Some images of the workshops made with guys/girls of the schools are displayed in this video at 1:55′ (press “5” after starting the video). A video by Yoicik Group
Hyuro (Argentina) – No title
Kasia Breska (UK) – Łódzkie totemy/Totems of Lodz
Know Hope (Israel) – No title
Moneyless (Italy) – No title
Nespoon (Poland) – No title
Nomad Clan (UK) – Mokosz/Mokosh
Opiemme (Italy) – Remanufacture/Herring
Tellas (Italy) – W środku zimy/Deep Winter
City of Lodz, Poland, 2017 Lodz 4 Cultures Festival I Urban Forms
New murals for Urban Forms in the quarter of Bałuty on occasion of “4 cultures Festival“.
All the works are based on the alphabet created by Władysław Strzemiński, used for creating the logo of the city of Łódź.
The building is an elementary school in Ul. Bojownikow Getta 3 street, Bałuty, Łódź.
Critical essay by Claudio Cravero
‘The constant Learner’
“Remanufacture and Harring. A tribute to Władysław Strzemiński”
Urban Forms Foundation and Lodz 4 Cultures festival, Lodz, Poland , 2017
In Opiemme’s recent urban work on the occasion of Lodz 4 Cultures festival, the artist’s signs are extensively covering different surfaces of a school building. From walls to sidewalks, and all around, any viewer or passer-by is thus literally encircled by texts and motifs realized with spray paint and stencils techniques. Everywhere one looks or turns, the geometric patterns connect the soil to sky. And the moment the eye moves onto the next texture, everything begins spinning as if one were surrounded by this new story-telling.
It is Opiemme’s Tribute to Wladyslaw Strzemiński, the Polish vanguard abstract painter and typographer who designed this unique font in the 1930s. Mostly consisting of a curved line, the font Opiemme drew on was actually meant to communicate the spirit of future, dynamism and modernity across Polish society. The artist uses this type of lettering as an insight into the socialist realism architecture, the urban style of many public buildings that still speak about Poland’s heritage, regardless of the cultures that have cast the country throughout the time.
The same technique is also employed in Opiemme’s Herring, a mural in the nearby park. There, the informally-named ‘Park of a Herring’ shows a fish-shaped black silhouette to remind through few
signs the fish market taking place in the same location before World War II, but it is also used in reference to the Jewish ghetto Baluty, the second largest of its kind in Europe.
Looking up at Opiemme’s public artwork means somehow losing one’s balance. The hallucinatory effect can be read as a visual illustration of the fact that letters do not necessarily bring words to life. Besides, since Opiemme’s work covers a Primary school façade, the artist seems to shed light on the unseen forces of the power of teaching that permeates our constant need for learning. Over the eight day-painting performance (because to Opiemme art is a more complex action than putting colors to canvas), artist’s father’s recent demise has been recalled. Amongst the thoughts, Opiemme wants to express gratitude for
the apprenticeship taken on at the age of 16. In fact, sent by the father to learn interior decoration, Opiemme is still thankful for the working legacy that was handed down by this inspiring mentor. Ultimately, texts and signs are there to remind how learning is a constant process of self-building rather than a skills-set to adopt and use. Indeed, in Lodz it is even more evident that there are no cultural barriers when it comes to learning. Learning represents the exceeding power to bond one another. It is everywhere and nowhere, because nobody leaves us forever. Claudio Cravero
Here is an article Urban Forms, “Out of the ordinary. Opiemme Dialogue’s with architecture“, and another by Aleksandra Sumorok, translated by Wojciech Szymański and published by Urban Forms, previously posted by “Łódź w Kulturze”: “Opiemme and her dialogues“.
Aleksandra Sumorok is an art historian, assistant professor at “Władysław Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź”.
In her research work she focuses on the architecture and design of the 20th century,
with particular emphasis on the period of socialist realism. She is author of the book, “The architecture and urbanism of Łódź during the period of socialist realism” and numerous papers on complex problems of Polish architecture in the 40s and 50s.
A freestyle painting for Urban Forms, which composition is based on the repetitive rhythm of elements in the white boxes. These elements viewed from left to right produce the illusion of a slowly growing movement of the subject, similarly as for the single film frames or a stop-motion footage. The black and white background consisting of calligrams and large planes of color contrasts with the tones of the city and the sky.
While painting Opiemme was thinking about the obvious stillness of giant objects observed in the universe. They may appear static because of their vast dimensions. That relates space to time. The title of the mural, “BlackHoleSun”, refers to the Soundarden’s song that was stuck in the artist’s mind during the creation of the work. The wall is dedicated to the memory of Chris Cornell.
A video by school “Via Giuseppe Messina”, Cinecittà, Roma
A new collective mural painted with the partecipation of 1000 children from 3 to 13 years old of the school “I.C. Via Giuseppe Messina” in Roma. The children choose negative words to be deleted by throwing eggs filled with colors in a collective performance.
Than some new positive words were suggested by children to be painted on these colors. The mural represents constellation of Pisces, a symbol of renaissance.
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.
Sibilla Aleramo’s first novel “A Woman at Bay” (Una Donna) describes her arrival in the town of Civitanova Marche, when she was about 11 years old and saw the sea for the first time. Doplhins are symbol of this connection, as well are letterforms, calligrams composed with words by Aleramo’s first impressions of the sea,collected from the first pages of her first book: “The sea was a bad expanse of silver, the sky an infinite smile resting upon my head…“. “My lungs drank in with avidity all that free air, that salty breath. I would race up and down in the sun on the shore and face the waves as they curled on the sand.” “Dolphins” is a site-specific mural refering on the hard life of Sibilla Aleramo. A vortex of dolphins, a downard spiral, aims to create a relationship between the sea described in her words, and what she passed through before arriving to this town: being raped by a brutal husband who worked for her father.
The composition of the mural, with the spiral of dolphins, and the constellation of Delphinus running through it, refers to the series “Vortex” of Opiemme. In mythology, there are many stories connecting dolphins with rescue. Sibilla Aleramo became a symbol of a new woman that rules her own life, a woman that saved herself from a written life. The latin proverb “per aspera ad astra” (top right – “through hardships to the stars”.) works as comment to Sibilla Aleramo’s life. Opiemme’s signature (top left) is combined with a phrase by the artist: “The wind shakes my thoughts”