Manhole Art tells the story of a Cabled City

Tombini Art raccontano la Città Cablata

Open air exhibition November 2010 – December 2011
Via MonteNapoleone, Milan
Inauguration Thursday 18th November 2010

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From an idea of Monica Nascimbeni for METROWEB.

With the artistic direction of Gisella Borioli and the collaboration of Matteo Donini.
With the patronage of the Municipality of MilanCulture, Street Furniture and Green Areas.

5 international urban painters, 5 capital cities of the world and of street art, 20 manholes, the most iconic and famous fashion-street of the world and an illuminated patron, METROWEB, owner of the biggest metropolitan network of dark fibres in Europe.

Milan city of art: perhaps the story of a contemporary art museum has still a few chapters to be written, but what is certain is that Milan silently represents the commercial hub of contemporary art in Italy. In the last years we have seen an exponential increase of artistic initiatives on both public and private levels as well as an equal increase in public interest. One has only to see the queues outside of museums, finally equal to the ones in the other capital cities of art.

“Sopra il Sotto” is an initiative that, for the second time, takes part in the great project of artistic and aesthetic expansion of our city. Democratic art, easy to enjoy and without having to wait, participate o share the long and at times sophisticated rituals of art. One simply walks down the roads indicated, lowers their gaze and lets themselves be surprised by the emotions transmitted by those cast-iron “paintings”, purposely created on-site by great international artists.

After the great success of the first edition, that saw 32 artistic manholes in “zona Tortona”, “Sopra il Sotto”- Tombini Art raccontano la Città Cablata”, “Over the Under- Manhole Art tells the story of a Cabled City” returns to Milan; a project born from an idea of Monica Nascimbeni for Metroweb, an open air exhibition of cast-iron manhole art (the manholes of Metroweb’s optic fibre, placed on the sidewalks of the street) which experiments a new language of art and communication.

This time the range is global: five great international street artists from the capital cities of public art and of graffiti (Milan, Berlin, Paris, London, New York) have been invited to produce a multiple work on more than one manhole, almost a one-man-exhibition for each artist. The artistic direction is of Gisella Borioli who has been focusing on the themes and the promotion of street art as a new form of contemporary art, also in collaboration with Matteo Donini, curator and collector of street art.

Shepard Fairey (New York), Flying Fortress (Berlin), Rendo (Milan), The London Police (London), Space Invader (Paris) will take part in the on the road exhibition from November the 18th till December 2011 in via MonteNapoleone, the heart of Milan and iconic fashion street of the “made in Italy” and world wide luxury, thus confirming the increasing sensitivity, present also in the world of fashion, to evade the confines and classifications and to open up to contemporary art and design with site-specific projects, especially on an international level.

An interdisciplinary project that connects Milan, city of art and launched towards the Expo 2015, to the main international cities of street art and in which the basic principals developed by the artists, each in his personal way, are: internationality, network as connection, advanced technology and the evolution of street art within an urban context.

“The relationship between art and the city is measured by the possibility of involving its citizens, to transform them into curious and creative spectators- explains Massimiliano Finazzer Flory, Deputy Councillor for Culture-. With this project we renew the encounter between artistic and technological tradition. Convinced now, as always, that young people will drive on our new ideas”.

“This is an important project- declares Maurizio Cadeo, Deputy Councillor for Street Furniture and Green Areas- because it combines urban aesthetic and décor with art, thanks to international street artists that have decorated the cast-iron manholes present in via MonteNapoleone, the most iconic street in Milan”.

The Artistic Manholes, all unique and original pieces are engraved and painted, thanks to the precious collaboration of Ferb, a historical Milanese company. They speak a language enjoyable to all, without barriers and mediation but with immediateness and spontaneity that is typical of street and public art.

Shepard Fairey, artist which became a cultural phenomena due to his Barak Obama iconography, one of the most effective illustrations in American politics, presents his modern, abstract and almost tribal like “Mandala”; Space Invader proposes his famous “pixeled” aliens inspired from the mythical 1970s videogame; Rendo’s Manholes instead are graphic, abstract and three-dimensional, as elements suspended

in space; Flying Fortress surprises us with his bears that recall the symbol of Berlin and of his “Teddy Troops”; The London Police have reinterpreted their playful “lads”, all peace-love and friendship.

Upon the closure of the open-air exhibition in via MonteNapoleone (December 2011) and after an itinerating road tour, the manholes will become part of the permanent collection of a museum, still to be decided, in the city of Milan. “We would very much like them to be received in Triennale Design Museum or in an equally important contemporary art museum” says Monica Nascimbeni, who is making an effort in finding an important placement in the city, due to the originality of the project and the notoriety of the artists involved, all with important exhibitions and performances seen in international galleries and museums.

Over the Under – Manhole Art tells the story of a Cabled City” is the second chapter of a project inaugurated in June 2009 with an extremely fortunate first edition in zona Tortona, the international design district par excellence, with 32 manholes designed by Italian street artists that caused great enthusiasm from the citizens, great attention from the media and a noble ending.

The exhibition found its end through an emotionally charged charity auction, wanted by Metroweb and held by Christie’s. The proceeds of 40 000 euro were entirely devolved to AIPD Onlus- Italian Association for people with Down’s Syndrome, to be used in concrete projects directed towards the optimization and the integration of people afflicted with Down’s syndrome into the Italian educational system.

This second appointment announces a great success: in the very centre of Milan, with the works of top artists and a huge inauguration event open to all the city. In collaboration with Associazione di Via MonteNapoleone and The Municipality of Milan- Culture, Urban Furniture and Green Areas.

“Via MonteNapoleone has always been a showcase of excellence- declares Guglielmo Miani, President of the “Associazione of via MonteNapoleone”- On account of this initiative, the “salon of Milan” will host a contemporary art exhibition of manholes, objects that usually remain shadowed in daily life and that are transformed by this project and by the international artists’ creativity”.

A special thanks to Ferb, our technical partner for this event and historical Milanese business since 1938, which produced, engraved, coloured and stove enamelled the manholes from the artist’s sketches.

Press office and communication   “Sopra il Sotto”
Chiara Ferella Falda    ph. +39 02 422501   mobile. +39 335 1080528

AreaArt s.r.l projects, artistic consults and creativity
via Tortona 27  – 20144 Milan

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