ME & MR. BRAINWASH

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The first time I’ve run into a Mr. Brainwash stencil I was in Paris with my wife. I was amused by the image of that man in a hat carrying a movie camera not far from a big size OBEY Angela Davis portrait. I took a couple of shots of Mr. Brainwash’s stencil. I like it. Two years later Mr. Brainwash would become a world famous street artist with his first personal exhibition in LA, Life Is Beautiful (2008). Almost thirteen years later, I have met by chance Mr. Brainwash in person, in front of Deodato Art Gallery, the  location he chose for his first Italian solo exhibition, Milan Is Beautiful. We said hello. We shook hands. And I told him about the discovery of the stencil in Paris in 2006. Very naturally Mr. Brainwash lent himself to an impromptu photo session in the street. Five shots – only one slightly blurred. Then each on his way…

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“A FRIEND” BY IBRAHIM MAHAMA

A Friend by Ibrahim Mahama, Milano, April 1, 2019_01 72

A Friend, an Ibrahim Mahama’s large-scale temporary installation (sponsored by Fondazione Nicola Trussardi/curated by curated by Massimiliano Gioni) in Milan. The Ghanese artist wrapped Porta Venezia Gateway with hundreds jute sacks. (Shots taken with Fuji X100)

<Through his research and the transformation of materials, Mahama investigates some of today’s most important issues: migration, globalization, and the circulation of goods and peoples across borders and between nations.> (A Friend press kit)

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ROMANTICKISS BY TD

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Observing the series of advertising posters modified directly in the street by artist TD it would be too easy to think about the music of KISS. But TD’s anarchist/punk approach suggests instead we combine his posters with Tricky’s urban rhythms. Armed with photocopies and a glue stick, TD transforms the dreamy boundaries of the aesthetics of Romanticism into a real provocation against the art system, which vacuumed the art born in the streets. Gene Simmons’s tongue caresses the vision of the past of modernity, then spits on it with the arrogance typical of punk. In front of a dog pound or in front of the city prison, TD’s RomanticKISS appears to rekindle the movement of Art.

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EAST END: FROM JACK LONDON’S EXPERIENCE TO BANKSY’S DISCIPLES

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The original idea for this photo project was to go looking for Jack London’s traces/footprints in the East End area – London visited the East End ‘hoods in the early twentieth century (see The People of the Abyss, 1903). Topography excepted, nothing remains of that early XXth century London.

Starting from the area of the docks and the London Docklands Museum (immortalized in the first two shots) I pursued my research in Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Whitechapel; very soon an initial disappointment was superseded by the curiosity for the “punk” scenarios/scenes that opened up in front of the lens (I shot with FujiFilm X30 and Fuji X100).

Maintaining a historic storytelling, I physically abandoned the first decade of the Twentieth Century and pushed myself closer, towards the present days. So, I discovered the disciples of Banksy (they could be disciples or… might very well be Mr. Banksy himself operating under new pseudonyms), along with melting pot scenes and punk/street attitude.

No Jack London traces were found, but I consider the famous American writer guided me in a subliminal way during a three-days photo walk. Without sinking into the abyss as he did – at the time, Jack London lived eighty days in the slums with the poorest people in London – I pushed myself beyond “the easy job” and I started to collect photos that interacted with each other (in pairs), turning the visual sketches into a document. Each couple of frames is a single voice in a wider story where social and architectural geometries blend or merge into each other.

London, late January 2019

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THE STREET TALKS VS. THE BUSINESS OF ART

Official Exhibition by Banksy, Milano, December 29, 2018_01 72

The street talks vs. the business of art. Italy criminalizes street art BUT supports the unofficial exhibition of an artist who belongs to the streets. [Shot taken with FujiFilm X30] #tvboy #banksy #streetart #nocompromise

ESPERIMENTO DI RESISTENZA

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Esperimento di Resistenza, Milano, November 10, 2018 [Samsumg EX-1]

BARRIO’S

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Barrio’s, Milano, late October 2018 [Fuji X100]