empathy

Naughty & Nice: A Doubleheader

A double show featuring the Italian artist Giacomo Spazio is currently on display at Open WallsStattbad-Wedding's exhibition venue. But why a double show? Even the visitors seemed somewhat confused when they came across The Spring Show | 13 Italian Contemporary Artists, which Giacomo stars as curator and To Be With You Is All I Need, his simultaneous solo show.

GALLERIES: TO BE WITH US IS ALL YOU NEED! 
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In the first part of the space, the Italian urban art panorama presents the work of thirteen artists. While their practice varies between graphic design, photography, painting and sculpture, they all share the similar aesthetic of pop subcultures. 

Home Away From Home

Giacomo's curatorial text reads: “At this very moment in our history, I don’t think anyone is able to claim with certainty what Art is or what it is not, nor which direction it is taking. The only thing we know for sure is that in this new century, Art is assuming any kind of shape and from now on it will no longer be an exclusive privilege of a few elite people.” According to him, many Italian urban artists decide to leave their country to achieve their career goals. Which is the case of Bo130, who lived 10 years in between NYC and London, Microbo and Anna Muzi who also spent a season in the British capital and Vins Grosso, currently living in Berlin. 

Vincenzo 'Vins' Grosso and his work: the artist from The Spring Show currently lives in Berlin. Photo: Chris Phillips

"There are not so many collectors for this kind of art. It doesn’t have space in Italy, so they have to leave the country." For him, the Italian artists keep on expressing "the reality from their own vision," but there is a system that needs to be overthrown: "What we lost is the institutional contact. Art happens for private people."

Poetry & Politics

To Be With You Is All I Need may sound pretty romantic but don't be fooled: it also brings a political statement. Held in a separate room, it creates the impression of one entering an exclusive backstage; a dark room inducing a feeling of trespassing. With stage lighting, black walls and obstacles on the ground – yes, obstacles – our eyes come into an attraction-indecision between the beautiful pieces on the walls and the instinct to avoid a stumble. Be it a poetic piece or a political work approaching copyright with cynicism, Giacomo’s fluorescent colors jump out of the black walls. 

Giacomo Spazio's questions the copyright. Photo: Chris Phillips

Born in 1957 in Milan, Giacomo has been part of the Italian underground culture for over 40 years. I confess I was a little bit apprehensive to talk to him, expecting an aggressive figure compatible to someone who was part of the punk counterculture. Fortunately, I was wrong. Spazio is a rather quiet and kind gentleman and, although it is far from being the first time he manifests in Berlin, he can't help expressing his excitement with the experience.

Giacomo Spazio's in front of his work featuring the Australian rock band HTRK. Photo: Chris Phillips

Regarding alternative artistic expression, he says there is no possible comparison between what happens here and in the Italian scene. He exemplified observing interesting aspects among cities: In Turin, "our Detroit," he said that large institutions are partnering with smaller, so there is more independent art covered. He admires the feeling of freedom scattered in Berlin and feels delighted to present his work for the German viewers: "Berlin is more powerful. There are so many young people trying to express themselves and doing new things in this clash of cultures."

Article by Bel Borst