prophecy, but from what we all can see, the “elite” are getting richer and richer from this pandemic, as well as the custom-tailored “bail-outs” from the right- and left-wing politicians who write the bills.
Enough with these figurative studies, these needless sucklings of the romantic ego, these thick gilded frames, these meanderings of hue and saturation and volume and texture and drapery, these idyllic landscapes and soul-wrenching faces and kinetic geometries, these soaring flawed metaphors of grandiosity realized in succulent and fulsome lustful blood red, swollen and bruised purple, capacious blue, auspicious goldenrod.
In fact, death to aesthetics. In Florence, no less.
Elfo intends to scrawl upon the walls of the cityscape like a desperate inmate who has lost his will, peaking briefly upward to the wan grey, drained of all expression. His rant is gestural, harried and blunt.
All caps, it reads MORTE AL L’ ESTETICA!!!
The best translation is, I think, “F**k Aesthetics,” he tells us.
You’ve probably already seen this wall by Elfo so its probably a boring topic. But we also enjoy his self-deprecation – after all he is marketing this wall to us to display digitally. Who knows if it’s even real. It’s better than just another portrait of 2Pac.
Suppose it is not so insulting for someone to say that you
tend to take a romanticized view of things. Frankly, the world could use a lot
more romanticism, and less of the callous, obtuse, horror please.
ELFO may be projecting his rose tinted view upon this abandoned and degraded building in Florence, Italy, but then again his lo-fi naïve lettering tells us he is in on the joke too – he’s just playing with you.
The last time we talked about the Italian artist Elfo he was playing with Duchamp and ranting about fake news – in his lo-fi anti-style text rolled across a wall. As is his style, the Italian text maker likes to leave cryptic witticisms on public and private property as he wends his way through the urban cityscape.
Looks like he found another wall to treat in a contemporary context, leaving one of his insider quips where few are likely to see it. Good thing we have a photo. Then again he’s negated the photo in this age of insta– consta– photo making. What is one to do – not post it?
The Italian textual conceptualist and urban/suburban public space instigator
ELFO has lodged his complaint on a wall against the misinformation that forms
our perceptions. The humorous one-off screed caught our attention so we asked
him about this low-fi textwork that seems decidedly Duchampian, with a nod to
BSA:Duchamp challenged conceptions of the art world with his “readymade” pieces and many a critic called him a fake. Your commentary references the “fake news” meme favored by the right wing news and politicians. How did you make the connection?
ELFO: Currently my work is returning to this message. I want to speak of the world and the history of art in ironic and contemporary way using contemporary terms. I chose Duchamp because his artwork changed the world of art. Duchamp is perfect because he played with fake identity and the critic system rendered him as a fake. He changed the rules of art, for me and many artists.
BSA:What role should art play in this world of “fake news”?
ELFO: In this world of fake news, art probably is a big fake – if it does not reflect society as a mirror.
BSA: Do you think art should always reflect our society like a mirror?
ELFO: The problem is not fake news in this world – it’s the human brain. Art must speak about serious issues like pollution for example. This is the next subject I’ll address since I have been looking at it for a long time.