CHEAP Street Poster Art in Rome

CHEAP Street Poster Art in Rome

Giulia Guido · 2 years ago · Art

A few days ago the 16th edition of Short Theatre, the international festival dedicated to contemporary creation and performing arts, started in Rome. Several places in the capital will be transformed and will be the background of initiatives, installations and live performances: from Teatro Argentina to Teatro India, from Teatro del Lido di Ostia to La Pelanda – Mattatoio di Roma and many other urban spaces.
This year’s edition is entitled The Voice This Time and features CHEAP Street Poster Art, a Bologna-based collective founded in 2013 by six women as a poster art festival that has evolved over the years into a larger project. 

CHEAP inaugurated Reclaim Your Future on 6 September at la Pelanda, an installation composed of different flags made by different artists. On the occasion of their participation in Short Theatre, we were lucky enough to ask the collective a few questions about their work. Read the interview below and follow CHEAP and Short Theatre on Instagram. 

Hi, we’ve been following you for a long time and we’ve already talked about CHEAP Street Poster Art on, but tell us how this project came about and what your background is.

CHEAP was born from the creative understanding of 6 women. In 2012, we were interested in working on the urban landscape and doing so by investigating paste-up, poster sticking and all the ways of being in the street using paper as a tool: a way of crossing public space that for us was the definition of the ephemeral, of a series of anti-monumental gestures, an idea of the contemporary that has a lot to do with temporariness – public art is not only measured in centimetres, but also in seconds.

From 2013 to 2017, for 5 editions, CHEAP worked with paper, flirted with the ephemeral, solicited contemporary narratives on the urban landscape, contributed to the discourse on public space. And it did so with the festival format: every May and for ten days, we welcomed 5 international guest artists invited to make site-specific interventions, in different neighbourhoods of the city. 

At the same time, we installed a thousand posters arrived in response to the call for artists on the notice boards of the streets of the centre; these actions were complemented by block parties in the street and a series of events within in a network of places given to independence.

CHEAP Street Poster Art

In January 2018, the end of this experience was announced. We kept the annual call for artists, a segment inherited from the festival that remained important to us because it was open and participatory. We have changed the way in which we intervene in the street: we do not announce ourselves, we do not give ourselves deadlines, we work in a more projectual and focused way, with the feeling of having escaped the meat grinder of the festival and its not exactly virtuous dynamics. Today we are a permanent laboratory, we express a more complex vision, we are in the public space with a different awareness: our action has become sharper.

What does the installation presented at Short Theatre 2021 consist of?

The installation for Short Theatre picks up the concept of an installation already realised in Bologna, in January 2020 during the ArteFiera and Art City week: we opened for four days a private space that had been empty for years, one of the many in the city centre, a historical centre that is now karstic, where unused spaces are multiplying in spite of an ever-growing real estate market that is disconnected from the real plan.

For the occasion we had covered the space with thermal blankets, often the first emergency support that migrants receive from the rescue boats in the Mediterranean that NGOs, associations and free citizens organise and finance to try to save us from this madness of rejections: blankets are an object that has entered our visual hypertext as a symbol of certain forms of welcome, solidarity and care towards those who cross the sea and arrive on the Italian coast, on the edge of Europe.

The space thus set up had become a golden, reverberating and luminous box, whose surface was ambiguous, attractive and repelling at the same time, unheimlich. Within this alienating set, we had installed flags made for the occasion by a few dozen artists*, who had been asked, as a curatorial suggestion, to attempt to short-circuit the structures of meaning of the flag, a medium usually entrusted with a narrative made up of borders, national identities and post-colonial visions: the installed flags proposed us as bodies, as bridges, never as walls, in the physical space of the temporary that already replicated an imaginary of border crossings, perhaps even of borders as projections, therefore of projections to be deconstructed.

CHEAP Street Poster Art

Today we are resuming this conversation that began in January 2020, a dialogue made intermittent by the pestilence we experienced immediately afterwards: we are bringing the same concept to Rome for Short Theatre, with a set adapted to the context that hosts us and we are asked to haunt.

We change the flags that this time have been selected among the works of some* artists* who participated in the annual call for artists organized by CHEAP, an invitation that we have been addressing for years to international visual artists* to create posters that we select and put up in the streets of Bologna: The posters, adapted as flags for the occasion, are by Angie Russo, Bbraio, Carol, Giorgia Lancellotti, Infinite, La Catrina, Laura Berdusco, Noe Gamma, Pamela Rotondi, Pride Off, Rita Colosimo, Valeria Quadri.

Can we define RECLAIM YOUR FUTURE as a space for sharing? Does art need more experiences of aggregation?

We cannot say whether art should be asked to aggregate. We relate with the artistic medium also to open dialogues, given the specificity of our context of intervention: we work in public space, a space in which citizenship is expressed, projected, performed; a space that is empty if those who cross it and inhabit it are missing, sharing is the conditio sine qua non of our action.

Is public art such as CHEAP’s one of the latest forms of activism?

CHEAP also acts out activism. In our common sense, art (contemporary or not) can also do this: question the status quo, express conflict, share visions.

Our practice also has a political dimension: CHEAP acts a re-appropriation of public space and does so by infesting the walls with posters, redefining new contemporary visual languages, generating unexpected dialogues with those who cross and inhabit the urban environment.

Feminist energies, decolonial desires and counter-hegemonic strategies flow through our project: where the city puts up barriers on the basis of gender, class and race, CHEAP practices a symbolic conflict by making public art (also) a place of struggle.

CHEAP Street Poster Art
CHEAP Street Poster Art
CHEAP Street Poster Art

PH: Claudia Pajewksi

CHEAP Street Poster Art in Rome
CHEAP Street Poster Art in Rome
CHEAP Street Poster Art in Rome
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Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth

Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth

Giorgia Massari · 2 months ago · Photography

In an era characterized by the uncontrollable proliferation of digital images, selfies, and the widespread use of filters that distort the perception of the contemporary world, photographer Federico Hurth captures an authentic portrait of youth, but one that is burnt out. His project, titled Wasted Youth, is a true reportage, or as Federico himself describes it, «a personal photographic diary in which I collect snapshots of carefree moments.» His strictly analog shots depict faces, bodies, and situations, always following «a damned, fashionable, artistic, musical aesthetic.» In Federico Hurth’s shots, the melancholy and inner rebellion of a generation emerge. Some of the shots from the project, which Federico has been working on since 2021, will be exhibited at the Doppia V Gallery in Lugano from October 20th to November 17th, in an exhibition curated by Francesca Bernasconi.

Federico Hurth’s photographs are devoid of any post-production manipulation, «if a photo has a flaw, I keep it that way. Precisely to maximize the authenticity of the moment,» the photographer tells us. Wasted Youth offers a glimpse into fragments of youthful lives lived intensely but, at the same time, in a way that may seem “wasted,” in line with the title of his project. The aesthetic, which oscillates between the glitter of glamour and the darkness of decay, reflects the complexity and uncertainty that the contemporary context offers to young people, who are at the mercy of looming precariousness.

In conclusion, quoting the words of curator Francesca Bernasconi, «Federico Hurth’s photographs are characterized by an intriguing immediacy and an instinctive and decisive formal exploration, strongly linked to the revolutionary aesthetics that emerged in the 1990s through the work of a generation of photographers, often, like Hurth, straddling the worlds of fashion and alternative artistic scenes.»

Courtesy Federico Hurth

Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth
Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth
Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth
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Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar

Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar

Anna Frattini · 1 month ago · Photography

We attended the unveiling of Lavazza’s new calendar, a project that takes us into an uncharted Africa, brimming with energy, experimentation, and a forward-looking spirit influenced by its culture and the diverse communities that inhabit it. Three photographers collaborated on this year’s calendar: Thandiwe Muriu from Kenya, Aart Verrips from South Africa, and the latest addition, Daniel Obasi, whom we had the privilege to interview. The theme of Africa as the birthplace of coffee remains strong, linked to the Giuseppe and Pericle Lavazza Onlus Foundation, founded in 2004 and now involved in thirty-three projects across three continents. With Nigerian roots and a holistic approach to photography, Daniel Obasi is a creative talent who seamlessly blends fashion styling, cinema, photography, and art direction to create captivating and distinctly African narratives. Here’s our interview with him.

How did you first get into photography?
I started photography because of my background in design, and for a while, I also dabbled in fashion styling. That’s when I got into photography. Additionally, I had an eye for certain subjects, and the practice of photography attracted me in a unique way. Working with other people was often challenging for me, so I decided to learn how to take photos on my own to share my exact vision with the world. For me, it’s more about a concept and an idea, which is at the core of my holistic approach to creativity.

How do you manage to blend art direction, fashion photography, and your work as a director?
By approaching each practice in a holistic way and considering them as one, it’s easier to navigate. I don’t think of them as separate components but rather focus on the end goal.

How do you apply Afrocentrism to fashion photography? Can it be seen as the primary vehicle for promoting messages of inclusivity and cultural appreciation?
Absolutely. The concept of Afrocentrism and photography go hand in hand, and in this context, we can also recognize fashion as an art form. Moreover, you can see how it’s all connected to a certain cultural background. There’s also another aspect that brings a bit of your history into it. Of course, it’s not what’s needed in every shot, but in some cases, it gives you a good idea of the process behind the photos I take.

How did you accept the commission for Lavazza’s calendar project?
On an ordinary day, I received an email from Lavazza’s team. I waited for a week and then decided to propose the concept of working together, of unity. Everything started from the photos that depicted the young people together on the beach. I’m a big fan of simplicity, and sometimes the most astonishing images come from the simplest ideas. These images, which centralize the theme, are, in my opinion, the most powerful because beneath all those layers, the simple idea of working as one shines through.

What are your primary sources of inspiration in photography, cinema, and fashion?
My inspiration always changes depending on where I am. Currently, I’m more interested in architecture and composition, so I’m trying to improve the way I use space. I’m studying Bauhaus, Gothic architecture, and the movement. Additionally, choreography and contemporary dance – actually, all forms of dance – are a significant source of inspiration for me. Love, the idea of being loved, losing love, and being in love also fascinates me greatly at this moment.

Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar
Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar
Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar
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Baran’s emotional portraits

Baran’s emotional portraits Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

Click when words fail is the name that the photographer Baran uses on social media and on her website. This phrase says a lot about her and her research. Words are often unable to return an emotion, communicate a feeling, or express it in the right terms. A photograph can do that. This happens to Mah (Baran) Mohammadasghari, a young Iranian photographer who immigrated to Canada, who begins to photograph as a therapeutic act. Her photographs, also published on Photo Vogue, are an authentic emotional and personal portrait. Her story and pain are reflected in every shot, whether it’s a self-portrait or a street photo. «I imagine my emotions and stories in a photographic way» says Baran that with her photographs she is able to convey human vulnerability and fragility.

Below each post of Baran, the photographer leaves a description always touching. A visual and narrative story of an emotion and it does so in a totally intimate and without filters. We had the pleasure of talking with her on the occasion of the exhibition Photography held last September at the Fondazione Matalon in Milan. The story that communicates with the shot on display is emblematic of her photographic research. «This shot is part of a self-portrait project called Bereavement, which I started after my mother’s death five months ago. In this photo I am with my cat, Toranj, who has been with me for 14 years.» Baran tells us, «I adopted her when I was in Iran and she also immigrated to Canada with me. We spend a lot of time together, as in this photo, especially when I don’t feel good emotionally and she understands it perfectly and is with me as much as I want.» The loss of her mother and the pain she suffered are recurring in Baran’s shots, as in my mom is back as a bird – the shot published by Vogue – which tells the moment when “she saw her mother fly away from the window“. «I saw her flying out of the window… forever… and I died… forever… It was 3 AM or 2 AM… I do not really recall… two days ago … or three … well feels like… 2 million years ago in my scattered heart…»

Scatto in mostra a Photography 2023
Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Mah (Baran) Mohammadasghari (@clickwhenwordsfail)

Courtesy Baran

Baran’s emotional portraits
Baran’s emotional portraits
Baran’s emotional portraits
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Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman

Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman

Anna Frattini · 1 month ago · Photography, Style

In Hamburg, there is an exhibition dedicated to Cindy Sherman‘s relationship with the world of fashion, titled ANTI-FASHION. The exhibition is taking place at the Falckenberg Collection, specifically at the Deichtor Hallen Internationale Kunst und Fotografie Hamburg. This exhibition traces the career and commissions of the American photographer by major brands and magazines. Chanel and Stella McCartney are just two of the brands that, along with some industry magazines, have commissioned Cindy Sherman for some of the photographs on display.

cindy sherman
 Untitled #462, 2007/2008 Private Collection Europe

The impressions created by Sherman in her photographs are far from glamorous, sexy, or elegant. Her work features subjects that are not traditionally desirable, and it certainly goes against the grain. Sherman uses fashion photography as a starting point to closely examine themes such as sex, gender, and age, demonstrating, but not limited to, these topics. Through the multitude of characters she portrays, Cindy Sherman shows us how the concept of identity is ever-changing and constantly evolving. In the accompanying critical text for the exhibition, the concept of (self-)constructed identity is discussed, which is a fluid concept that continues to challenge us even today.

cindy sherman
Untitled #602, 2019 Gilles Renaud Collection

There are numerous national and international contributions to this exhibition, the first dedicated to fashion in Cindy Sherman’s photographs. It includes 50 photographs from five decades of her career. ANTI-FASHION, curated by Alessandra Nappo, offers a unique opportunity to discover an unexpected aspect of Cindy Sherman, unveiling the influences and inspirations that the photographer has brought to the fashion world and how this influence continues to inspire entire generations of photographers.

cindy sherman
 Untitled #133, 1984 Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

The exhibition will remain open until March 3, 2024. Here you can find more informations on ANTI-FASHION.

ph. © Cindy Sherman

Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman
Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman
Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman
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