‘Abstractism’ is a research project on the avant-garde mural that will be displayed in Rome, at Galleria Varsi, from 18 February to 9 March.
We had the chance to talk with the event’s curators who have told us how they started, the stories of the 21 street artists participating in their project and what they expect from the future.
Altrove was born in 2014, what are the values that have inspired you and how they have changed during the three years of the Festival?
We started to organize an event in Catanzaro as if we were in Berlin, going to look for opportunities rather than focusing on critical issues. We wanted to break down that sense of inferiority which is the greatest limitation of our territory and instill in people a sense of possibility.
The first edition of the festival was almost an experiment, but today we are here, with three editions behind and an art gallery. Our work is a constant research; we consistently work to improve the quality of interventions.
Catanzaro is now one of the Italian capitals of street art with more than 40 murals, what about the residents?
In the beginning, they were excited about the initiative, but without going too much into the nature of the choices and actions that we were doing in town. Now there is a greater awareness, for many Altrove has become a source of pride.
Your project involves many street artists, what unites and what differentiates them instead?
“Abstractism” represents a crucial step in our artistic path; it contains the work of more than twenty artists who in recent years have gone from Catanzaro and have found a place where they feel free to experiment. “Abstractism” is an expression of a confrontation, a witness to our shared values.
Do you think that the way to communicate street art still retains its critical and contemporary loads in an era of new media, social networks, and new technologies?
If you think about street art as an instrument of communication equal to the digital media, then the game is not played either. For us it is different, the art in the public space should ask questions rather than give answers.
Last year for the exhibition “Street Art. Banksy & Co. – The art to urban status”, BLUE, to preserve his works, decided to delete them from the city as a sign of protest. The episode itself was much more complicated and exciting, but gave us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning, even forcing us to ask ourselves a question: it makes sense to bring street art in galleries, or it is an art that must be designed exclusively for the urban landscape? How can exhibits tell this art form?
We do not deal with provocations. Fortunately, we know many artists with a higher sensitivity needed to work in the urban space, in the common area. The Galleries should have the pleasure to propose this kind of art, they have to become a point of reference for the growth of the artists and a moment where the movement and the people come into contact.
What do you expect from this event and what are your prospects for the coming years?
We would like to convey to our visitors the sense of research of the artists on display and make them enter into our world, guiding them to a location that allows our vision of contemporary art and our approach to urban space. In recent years we have put very much on the plate, and in the coming years, we want to maintain the projects underway.
We are already planning the fourth edition of the festival.
‘Abstractism‘ collects the works of many artists who are rethinking street art, abandoning the figurative style, approaching more to the idea of a significant interaction between sign and architecture, gesture and geometry. How the city embrace this type of work?
Our experience is positive, the reactions of the people greatly surprised us, from the elderly woman facing the wall by Clemens Behr and exclaims “Architectural” to the writer from Catanzaro who in the black work of 108 sees the representation of the world.