Invited to work with the hypothesis of Openings Out to Reality, a research initiated in 2012 by Istituto Svizzero di Roma on the relationship between art, institutions and society, artist Tobias Kaspar has proposed a personal project and invited the artist and conceptual photographer, Fred Lonidier. The outcome of this collaboration are two exhibitions: THE STREET (Est1863) by Tobias Kaspar, and Strike by Fred Lonidier, which open on Friday June 5th at Villa Maraini.
THE STREET (Est1863) is the first act of Tobias Kaspar’s THE STREET, a fiction, a theme park, a performance, a staging, a hyper-artificial construction where the works of the artist finally find an ideal setting.
Starting from the remains of a block on Lower Broadway designed in the studios of Cinecittà – the so-called “Broadway set” – by the Academy Award winner Oscar Dante Ferretti for Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese (2002), Kaspar began his own very personal immersion between reality and artifice, Pop imaginary and the theatricalization of the global art world, between social struggles and the culture of consumption, mimetism, syncretism and appropriationism, wit and ironic self-critique, acting on the razor’s edge between staging of the world of mass production and the extreme fiction of international contemporary art.
The film Gangs of New York, set during the struggles against the Enrollment Act of 1863 in New York, and its set at Cinecittà – subjected to repeated modifications to adapt to subsequent productions – offer the artist a series of hypotheses, explorations, leaps and gaps (backwards and forwards) in a wide range of directions in time and space.
THE STREET is a restaurant, a bookstore, a jeans shop, action, dialogue, actors, extras, an art exhibition: Tobias Kaspar positions things and situations that take precise details into account, where gestures and exchanges are staged and presented with extreme dramaturgical care. Objects and images always lead to an elsewhere, where reality and fiction become inseparable. The set, like the city of Rome, is a place where history and representation are unavoidably confused.
In this occasion, the garden of Villa Maraini is the setting of a complex dramaturgy of THE STREET, which will materialise in the places that will give it this possibility. Sculptural, performative and immaterial interventions, all directed by Tobias Kaspar, will take the audience in a fiction, open to variations, from a western set to New York of the mid 90s. THE STREET (Est1863) also includes Est1863, a Jeans edition designed by the artist in collaboration with Fabio Quaranta and THE STREET TIMES, a periodical which will be continued in the next steps of the project. The audience is invited for a special cocktail in the bar THE ODEON, installed especially in the park of Villa Maraini.
Tobias Kaspar (b. 1984, Basel, Switzerland) lives in Berlin and in Rome. Among his solo exhibitions: The Air on the Way to the Oyster, Kunsthalle, St. Gallen and Kunsthalle Sao Paulo (2014); Tobias Kaspar at Midway Contemporary Art Center, Minneapolis and The Bling Ring at Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich (2013); Bodies in the Backdrop Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg (2012); Why Sex Now at Alex Zachary Gallery, New York (2011); Living Well Is the Best Revenge at Silberkuppe, Berlin (2010). And a selection of the international group exhibitions he has been involved in are: Blue Times Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2014), Frozen Lakes at Artists Space, New York (2013), How to Work (More for) Less, Kunsthalle Basel (2011).