The Torino writers’ collective has created a site-specific work on the facade of the building, already “zipped” by Alex Chinneck in 2019, inside Opificio 31 in the Tortona area. Two crew members talk about their work
The small building opposite the entrance to Opificio 31, Tortona Rock’s headquarters in the Fuorisalone district of the same name, had already made sensation three years ago when the British artist Alex Chinneck, the king of illusions on a monumental scale, had “opened” the facade by fitting it with a giant zipper as part of an operation promoted by IQOS, the smoke-free brand of Philip Morris. This year, the writers of the Torino collective intervened in the building by creating a temporary installation for the same customer. Really Design Crew. Active since the mid – nineties, they deal with urban art, graphics and illustration in the round and work on commercial and artistic projects. They are particularly distinguished by their use of color and anamorphosis, that is, a perspective distortion that allows the work to be viewed only from a certain point of view. Rems 182 (aka Emanuele Ronco) e Ninja 1 (Rocco Emiliano Fava) told us about the creation of WEthe piece just made here in Milan with an innovative anti-smog paint designed by Airlite, and their way from the stalking at the station to seeing the graffiti on the trains to the study of the Renaissance perspective.
How does the anamorphic game work in WE? How did you work?
There is a canonical point of view, the front, which allows you to get a classic view of the design contained in a perfect circle. In reality, however, the views are endless, and as a rule, most people prefer to find their preferred vantage point out of the correct perspective. Street art is usually tied to two dimensions and to an already existing architecture over which there is no full control. In this case, however, even though we are based on a two-dimensional facade, we have built a system of panels according to our perspective needs using Merlo factorya supplier who often helps us realize our craziest ideas.
Anamorphy has a long history, ranging from the great masters of the past like Leonardo Da Vinci to contemporaries, for example Felice Varini. What are your models?
We are hyper-fans of anamorphic art. Of course, we study the work of contemporary masters, Georges Rousse And Felice Varini above all, however, we also liked to elaborate on the creation of this art form. In the fifteenth century in Europe, one reached the maximum of figurative image expressions, where the next step was to create small games of optical illusion. So we went to see all the possible examples, from Leonardo to The ambassadors, the painting by Hans Holbein the Younger preserved at the National Gallery, whose protagonists stand on something resembling a spot, but in reality a skull. These works have an exceptional technical value, even taking into account the time constraints of funds.
You can count on technology.
We are helped by digital tools, yes, but we have also often tried to reproduce optical effects with ancient, analog techniques, such as hand-drawn perspective grids. We did it to test ourselves, but also out of necessity, for example in special situations where we could not count on all the equipment we have in the studio. The biggest difference, of course, is in time, making a handprint can take several days.
In recent years, you have also built several playgrounds, such as basketball. What changes with regard to the walls?
There is an even different view, if you are on the field – which at best measures 28 meters by 15 meters – you do not have an overview. With a drone, however, you can go and see it from above, with a zenith view. We also made some anamorphic fields, with some writing that could only be read from a certain point in the field. There is often a theme of rebuilding degraded urban areas. We also carried out work of this type in Naples for the launch of the discus Clementine who wanted to give his city the redevelopment of Piazza Medaglie d’Oro.
Where do you come from, artistically speaking? How did you get started?
Rems 182: We come from the world of graffiti and street art, in that order, and over the years we have been infected by other forms of expression, from illustration and graphic design to architecture. We started as teenagers, between 1996 and 1997, and listened to hip-hop music that was not mainstream at the time. It was a real cultural revolution that did not have a business apparatus.
Ninja 1: We come from the southern outskirts of Turin, in those years there was already graffiti, but they were not visible as today. One day I bought Aelle (historical magazine dedicated to rap and hip hop, ed.), I read a special at TDK in Milan, and it was a revelation. Sometimes we went to the station to see the trains run past because it was the only way to see graffiti and to be famous there was no other way than to be present in the city.
When did it become a real job?
When we started we had a somewhat teenage vision, we thought the world would gradually adapt to our tastes. We kept growing and updating until a decade later, around 2007 and in the wake of the Winter Olympics, we realized we could do a piece of work out of it. MTV also gave us a little courage, which in those years offered a lot of motion graphics inspired by graffiti and street art and made us understand that there could be an audience.
– Giulia Marani
Art events underway in Milan