BR1

by Eric Mitjans on
  • BR1-bluthochdruck-berlin 2013
  • BR1 - dialogo - turin 2015 graffiti interviews
  • BR1-bullets-2012
  • BR1-israeli olives from palestinian trees-new york city 2014 website
  • BR1-general indifference-turin 2015 billboard
  • BR1-pregnant-sicily 2014
  • BR1-la martire-roma 2014
  • BR1-via santo rosario-calabria 2014 graffiti facebook
  • BR1-visa denied-paris 2014 graffiti facebook
  • BR1-malarazza-rosarno 2014 graffiti facebook

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Selected artworks

Biography

A Muslim women wearing face veil is not something you will often see in mainstream advertising. The burqa and niqab have become a topic of much controversy and debate so if you live in Europe, the Americas or Australia you will hardly ever see any ads featuring a woman wearing traditional Islamic clothing. Committed to raising awareness, the Italian artist BR1 criticizes the mass effect created through commercial advertising channels over the identity of Arab women and migrants from the Mediterranean area. Graduating in Islamic law from the University of Turin Law School with the thesis on the veil, BR1 encourages the public to reflect upon the idea of diversity within society by pasting large posters on billboards and changing their main purpose.

The Veiled Women in BR1’s Art

Coming from Calabria, southwest Italy, Bruno or BR1, which reads as “Bruno” in Italian, is known for his instantly recognizable interventions in the urban space, mainly realized with massively scaled posters and installations. He became interested in street art in 2003 when he moved to Turin to pursue his law studies. The public nature of posters and stencils in one of the artistically most developed cities in the country captivated him immediately and he got a desire to participate in. Attracted by the power of urban art to inspire critical dialogue, he began stickering, progressively moving into small posters and finally to the massive pieces he makes now. While his art practice revolved around collage composed of images from various newspapers and magazines, he began noticing the way the Arab women are portrayed in articles referring to the Middle East in general. After he integrated the images of veiled women in his pieces, the artist realized that they were almost unrepresented in the public sphere. He became aware that even in the ads addressed precisely to the Arab women the models featured didn’t wear traditional Islamic clothing and looked like a West top models. Piece after piece, the center of his attention became the question of female identity in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies. In his trademark style that keeps your constant attention, the artist creates work dealing with the Islamic veil considered as division between the Western and Middle-eastern cultures. His work often depicts the paradoxical combination of the symbols characteristic for those opposite cultures.

Raising Awareness of the Issues of Migrants and Refugees

In recent times, BR1 has expanded his social agenda engaging with issues of immigration, migrants and refugees, deeply investigating the social terrains where the identity of people, social hierarchies and memory are permanently being constructed and re-constructed. Living and working in Italy that has been a gateway country for large numbers of people from Africa and the Middle East who have crossed the Mediterranean in search of a better life, BR1 has produced numerous posters and paintings that criticize the shameful treatment of immigrants. A strong believer in democracy and civil society, the artist encourages cultural dialogue and gives voice to the underprivileged. His art emphasizes the importance of intercultural approach and mutual respect between two opposed sides.

Process of Work and Upcoming Shows

In a career that spans over ten years, BR1 has developed a complex body of work composed of billboard takeovers, street art installations, and numerous public interventions. Although in his art the message is central, he also spent a lot of time in preparing and painting each piece. After he spent hours looking for a perfect spot for his interventions, he takes the precise measurements and analyzes the materials that will surround it; the painting must fit into its frame and into its environment perfectly. In one of his most recent project, BR1 used the images of “foreign” landscapes like Mediterranean seaside scenes from Southern Italy and North Africa, that he printed and inserted into an urban setting, as windows onto another world. For BR1, art is not only about depicting your creativity, it proves to be an effective tool to convey messages raising social awareness. By using art to highlight the particular problems in today’s society, BR1 creates pieces that have not only made it onto public spaces across Italy, but also into galleries, festivals and art fairs. His latest works will be on display in the solo exhibition entitled The Stranger Arrives with a New Dress from April 28th to May 28th, 2016 at OPEN WALLS Gallery in Berlin.

Selected exhibitions, public projects & festivals

  • 2016 · The Stranger Arrives with a New Dress · Solo Show · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2015 · Chained · Group Show · Wunderkammer Gallery · Milano (Italy)
  • 2015 · Hydra 2 · Public art project · Fondazione Pistoletto · Biella (Italy)
  • 2014 · Made in Italy · Group Show · GCA Gallery · curated by Christian Omodeo · Nice (France)
  • 2014 · Fieno e asfalto · Artissima Art Fair · in collaboration with Artegiovane · Turin (Italy)
  • 2014 · From Street to Art · Group Show · Italian Culture Institute · curated by Simone Pallotta · New York (USA)
  • 2014 · « Positions » · Group Show · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2014 · Costumi da mare · Solo Show · Fondazione per l’arte Bartoli-Felter · Cagliari (Italy)
  • 2013 · « Integration/ Disintegration » · Solo Show · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2013 · A di città · Public art festival) · Rosarno (Italy)
  • 2013 · Public arena · Group show · Barriera Artegiovane · Torino (Italy)
  • 2013 · Cheap poster art · Poster art festival · curated by Elastico · Bologna (Italy)
  • 2013 · Women between · Solo Show · FARM cultural park · Favara (Italy)
  • 2013 · From the city to the world · Group show · New art center · Boston (USA)
  • 2012 · Subterranean modern · Group show · The Don gallery · Milano (Italy)
  • 2012 · Stroke#6 Art Fair · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2012 · Public enemies · Public art project · commissioned by La Stampa · Torino (Italy)
  • 2012 · Street Art Doping · Festival · Warsaw (Poland)
  • 2012 · The Odd Duo · Group show · Galo Art Gallery · Turin (Italy)
  • 2012 · Brandalism · adbusting action · Manchester UK
  • 2012 · Paris Zone Libre · Group show · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Paris (France)
  • 2012 · Artesera live · Group show · fondazione Merz · curated by Olga Gambari 3 Torino (Italy)
  • 2012 · Stroke#5 Art Fair · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Munich (Germany)
  • 2011 · Dissidents · Group show · West Berlin Gallery · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2011 · Hydra · Public art project · Fondazione Pistoletto · Biella (Italy)
  • 2011 · Wtc Suburb Art · Group show · Madness Wall · Turin (Italy)
  • 2011 · FART · Group show· Fondazione Farm · Sicily (Italy)
  • 2011 · km011 · Group show · Torino (Italy)
  • 2010 · Proximity BR1 and Sepideh Salehi · pah! Project · Fribourg (Switzerland)
  • 2010 · Parede Poster · festival · Rio de janeiro (Brasil)
  • 2010 · Urban Arts Madrid · festival · Madrid (Spain)
  • 2010 · About the city · group show · Cagliari (Italy)
  • 2010 · MiT3.0 · site specific project · Palazzo Birago · curated by associazione Azimut · Turin (Italy)
  • 2010 · Stradafacendo · group show · Fondazione Barriera · Turin (Italy)
  • 2009 · Urbanpainting · Group show · Concept Gallery · Milan (Italy)
  • 2009 · Pop Up! · Festival · Ancona (Italy)

Selected publications

  • 2014 · Made in Italy · exhibition catalogue · 2013 · GCA Gallery
  • 2014 · No cure Magazine · issue 5 · published by Mark Zeidler · Australia
  • 2014 · Writing the city · curated by Roberto Mastroianni · Aracne editore Italy
  • 2014 · From the city to the world · exhibition catalogue · curated by Diane Pontius · U.S.A.
  • 2013 · It’s a stick up · curated by Olly Walker · Laurence King Publishing London
  • 2011 · Km011 arti a torino 1995 – 2011 · curated by Luca Beatrice & Umberto Allemandi
  • 2011 · Burqas in Back Alleys: Street Art, hijab, and the Reterritorialization of Public Space · John A.Sweeney
  • 2011 · Pop up! Arte contemporanea nello spazio pubblico · curated by MAC · Franco Cosimo Panini Modena
  • 2010 · Fefè visual magazine · curated by Luigi Vernieri · Fefè Project Roma

Selected press