OBEY has arrived in Milan: discover his first statements

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The exhibition “OBEY: The Art of Shepard Fairey” has just been presented to the public through a press conference at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan. This is the first solo exhibition in Italy of the American Street Artist, curated by the artist himself and the Wunderkammern gallery in co-production with the Fabbrica del Vapore and with the support of the Municipality of Milan.

“Getting lost in the exploration of urban space is the essence that inspired us in creating this great exhibition, with the invitation for the viewer to ‘get lost’ in the exhibition to discover the beauty”. These are the words of Giuseppe Pizzuto, Director of Wunderkammern and a great expert in Urban and Street Art, during the press conference.

The exhibition, open to the public from tomorrow 16 May until 27 October, retraces 35 years of artistic evolution through the eyes of an artist who dedicated his life to creativity and innovation, explaining “the progression of certain aspects of his work”, but also “continuity on important principles that were a result of my youthful idealism and naïveté”, with the addition of a “vast body of brand new works“.

One of the central themes of his art is the vision of a possible future, as opposed to the passive acceptance of reality. He firmly believes that “it is wonderful to think about what is possible in the world, rather than to feel constrained by the realities of the world”. Creativity, art, and music are powerful tools that “help us look to the future with a vision of what’s possible rather than accepting things the way they are”.

In 2005, the artist participated in the Urban Edge exhibition, one of the first to bring together artists from the street art scene. At that time, it “was a scene that was not taken seriously by the art world.” Today, seeing how far the street art scene has come is truly remarkable. Milan, known primarily as the capital of fashion, is also a center of exceptional creativity. Every opportunity to come to Italy is precious to him, and “this is my fourth time in Milan.”

Obey also highlights how art is present in every aspect of our daily lives: “In the clothes that you put on, the car that you drive, the video games you play, the films and television shows that you watch. However, in the world of fine art, it is “often seen as more exclusive, more elite, more narrow.” His mission is to make people understand the importance of art in every area of life. The street was his first means of connecting with people and continues to be fundamental, even as he has expanded his use of various expressive means.

In this exhibition, art inspires reflection on social and political issues, using “art in the way that I was inspired by music to connect a feeling of joy with provoking thought about social and political things”. He is inspired by musicians such as The Clash, Bob Marley, Rage Against the Machine, Patti Smith and the Dead Kennedys, who used music to communicate meaningful messages. In a world facing many crises, from democracy to the environment, “if I can create images that engage people instead of pushing them away, in the same way that musicians have done for me, I think that’s an important thing to help shaping people’s attitudes and stories of the future.”

Furthermore, on Wednesday 22 May, a new large mural created by Obey himself will be inaugurated in Via Consolini 20 in the Gallaratese district of Milan. So meet up at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Via Procaccini 4 in Milan, until October 27th with “OBEY: The Art of Shepard Fairey”

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