Earlier this week Italian artist 2501 stopped in Detroit to create a new mural and prints as well as add the latest installation of his Nomadic Experience video series. The most recent “micromentary” in the nearly 2 year expedition partners with film maker G. Matta as the two catalog what the artist calls a Glimpse Of America.
Working quickly 2501 wrapped up a new piece in Detroit’s Eastern Market, an area with a vibrant history of large scale murals since the 1970s, as well as signing 3 new mixed media editions, which seamlessly blend letter press and gold screen printing for one of our most unique prints to date. Read on as 2501 gives us some background on his latest massive mural, video series and print edition Kaliyuga…
1xRUN: Let’s start by talking about this most recent mural, can you give us a little bit of background?
2501: With this wall I was looking to make something that was connected to these prints we are releasing, but is still closer to my current abstract style. The idea was to create these boxes and play strictly with the architecture. It was an exercise with the architecture that was already on the building and playing with texture.
With my current style I am realizing more and more that the reason why I am painting is to materialize an idea. Not necessarily a conceptual idea, it’s more of a statement. I was painting trains and that was a statement. I was painting big walls in a certain way, trying to create with less materials, trying to communicate abstract ideas more than juxtaposing symbols. If you are juxtaposing symbols, not everybody is going to understand all of the symbols. So I began thinking what’s the difference of just juxtaposing shapes? Movements? Or ideas? It is passing a message or an idea, but without being so concrete. I think we are kind bombed with commercial visual information that needs our brain to translate it. Facebook. This picture of your friend. McDonalds. You are doing the process everyday. What I am trying to do is make the public do this process, but without a specific image.
1x: How about the image for your mixed media letter press and gold screen print edition: Kaliyuga. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this image?
2501: This piece is all about dominating or pushing your limits forward. Trying to escape from your fears. It is a mash up between my geometric and figurative works. This piece has several icons in it. If you look carefully in center there is St. George, who is killing the dragon. He is the only Christian saint that is also in the Muslim culture.
Check out the print release here
Then to the right you have gambling, the two warriors from Crete, an island from ancient Greek mythology. Then to the left there is death, and you have again more Greek icons, you have Icarus. Then you have the snake, and the man trying to force nature, make nature submit. You also have prehistoric time, and then the dance, for Thai culture. It’s a kind of melting pot of symbols that in a way talks about all of these things involving testing your limits.
This is kind of connected to the idea for me that making anything that is creative is a medicine, and a way of studying in general. Through this study, you then study yourself. That’s the whole idea. It creates a loop, this is why I used circles for this series.
1x: Let’s talk about the title, where did that come from?
2501: I used the title Kaliyuga because I have been influenced by Tibetan culture from my parents. Kaliyuga is the era we are living in now. The era of confusion. The mess. It is not the apocalypse, but this moment is a moment of sickness of the planet and of the human being. In reality I get really influenced by Buddhism.The reason I am influenced by Buddhism is that it is an ancient psychological way to live your life. It’s not telling you there is a divinity. It is more using symbols that you can practice. You can practice a certain type of meditation. You can look at a map that reminds you to the passage for this type of meditational practice. In Tibetan culture you would not have a painter that would paint Christ. While you are painting a certain type of symbol you have to practice it. I show my morals in the same way. I create these hypnotizing patterns, these shapes. That’s where the loop closes.
1x: When was this piece created?
2501: Kaliyuga was made for See You On The Other Side, which was my first solo show in the United States at Soze Gallery in 2013.
1x: How long did this piece take you?
2501: This is my older style, where the lines have to be perfectly clean after the first move. That’s why they take kind of long time. This was from a series of 6 and each piece was a circle or a loop. They were 4 figurative and 2 abstract in the series and each was 70 x 100 cm.
I don’t come back to pieces often, if they don’t come out correctly, if it doesn’t work I throw it away and come back. These pieces often take me a very long time. Not on the actual drawing itself, more to put the actual composition together and find when is the right moment to paint it. If you paint for 3 hours you cannot have a mistake. I will paint on smaller pieces for an hour, and get a rhythm then jump onto the other pieces when I am warmed up.
1x: Let’s talk about your ongoing documentary series.
2501: The video part is another part of this whole story. Trying to talk about different concepts through what is happening to me. This is a two year project, and the Glimpse Of America is a collaboration with filmmaker G. Matta. The latest part in the series is more about architecture, how the public space is used and how it is in this moment in the cities we are seeing. How the public space is perceived by the person that are living or is passing by those public spaces.
It’s also about emotional landscapes, who are the people in these spaces? How people shape the environment, not just in material way. For example, what you have here at 1xRUN you have this team, this building, the gallery and the print shop. Here we have something that is just behind the material part. All these communities and parts of how microcosms of people interact together in these spaces.
We are going to be doing interviews with each of these people in cities, rotating around this new muralism scene including artists, gallerists, writers and photographers. We are starting from our nucleus in the environment.
– G. Matta – follow continuing updates from A Glimpse Of America on Vimeo