Frescos from the XXIst Century: Street Art among the streets of Ravenna

Ericailcane_Ravenna, Darsena_2011

 You don’t see the graffiti as they are, you see them as you are” – SIKK©

In the last years, street art has stopped of being present only in Italian big cities and has begun to spread everywhere, even in the sleepy provinces, more and more commissioned by municipality and rarely as illegal works,

marking a new way of making and seeing urban art, with the artists who claim their own role and authorship, in face of decades of anonymity.

Ravenna, bizantine and Dantesque city, firmly stuck to its past made of emperors and poets, has become a centre of Italian street art, with artists called to create real artworks on walls of blocks in the suburbs or of dismissed buildings, in process of retraining. Everything started with Ericailcane’s wall, executed in 2011 on the occasion of the Ravenna candidature as European Capital of Culture (title finally gained by Matera), in an expressive space, the “Darsena” (wet dock), now transformed in public walk and events place, following the cases of Marseille and Milan. The dragon made by the artist rises on the walls of a former cereals mill fallen into disuse: provoking and alienating, it counters with some white and scared mouselets, as a Beatrix Potters’s drawing in a pop surrealist manner. In the city centre we find instead digital mosaics by Space Invader, a sort of homage to the city of mosaic made by the famous French artist, between spontaneous participation (in front of the covered market and the church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo for instance) and public commissions (on the outside of the Planetary). His 2.0 mosaics are not inferior to the bizantine ones, with their golden “tesseras” and the strong iconicity.

Since the first experiences the urban works multiplied, especially on the occasion of the Subsidenze festival, established in 2014: a popular quarter in the suburbs near the stadium thus became a huge open air museum, filled by works of a strong visual impact and not even contested by the public opinion, usually not supporting this kind of art interventions. Millo, who also worked in Paris and London, realized a sort of futuristic meadow on the side-surface of a technical high school; on his urban garden two young adults are stretched out, dreaming among skyscrapers and winding streets, enraptured by Google Maps posts, the only mark of color. Writer Zed1 created instead a sensual and melancholic figure, as a disjointed puppet, seized on a complex curvilinear wall. Dissenso Cognitivo, a collective from Ravenna, is fascinated by post-atomic and apocalyptic atmospheres, where filiform creatures, almost aliens, live between wrecks and starships in a nuclear disaster scenery, come out of the best Sci-fi. The grotesque sea-work of Sea Creative remembers in some way Ericailcane, as he uses to place his regardless characters in absurd and no-sense realities, with a bit of irony and criticism against our contemporary society.

We are now waiting for a new edition of Subsidenze 2015, that is going to invest another social and multi-ethnic district of the city; the first anticipation took place this spring with German artist Jim Avignon who created his colored City of Memories made of human, animal and fantastic beings faces, filmed by Sky Arte channel.

Millo_Ravenna, piazzale Sighinolfi_2014

Millo, Ravenna, piazzale Sighinolfi, 2014

Ericailcane_Ravenna, Darsena_2011

Ericailcane, Ravenna, Darsena, 2011


Jim Avignon, City of Memories, Ravenna, via Gulli via Fiume, 2015


Zed1, Money Eaters, Ravenna, via Punta Stilo, 2014

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
The following two tabs change content below.

Milena Mengozzi

Laureata in Storia dell'arte al DAMS di Bologna con una tesi sul kimono giapponese e la sua influenza nell'arte e nella moda occidentali, vive a Ravenna. Ama l'arte di ogni periodo e genere, ma anche la moda e la musica sono due sue grandi passioni, che cerca di combinare tutte insieme appena può.

Leave a Reply