Art Mosa87’s neo-archaeology

Mosa87’s neo-archaeology

Tommaso Berra

Still through March 11 it will be possible to discover the work of artist Mosa87 presented in Spectrum‘s new Milan store. On the occasion of the exhibition asked the artist what he means by “neo-archaeology” and about the seemingly difficult relationship between graffiti art and street art, and the tendency of the latter to have become more and more an art gallery phenomenon by tying itself less and less to the streets.

1. Your research is closely related to the underground and urban scene. How did you approach this world?
I started graffiti at the age of 13, 14. I was therefore fascinated very early on by environments such as the subway, abandoned places, as well as places abandoned by large cities. For me urban culture is the dominant culture, present in our everyday lives and therefore inspires me on a daily basis. The tag is by definition underground because it’s made by strangers who don’t care about making money in opposition to the street art that we see everywhere today.

2. What was your first approach to art? Did you start right away with spray
cans on city walls as a writer and street artist?

My first approach was by mimetism. I wanted to copy what I saw in the street. Gradually I understood the rules of the game and started painting Mosa’s name on the walls.

3. The street holds the sign of our passage on Earth. The very structure of cities reflects our culture, our habits and our progress. With the spray can you leave your personal mark, the wall becomes your canvas, what do you intend to communicate with this style?
Above all, painting with a spray can is linked to my personal pleasure. The line, the body, the movement are the main interests of my practice. I am a tagger. What interests me is movement mainly, which is why I wanted to develop a choreographic system around the practice of tag. For a very long time my interest has been to shock and to always go further in the ways of putting my name in style, therefore quality and quantity. In every city in the world. Now what interests me are the political tags of a social nature that stand out from the aesthetic quality but have a deep message. This is a new opening on my work.

4. We know you are an eclectic artist. In addition to works on walls, you also make sculptures, paintings and videos. How do you choose different types of mediums?
We live in a time when it is easy to find the medium that suits us. By this I mean that technologies help us to free our creation. So I use the medium in line with my ideas, with my concepts. There are so many ways to transcribe our sensitivity that I don’t want to imprison it in a box. For example, if I want to talk about vacant lots I can do it in a sound way. I will use a microphone that will record the sound of stones and footsteps as well as birds in the sky. There is therefore no limit to creation with the mediums that I use. I think it is important for artists from the culture of the tag specifically to be able to free themselves from the codes and thus offer the public and more especially those of contemporary art a larger, open and sensitive vision of the urban world. Being a tagger is a philosophy, walking the streets stealing your bombs, getting by in a hostile environment. It is a very complete way of life and therefore it must transcribe when one enters the field of contemporary art all its facets of this environment little known in truth. Street artists would have us believe that doing street art is fun and cool. In truth it’s the opposite, wandering the streets at night, crossing abandoned spaces, meeting drug addicts, prostitutes drinking alcohol to keep warm. The way of life this way of making art is dark. I want my art to reflect this reality. To do this, I use all the mediums at my disposal to transcribe this way of life, this energy. This is what I embody. That’s what I want to give to the public, with my vision of a 35-year-old adult living in 2023.

5. How do you feel about the increasing phenomenon of street art moving
into more institutional venues such as galleries?

For me, street art is a basket in which we put artists who make graffiti, pochoir, muralists… It’s a patchwork of different urban activities. Very often used by institutions. It’s a mainstream movement. Because of my practice as a tagger, I find myself in opposition to this movement. Although there are many common points, such as painting with the same material and using one’s body to paint on large walls, for example. For my part, I tried to avoid getting into this movement as much as possible. What I miss in street art is the conceptual thinking, the questioning of the graffiti movement and too often the lack of aesthetic proposal when moving from the street to the gallery. In my opinion, far too many street artist and graffiti artists think that their past as graffiti writers is enough to legitimize their status as gallery artists. You have to do a real work, renew yourself while keeping your ethics. As a tagger, the challenge lies there for me. Once this shift has been made, it is then a question of expressing oneself and keeping one’s coherence and urban energy. 

6. What do you mean by Neo Archaeology? The title of your series, now also landed in Milan at SPECTRUM.
Neo-archeologia is a series of sculptures. The idea is to find fragments of objects in abandoned places that I cross while going to tag. These objects are then brought back to the workshop and transformed, to give them a new life. This form of contemporary archeology thus allows me to create a work of science fiction around its objects and thus to be able to create scenarios which come to feed my artistic work. History, archaeology, science fiction are the central themes of this Neo-archéologia series. Here in Milan I present version 3.0. Neo-archéologia wants to be a cycle of work, a method, a way of making visible and alive the abandoned places mainly due to the gentrification of our cities. So it’s a way for me to talk about tag, heritage and ultimately the relationship to our spaces in our big cities as well as our relationship to objects and our consumption. It’s a work process that allows me to walk the streets of different cities and give them back their uniqueness. My way of working allows me to adapt to each geography. It is also a way for me to discover the culture, the legacies of our past, of our civilizations.

7. Can you reveal something about your next project? Which city would you like to “mark” with your
works and why?

My next big project is a solo show in Paris. I would like to travel to South America. From what I see, from what I know, on this continent has a very strong culture and identity It is a region of the world that I would like to meet. I hope one day very soon.

Mosa87 |
Written by Tommaso Berra
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