As Lleida has discovered, the murals that we place in public these days can have a contemporary finish that is professional. Perhaps that is why this Catalonian city in Spain has begun in the historic center of this city, a storied place that is documented back to the Bronz Age. Here the traditions of past artisans are revered, studied and emulated – with the new vocabularies still determining the tenor.
Today we share a few of the new walls at the Lleida Pot Fest, a collection of the new generation of mainly figurative painters who go large scale and then go home.
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.
A valiant and revolutionary woman and winner of the Nadal Prize for literature in 1952, Delores Medio gets new life here at the 2020 Parees mural festival. Painted by artist Lidia Cao, the character of the writer comes through, a veiled portrait of her personality, her intensity.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Doug Gillen/Fifth Wall TV: Is New Brighton a future model for the British Sea Side Town? 2. Lidia Cao. Tribute to Dolores Medio. Parees Fest 2020 3. INDECLINE: On Second Thought. A reflection on gun violence in collaboration with artist David Fay.
BSA Special Feature: Visit a Sea Side Town with Doug Gillen
You can’t really send out a gilded invitation to your cousin Gentrification to come visit and be surprised when his emotionally draining wife and video-game playing snot-nosed kids are in the car with him. When you use words like “platform” to describe art-washing of a town, and your organization has a “brand director”, there won’t be much surprise when the moneyed professionals complain that music at the curated-bar across the street is keeping their new baby awake at night.
Doug at Fifth Wall is more surreptitiously stealthy than ever, gradually upping his stealthy-stealthitude as he lets this story basically tell itself while posing as a merely curious art-fan.
The story is literally everywhere you look right now, and apolitical, non-confrontational Street Art and murals are almost always intercedent. A small town is sucked dry after decades of neo-liberal economics and back-room political deals, leaving a godless lot feeling listless and depressed without prospects for the future. Broad strokes, but you’ve undoubtedly heard the concept proffered by real estate investors that comes next.
“Yes there’s a commercial side to it but there is also very much a community element to what we’ve been doing,” says one male voice as the camera scans some run-down architecture with good bones and historical character. They’ve been buying up properties and “introducing a new independent concept into them”.
You predict what comes in this chapter; small portions of fussy food, art galleries, street art, vinyl!, kooky cafes with drip coffee and cold brew, clever grandma-anti-fashion fashion, artisanal cheeses, greater police presence and the occasional night-time social cleansing of hardscrabble types pushed into other neighborhoods.
Next step, edgy
lifestyle brands will need some quirky space to set up shop.
trying to keep the big boys out of our little part of town.”
“2020 is a year calling out for change,” says Doug in his wrap-up, but he knows this particular model is not at all new. It’s still a reaction to the devastation, and we all seem to be trapped in it. Even so, this can be a kind of rejuvenation that many small towns would ache for and there is reason to think that the formula can be configured to be more just to those who will get displaced – if you’re dedicated to it.
And your cousin Gentrification could be cool to hang out with, even if his very classy wife gently insults your wife and the décor of your home and the food you eat and the music you listen to.
Doug Gillen/Fifth Wall TV: Is New Brighton a future model for the British Sea Side Town?
Lidia Cao. Tribute to Dolores Medio. Parees Fest 2020
Lidia Cao paints a portrait of Dolores Medio, the Spanish writer, teacher, and journalist for the Parees Festival in Spain in this short video by Titi Muñoz.
INDECLINE: On Second Thought. A reflection on gun violence in collaboration with artist David Fay.
600 decommissioned weapons were
combed over and refashioned by Las Vegas based artist David Fay into this
semi-kinectic sculpture that recalls Rodin’s “The Thinker”. In an America that
is fascinated by weapons, at least in movies and television, this sculpture may
make people think, or not.
Here’s something to look forward to! A good solid regional actual mural festival celebrating its fourth edition, and one that we are proud to support. For those not able to travel, BSA will bring you the process, the art and the flavor and color of the locals with Fer Alcala and Mira Hacia Atras gorgeous photos.
Here are JPGs of the press materials from the Parees Oviedo mural intervention festival in Spain. We’ll bring you the murals as they go up next month.