“La danza di San Michele” (Saint Michael’s Dance) is a captivating mural composition by the street artist Basik, situated in the heart of Paderno d’Adda, Italy. A unique public art project thoughtfully curated by Annalisa Ferraro, the scattered collection has breathed new life into the historic center of Paderno d’Adda, forging a connection between tradition and contemporaneity, past and present, without the need for embellishments or excessive sentimentality.
Basik, hailing from the vibrant art scene of Italy, embarked on a ten-day journey to transform the town’s walls along Via Manzoni into a beckoning series of canvasses. His artwork serves as a beacon, imploring residents and visitors to embark on an immersive exploration of the region, offering a fresh perspective on its historical, artistic, architectural, and natural heritage. Without delving into the intricacies of funding, this project has been brought to life as part of Paderno d’Adda’s urban regeneration plan, showcasing the town’s commitment to revitalizing its historic center.
Three distinct artworks form an indivisible composition, inviting viewers to partake in a visual narrative that evolves with every step along the town’s main street. In “VIA.,” Basik draws inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci’s canals, symbolizing the rush of progress and connection. “TANGERE verso uno” reveres the symbolic role of the bridge, embodying possibilities and unity. Finally, “LUCE. ACQUA.” presents a model of the historic Bertini power station as a place of reverence, representing the region’s journey through industrial transformation.
By day, the mural reveals its details and colors, mirroring the landscape from antiquity to the present. By night, a golden thread illuminates Basik’s creation, guiding viewers through a constellation, a scattered composition that tells a fuller story.
“Saint Michael’s Dance” is an ode to hospitality, observation, and comprehension. It offers the people of Paderno d’Adda a new heritage, preserving the memory of the past while embracing the future. This installation symbolizes a celebration of history and an invitation to participate in a compelling narrative.
Graffiti writer, formally trained artist, graphic designer, muralist, and tattooist, Awer was born in Polignano a mare (IT) but is now Berlin based. His newest outdoor mural returns him to Italy, near The Caves of Castellana that open in south-eastern Murge. Like his liquid dancing surrealism of psychological topographies, the forms in the caves are melting and organic in appearance. Here in the city of Bari, which is part of Grotte di Castellana, Awer says he has flooded the arches of the building of the Viterbo Foundation with his painting, “modifying its architecture and giving new life to the portico.”
He tells us that he is reminded of the historical Castellana floods, which are still ever-present in the memory and psyche of its inhabitants. In his paper “Flood history in the karst environment of Castellana-Grotte,” author Mario Parise says that “The oldest part of the town lies at the bottom of a karst valley, which was hit by many flood events in the last centuries.” Later, he calls to mind the scenes created in this new mural, “Karst areas represent a very distinct type of environment, with marked local and regional differentiation of ecosystems and geotopes that are expressed by their specific morphology, hydrographic and ecological characteristics.”
Awer has described his work online as being “dominated by irregular streams of parallel lines that, as if moved by waves of a sound rhythm, spread brightly like energy trails.” Naturally, or supernaturally, this new mural for @libervia_dipintidistoria perfectly mimics the earth and perhaps the topography of the mind as well.
“The vibrant dance climbs up the building enclosing itself in a vortex that opens a portal to the abyss,” Awer says, “an invitation to the underground worlds that the city of Castellana mysteriously hides in the dark depths of ITS caves a bit like each of us, an invitation to seek out one’s dark side unknown to so many, what could be the best of us.”
Two Rome-based architects/designers named Lorenzo Pagliara and Gianmaria Zonfrillo are our featured artists today as they bent perception with their new piece called Wireframe. In part two of our public art posting that began yesterday the artists have worked with the locals to beautify this public space.
As an art project, the two call themselves Motorefisico. Here they work with a consortium of public organizations and local residents to “redevelop abandoned areas located in the municipality of Santa Croce di Magliano through the implementation of urban regeneration interventions developed with the involvement of the local community.”
The word “wireframe” may be familiar to anyone who has worked in digital 3D, as any object without its skin is referred to as such. Here they create an illusionary installation around a tennis court to appear as if it is surrounded by four wireframe walls. “The artwork is based on visual and optical composition,” they say, ‘aiming at giving the illusion that the tennis court sinks underground when viewed from above.”
In this age of increasing polarization, you may be cheered by the work of the artist collective Guerilla Spam, who invests their time and creative efforts into connecting communities with each other, with art, with history – across generations of citizens in Italy. Today we bring you Part One of a two-part installation they’ve just completed here in S. Croce di Magliano.
Created in November 2010 in Florence as a spontaneous, unauthorized form of resistance and protest in urban spaces Guerilla Spam works in schools, juvenile communities, reception centers, and prisons, among other places. Here they created workshops to identify the needs of the community and to understand its identity.
A combination of elbow grease and philosophy, the project repairs and restores public places to improve their usability and hopefully teach young people and local talents to respect the urban environment – and possibly honor the cultural heritage of the community.
This project, “Border light” is a cultural intersection of communal creations that are located in three strategic areas of S. Croce di Magliano. Today we look at a two-part artwork that transforms a skating rink of the former sports center and, cleverly, its access stairs.
“The interventions have in common the theme of the ‘path’,” says Guerilla Spam, “namely the path that leads, in a metaphorical sense, to popular knowledge, symbolized in both cases by a source of water. In a more concrete sense, this path leads to the very exploration of the artwork that can be crossed, touched, and used.”
The stairway is called “The staircase of the knowledge“. At the top of the staircase is an inscription “Ancora imparo”, symbolizing that “even at the end of the path, one never stops learning; this is because knowledge is a continuous, lifelong process.”
On the main stage is the Labyrinth representing the more complex path that life can take, and how difficult it can be to reach the water; the source of knowledge and life. “This indicates how reaching popular knowledge can be really hard, as it requires reading up and talking to elderlies, namely those sources of knowledge that might be lost if they are not allowed to hand down what they know.”
When we consider the role of the citizen in society, the interdependence of every participant eventually comes into play. It determines what direction we go, despite what your neighborhood anarchist might have you think.
Similarly, as one is studying the numerous elements at play in the natural world, the dynamics of interdependence among all the actors is even more apparent and evident. The whole is only possible by collaboration, and the result is often spectacular – perhaps because trees don’t have egos. Or do they?
Study this new illustration-style ecosystem by artists Fabio Petani and Luogo Comune (Jacopo Ghisoni) in Turin, and you’ll think about the showy prowess of the tree during all the seasons and the industrial guile of the insects that are always at work. Not to anthropomorphize too much, but the natural world seems full of characters – like the people you see on city streets. It is an ecosystem formed from need, often mutual.
“Plants need insects, just as insects need plants to be able to feed, find shelter and reproduce,” the artists say in a statement – and they explain that the collaborative process of painting together is an additional layer to the story.
“This theme is further explored from the formal point of view by the artists who have worked in synergy, creating a composition where the two styles mix, interact and compensate each other.”
On the Campus Einaudi and working with the ToNite Project, Petani and Comune say that their compositional interpretation is entirely considered and pertinent to the ecosystem as an interaction between plants and insects. “Here, insects play a non-secondary role compared to the plants represented and are juxtaposed in the composition as necessary otherness for the flora.”
If you are ever looking for an artist to paint your basketball court, Giulio Vesprini has that on lockdown. This is his seventh court project in recent years. Also, it would be helpful if your court is in Italy.
Calling this court of many colors “G O A L – Struttura G070” in Sant’Elpidio a Mare in Castellano, Italy, Vesprini says he has grown fond of these projects because he feels like he upgrades each small community when he creates and paints a unique scheme for each one. The artist says he believes that the courts create a sense of character for some neighborhoods and that the park itself becomes a meeting point between culture, sport, and nature.
This park already has a noted feature; “The park is famous for its astronomical observatory and my work pays homage to this fantastic place with its surrounding landscape by observing the moon, the sea, the beautiful countryside and the Via Lactea (Milky Way).”
Many thanks to: City Hall of Sant’Elpidio a Mare city Mayor: Alessio Terrenzi Sport Assessor: Alessio Pignotti.
Intergenerational conflict ebbs and flows through history – and right now, along with so many other points of societal contention, it appears to be flowing.
In a matter of a decade, for example, the term “Baby Boomer” has transformed from something to be admired to the shortened term “Ok Boomer”. Coined by their own progeny – it is meant as a dismissive, even contemptuous disregard of the generation born after WWII. Sort of ironic, given the rebellious young hippies that the Boomers once were, to see them openly derided by Millenials.
And the youth… ahh, the youth. They’ve been bothersome for years – or centuries, to be exact. 4th Century B.C.E. carries a quote from rhetoric by Aristotle about those darn kids:
“[Young people] are high-minded because they have not yet been humbled by life, nor have they experienced the force of circumstances. … They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it.”
While we aren’t sure what the backstory is of this new photo-pasted mural by the Italian street artist Bifido, one may surmise the screaming old and young subjects have reached a tipping point in the high-intensity arguments that occur between generations. Added to this fight is that the one the young artist tells us surrounded it’s installation here in Sicily, Italy.
“This piece is the fruit of many days of work. Work often hindered both by the hosting community and by the very people who commissioned it. It was a process made up of arguments, silences and distances difficult to bridge. During my stay, many times I changed my mind about what I was going to do and I finally decided to honor some teenagers I met there, without whom I couldn’t have done anything. Those teenagers come up every single day against a narrow-minded and short-sighted mindset which they stubbornly try to change.”
It sounds like it was a very intense experience, and yet we all know the fervor the artist speaks of. Diplomats also council that the only way forward is usually some form of compromise.
“So, no compromises,” says Bifido of his experience. The name of the work also indicates the rancor that can lead us to wars – again it rings through the centuries; “everything changes but you’re always the same shit”
The patrimonial value given to ruins: the unusual, vaguely explained, and hardly registered constellation of architectural behemoths that are sprinkled through Sicily may be hardly prized, yet a new art project seeks to bring them into the fold. “Incompiuto Siciliano”, a rather tongue-in-cheek title in the naming convention of architecture and its pantheon, is the name given to these incomplete buildings, nearly 350 of them.
Financial boondoggles of official and unofficial corruption during the last half-century or so, 160 of them are in Sicily, these incomplete water towers, hospitals, sports centers, and recreational building projects that rewarded those who conceived of them and washed money with them.
Quizzically they dot the countryside, giving communities colorful and incomplete stories to tell, and they may not contribute to history in the same manner as more famous structures that the country is known internationally for.
Now a public art project seeking to adopt these orphaned buildings, the organizers of the “Incompiuto Siciliano” (Incomplete Sicilian) project say they are locating, registering, studying, and preserving them. Now they seek to regale these empty shells, these brutalist towers in the rolling green, and welcome them into communities.
Calling upon the calligraphic prowess and the talent for the written word of the Mexican painter Said Dokins, organizers say he was asked to intervene, conclude, or redefine one of these incomplete buildings. Today we bring you his exhausting works that cover the outward-facing visages of this confrontational arrangement of modern century fragmentation.
“It is made up of four Kubrickian monoliths that form a cross, but that represents a trick, a whirlwind of power, money, and politics,” says the press release. Never functional, they are nonetheless structural. By delving into the area’s history and that of Trapani, a small city on this Italian island of Sicily, Said creates his own complex tribute.
Below the images are descriptions of the project provided by the artist.
Part – 1 The Prisoner
The “X”, conformed by gold and silver letters on a deep greenback, is presented as a symbol of cancellation, a way to cross out the logic of Incompiuto, through the re-writing of two ancient texts where the political language expands across time. The first one is the heartfelt call of a trapanese prisoner in Tunisia. It’s the last letter from Alberto Gaetani to his sister, dated in 1776, asking her to intercede for his life so he could go back home. The second text is a Trapanese Facio Communist manifesto, in which they described the rights workers should have access to. Their revolutionary demand, without a doubt, resists all that the Incompiuto stands for.
Part – 2 The Dialectal Poet Of Trapani
Dokins takes the words from the Trapanese poet, Giuseppe Marco Calvino, bringing to our time his poem “U seculu decimu nonu“, a sharp critic on power abuse released more than 200 years ago. The artist plays with the contrast between the monumentality of his calligraphy in white and gold, which attributes to the text a sense of dignity and a voice of authority denied to the popular language used to write this poem, originally in Trapanese dialect.
Part – 3 The Slaves
The artist takes a series of writings from the 18th century that contains a list of names, along with their physical characteristics and the work they did. It was a slave inventory. Dokins rewrites those names, making them appear in some sort of binnacle, a huge reticular design that resembles the motherboard of a computer, refer to the new cataloging and control systems, new ways to perpetuate the slavery logic in contemporary social relations.
Part – 4 The Rose Window
Through the stylization of the iconic rose window of the church of Sant Agostino in Trapani, where symbolic elements of the three principal monotheist religions – Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam- can be found coexisting in the same sanctuary, Said Dokins turns the profane, an abandoned concrete wall, in a sacred place. The juxtaposition of traditions and cults reflected in the rose window, it’s an example of the cultural diversity that converges in the Sicilian territory, with its tensions and clash. The composition is constructed by the repetition of the sentence: “Everywhere I write is a sacred place”. Writing becomes a ritual act that serves the artist to dislocate the separation between the sacred and the earthly.
“Late-stage capitalism”? Too heavy; sounds sort of industrial, like that Goth kid in college with the thick-soled boots and big words. “Apocalypse” sounds inspirational, aspirational, so NOW.
Now, from Milan, Italy, comes the “Apocalypse Trilogy”, at least the first two parts, courtesy of two other smart kids in your street art class, Francesco Garbelli and Biancoshock. Together this pair is staging a trio of uncommissioned, unapproved, and unapologetic public art installations featuring flowers as the protagonists.
“The series talks about issues related to the globalization era, the consumerism, and the imminent environmental disaster,” they explain. “Each installation presents paradoxical scenarios” – as we will see here. Aside from their symbolic visual messages that are on-target, you’ll also appreciate that in this age of co-opting and corporate green-washing, the artists also create fictional sponsors who can’t resist proudly taking credit – and shooting themselves in the foot at the same time.
Partly inspired by satire and movies, the first two installations of the “Apocalypse Trilogy” are called “Super Size Flowers” and “Engulf and Devour”.
Apocalypse Trilogy: #1 Super Size Flowers
“A series of flowers, handmade by the artists, that grows ‘obesely’ into a public green area directly,” is meant to welcome you to your favorite omnipresent fast food restaurant, sponsored and managed by the fictional Father of all Fast Foods.
With many western societies facing ever-increasing rates of obesity, they suggest that even the flowers have put on a little extra weight. The artists say they are targeting “a system that has transformed the eating habits of millions of people with no exclusion, thanks to strategies and services dedicated to all age groups; with menus containing surprises for the little ones, parties with entertainment, seats with video games, free Wi-Fi, drive-through service and so on.”
“The future pandemic has been served, without having to get out of your car.”
Apocalypse Trilogy: #2 Engulf & Devour
Inspired by the name of a fictional company in a 1976 Mel Brooks movie, this installation features hundreds of flowers “imprisoned in rusty cages.” A reference to intensive farming methods that surpass the past methods in ways that harm, effectively de-naturing and poisoning our natural systems to extract resourses – even flowers – the artists say this simple installation “is configured as a metaphor for a certain – and dominant – way of interpreting the economy.”
Sponsored and managed by the fictional Engulf & Devour company, the caged flowers represent “the idea of infinite growth that is in stark contrast to the correct perception of our planet which, on the contrary, is finite by its nature,” they tell us.
“The image of these herded flowers deprived of their living space inevitably recalls the theme of intensive farming – or the notorious wet markets, and their modus operandi.”
Suffer from migraines? Troubled love life? Unhappy with how your children turned out?
The Italian street artist has created this new old guy on the wall of an abandoned tobacco factory here in the small village of Gambettola in the north of the country. He’s pensive and possibly despairing for sure, possibly because he worked at this factory for decades, Bifido surmises.
“A life at work, a life without life. Life in your free time, spent being entertained in some refreshing recreational activity,” he says.
“I often think of the concept of free time. I hate free time. It is the charity of a society that wants us to be slaves. full with a sweat that exhausts us, without giving joy. Making a work on the concept of work for me meant expressing all my dissent against this absurd idea that work (as mere sustenance) gives meaning to our life.”
Surely there is something redeeming to be said of a lifetime of work in a tobacco factory, but Bifido was not feeling cheerful today. Well, at least he feels more positive about his own work, he tells us. “Making art is my job and I love it.”
A Land Art Installation Dedicated to the Dichotomous Power of Water.
Here in Stigliano, Italy, the area and the people have been seriously impacted, often in negative ways, by several landslides over the last 50 years – including the second largest canyon landslide in Europe in 2014. Events like these can cause casualties, heartbreak, property damage, and severe economic loss.
A new golden installation by street artist/land artist Gola Hundun studies the natural flow and recreates it – drawing attention to the role of water, rains, and the hand of man diverting and distorting natural systems.
As is common for Hundun’s artworks and installations, this one looks at the relationship of conflict between humans and the planet – as well as the dichotomy of water; giving us life and being an enormous destructive force at the same time.
Hundun tells us that this new work attempts to reconcile the life-giving and the life-destroying qualities of water. Referring to a Japanese tradition called Kintsugi, he says, this work “sublimates the fracture and highlights the element of reconciliation.”
“Kintsugi consists of 480 square meters of golden satin, sewn by the seamstresses of Stigliano following the artist’s instructions, which recall the shape of a stream of a river that stands out inside the canyon and creeps up to the ruins of the architectural structure most affected by the landslide, emblem of the hand of man forcibly inserted into the natural context.”
GOLA HUNDUN “KINTSUGI” Gola Hundun at AppARTEngo Festival 2021 Stigliano (IT)