A text by Urban Forms Foundation introducing the performance experience of Taurus in Poland:
Opiemme is one of the most interesting contemporary street artists balancing at the edge of image, text and collective performance. His highly symbolic works consisting of images, geometric patterns, letters, and calligrams remind some historical movement as visual poetry, concrete poetry, and aesthetics of futurism. In 2015-2016 Opiemme completed three projects based on the idea of audience’s participation in the creation of the works. In each of these projects both the social and natural/urban landscape played an important role at the level of the performance, form of the work and its meaning.
The first of these performances, „Intralci – Hindrances”, took place in July 2015 during the festival AMBRIAJAZZ. Opiemme with an up-and-coming young jazz trombonists Gianluca Petrella created an unique show in the garden of a private villa in a small village, Castionetto di Chiuro, in northen Italy.
Against the background of a breathtaking mountain landscape Opiemme was pouring stripes of colorful paint down a large board while Petrella was playing the trombone. The public was invited to take part in the show and acted as the witness observing or rather experiencing the process of creation. Opiemme was hidden behind the board so people just saw hands holding bottles with paint and colors flowing down the surface. Music was following colors, colors were following sounds, music and art were dialoging with nature. After the show had ended people described it as a deep, multisensory, and psychedelic experience leading to a kind of trance. Music followed the colors, and colors followed the music.
In the performances of 2016 the audience played much more advanced role of a co-creator. “The stars guide him through the night” was completed with active participation of the students of a highschool in Imperia, Liguria, Italy. The collectively painted mural was a tribute to Felice Cascione – an Italian partisan who came from this town. Cascione is known to have written a famous partisan song titled “Fischia il vento” („The wind whistles”) in 1943.
Along with “Bella ciao” it is one of the most famous songs celebrating the resistance.
Around 30 young students using Opiemme’s stencils and brushes painted the mural on the school wall. They perceived it as a relaxing activity releasing them from stress of the last year exams and choices regarding future education. The mural changed the main entrance of the school. The project was much appreciated by students and teachers as well as by the local media.
The “Taurus” project was more complex. It was realized for the Urban Forms Foundation in September 2016 in one of the most neglected quarters of the city of Lodz, Poland, plagued by numerous socio-economic problems, such as inherited poverty, unemployment, or alcoholism. In the near future the location will be undergoing deep changes associated with the process of revitalization. The „Taurus” started with preparation of nearly 300 blown eggs, which were then filled with paint. Eggs were used for omelets – a treat for the residents during the information campaign at the location and the collective mural painting. Before the performance Opiemme painted a large black circle with the stenciled word WINA (BLAME). It was supposed to be covered by colorful paint cast by the participants.
Different groups of people took part in the action. “Bombs” with paint were thrown by children and adults, students, journalists, residents of neighboring houses, men who often drink beer in the nearby backyard and many others. In the interpretation of this happening a communitas category, introduced to the social sciences by Victor Turner, could be applied. In the condition of communitas the participants of the event are experiencing unexpected communalism emerging across boundaries and regardless of their status in everyday life. It is a temporary phenomenon of an anti-structural nature that may be invoked by the performative actions similar the Taurus performance.
Filling the black circle with colors and application of the two new words – OPPORTUNITIES (możliwości in Polish) and DESTINY, that replaced the stigmatizing inscription WINA/BLAME had also a symbolic meaning. As Opiemme explained they express symbolically the upcoming revival of the location which should be carried out with a strong participation of the local community.
The nature of this artistic intervention refers to the traditional rite of passage, closely linked to the concept of communitas. The status of a stigmatized space symbolized by the inscription BLAME is waived by collective action similar to a transition phase (so called liminal phase). Then a new, desired order is established through the completed work presenting a minimalist Taurus constellation and the new positive words.