THE STREETS AS A STAGE: ACHE77, NEMO’S, and MR.WANY.
Curated by Matteo Bidini and Gianluca Milli, Street Levels Gallery.
Founded in 2016, the Street Levels Gallery is the first art gallery of its kind in Florence, where it stands out as a creative hub and art exhibition venue. They aim to explore multiple levels of interaction between art and urban neighbourhood, and also engage a wider audience in Urban Art, broadly defined through showcasing works by street artists, street sign hackers, and creative youths. All this ‘in the light of the fact that street art has challenged the art system of our time, which confines art production within museums and elite contexts’, affirm Matteo Bidini and Luca Milli. With a view to broaden their horizons and offer opportunities to the artists they promote, the cofounders and curators of the Street Levels Gallery have fostered collaborations and synergy with different organisations in Florence and beyond. At the XIIth Florence Biennale they are presenting three distinct artists, who nevertheless share the streets as a stage, thereby giving breath of life to three different currents which are generally considered as belonging to the Street Art genre. By displaying selected works by Ache77, Nemo’s, and Mr.Wany, the Street Levels Gallery intend to cast light on the different motivations prompting an artist to leave home at night and go painting a train or a wall.
‘Pass me the knife, I have to incise’: it is neither a surgeon nor a killer we are citing, but the youngest amongst the talents selected for this project. Urban artist based in Florence, he makes works combining graphic art, stencil art, and traditional printmaking techniques. Since 2007, Ache77 has committed himself to stencil art: he carves patterns into paper and cardboard to obtain a mimeograph, through which he sprays one or more colours to obtain the desired image. The artist, who graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts defending a thesis on guerrilla sculptures (non-commissioned installations in public spaces), makes portraits capturing the intensity of a glance or gesture so strikingly that his figures draw the attention of any distracted passer-by bumping into them. Indeed, they show the author’s great attention to detail and non-verbal language. Ache77’s posters can be found on the walls of may Italian and European cities, and some of his works are displayed at the Palatul Poporului, the palace of Parliament in Bucarest (Romania) as well as in different galleries and contemporary art museums. At the Florence Biennale he is exhibiting a site-specific installation, Learn To See, and Portraits of Denied Childhood.
Nemo’s is an internationally renowned mural painter and street artist, credited for his extraordinary visual communication skills. He started drawing at an early age and, while attending the arts college in his home town, he approached Writing and Street Srt. When he started painting on city walls he had to get up a tag (basic artist’s name): he opted for Nemo, the name of the captain featured in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. Yet, Nemo is also the protagonist of one of Winsor McKay’s early comics. Last but not least, ‘nemo’ means ‘no one’ in Latin, and is thus a noun making the artist’s identity and work sound even more mysterious; he added the Saxon genitive to it so that his tag actually means ‘of no one’. After beginning his journey into Street Art writing his name on walls, he soon abandoned writing and his early calligraphic style to start transposing his drawings into murals. He thus went on to draw characters and figures as elements of a visual language that he has since then used to express himself and his ideas which he could not otherwise communicate verbally. The work by Nemo’s consists of figures with essential graphics conveying social meanings through the visual representation of characters which, as in tales, make poetic and surreal actions.
Mr. Wany, pseudonym of Andrea Sergio, started his artistic path as a pioneer of graffiti writing at the age of twelve. After graduating at the college of arts in his native town, Brindisi, he specialised at the International School of Comics in Rome. In the 1990s he was already known for his characters painted on city walls, the most famous of which is Hiroshi Kabuki. Since his early beginnings he has stood out by achieving goals such as winning a contest, running workshops, and being a member of international juries. In 2000 he moved to Bologna to fulfil the Art Director role at Dynit, a foremost publisher of Japanese manga and anime. In 2006 he founded the Amazing Day festival dedicated to the four elements of Hip Hop culture (Writing, DJing, MCinge and B-boying). In 2007 he settled in Milan, where he opened his own atelier, The Amazing Art, thereby emerging on the contemporary art scene also by participating in successful solo and group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale. He has collaborated with internationally renowned street artists and writers, including Aryz, Sofles, Can2, Revok, Rime, Aroe, Roid, Norm, Smash, Futura, Blade, Toast, Swet, Satone, and other. Furthermore, he has taken part in meetings, expositions, and projects of urban renewal, New Muralism, and public art across Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania. Mr.Wany is a versatile artist spanning different disciplines. Over nearly thirty years, his art has undergone different phases, yet all leading to works with an elegant flow, which denotes this author’s unique flavour (style). He likes freestyle painting as that allows him to preserve the swing and flow of wildstyle lettering, which he blends with his characters within compositions showing remarkably cohesive aesthetics. Today his style results from crossfertilization between illustration, comics, graffiti, tattoo, style writing, Urban Art and New Muralism.