FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
- You describe Cracking Art as a movement that began in the early 90’s. What was going on at the time that led to its creation? What were the early works like?
To understand better the situation and moment, I would place the birth of the movement more so at the end of the millennium than the early 90s. These are the thoughts that guided us: as witnesses of the passage from the 1000s to the 2000s we had fear and insecurity but also hope for the prospects taking shape. To represent this passage, this “rupture,” our work sought to bring within itself the history and future of the planet.
The first installations were marked by a sense of alarm, of tension. Seagulls trapped in barbed wire, giant signs of “SOS” realized in plastic bones and fake flowers. The awareness of the advent of an increasingly artificial world prompted us to be critical and cautious, even if the irony was always present. We organized parties where, on large tables, we mixed real food with plastic food to create fun and confusion.
- Why do you call them “Invasions”?
The term “Invasions” comes from the characteristic of plastic products which, when produced in huge quantities, have the effect of truly occupying spaces. Think of shopping bags or micro plastics that create undersea continents, or prosthetics inserted into the body; plastic can invade both the environment and the human being.
The term also makes reference to the demographic explosion of recent decades and the imbalances this brings.
The feeling of being “invaded” is now widespread across many contexts: images, information, technology, products, and human beings. Countrysides disappear and cities become metropolises besieged.
Our desire, then, is to give the term “invasion” a positive connotation of opportunity and collaboration.
- In the time before ubiquitous social media and cell phone photography, how were your works documented and shared?
Our choice to create art in public spaces was our initial way of sharing: we immediately felt the necessity to create participatory art that went directly to the people, to their spaces, to their houses. We’ve really done a lot of installations over the years: more than 400.
The method of documentation has never changed substantially: it’s always been about taking photos and shooting videos. To communicate and divulge our work we relied on press releases, on the realization of books and catalogues. We trusted the power of paper and the word of mouth from those seeing our works in the cities.
- Can you tell us a bit about the production of the sculptures and explain further your interested in recyclable materials? Where are your materials sourced from?
To realize our works we use industrial techniques of rotational and blow molding. We manually create the first prototype from which a mold suitable for this production system is obtained. We prefer this method of production because it creates large artworks in high quantities, but their hollowness allows minimal material usage while still obtaining a dramatic effect.
We love having the ability to re-use the plastic many times over. After some use in our installations, the works are shredded and their plastic is regenerated to create new works: a closed, controlled, and continuous re-use.
Part of the material is sourced from external suppliers, while the other is from previous works that have been regenerated.
The interest in this system, in addition to our desire for environmental sustainability, is derived from philosophical thought about an infinite universe, where “infinite” indicates life that is constantly regenerating and mute.
- Cracking Art has exhibited at amazing locations worldwide. How do you go about composing the installations? Does this process change for each site?
Starting from a stylistic unity that is present in all of our installations, when analyzing new projects we first look for typical characteristics of that place, then confront them with our artworks: capturing the uniqueness that comes from the interaction of the space and its visitors.
We look for the most suitable places to host the sculptures, choosing the artworks and colors based on the architecture, the surrounding landscape, and the result we want to achieve. Harmony or rupture, camouflage intrusion; we have many options.
Each place is different, and still today, after so many installations and places visited, we continue to discover and have people discover us.
- How long are the works usually on display? Are some permanent?
The average duration of our installations is around two months, but it is not a set rule. It depends on the place and the type of installations.
There have been occasions in which our works have been exhibited for only three days, for example an event or festival; or for one year, like in Cleveland or Dubai. We also have permanent installations: in Prague at the Kampa Museum, public spaces in Italy, and the Children’s Museum of Miami.
You can find a very interesting installation in Belgium: one giant and two medium snails gliding up the walls of a skyscraper!
- I love the idea that the pieces are brightly colored to attract attention and disrupt how the audience would normally engage with their environment, but can you explain further why you chose to work with animals as the subject? Is there something specific about snails, birds, etc that is symbolic to you?
The animal has been, since prehistoric times, the first point of confrontation with nature. Man and animal are both animated beings, endowed with evident functions and movements. It is more difficult, almost impossible, for man to identify with plants, because although they possess the same functions, they appear immobile.
Over time, we have attributed power, messages, and characteristics to animals that have been useful for man to better imagine and understand the universe. In the same way, Cracking Art uses this cultural tradition to make its animals “messengers” of ideas for our contemporary reality. Following this, each new work of art is created based on what “message” has been entrusted upon it to represent.
- What do you hope viewers take away from your work? In what way do you see art as a vehicle for social (or environmental) change?
Our main desire is to create a sense of wonder that can bring pleasure and joy to everyone. We primarily choose urban spaces rather than those dedicated specifically to art in order to trigger unexpected emotions, expel routine from everyday places, and allow for the reflection of a space with new eyes.
We hope that this experience will spark new thoughts and ideas. In this way, art can be the vehicle for change in all fields of human activity. Art is an activator, capable of triggering a reaction or provoking the catalyst (by which we mean every individual person) for a reaction.
CRACKING ART: BEYOND CROCODILE TEARS.
by Melissa Camilli
2007. Orio Center. One of the biggest shopping center in Europe.
The building turns on the lights, employees start to work and gradually people fill up the space.
They think they are only just visitors ready to do shopping, but suddenly find themselves witnesses of an artistic invasion: 700 colored plastic animals have colonized the environment becoming an integral part of the space.
Art flourishes exactly where nowadays we still think she cannot even take root, in a place that is already saturated by economy and conformed to commercial utilitarianism; the aim is to make peace with it.
In this occasion we see the birth of the Cracking Art crocodile. The choice of this animal is primarily linked to the awareness of the fact that we live in a world that changes over and over again, in which we join the enthusiastic whirlwind of progress without really understand it; we often end up becoming passive, undergoing evolution without realizing where it brings us.
Always keeping an eye on the past, we embrace the advance of modernity without stopping shedding crocodile tears for what we have left behind.However the specimens made for the occasion proudly raise the muzzle: there are 300 pieces among those ones hanging on the facade and those scattered inside and they are 79 cm high, 201 cm wide and 521 cm length.
In our imagination it is a dangerous animal, from which we should keep away. It seems to be strong and charming, but also so aggressive that for the fear we foreclose the possibility of knowing it.
Consequently, how we are still use to naively sing, nobody even knows “how it does”!
In this sense, the crocodile is very similar to contemporary art, that in our eyes is always majestic and impressive: as it’s perched in its conceptual claims, we end up running away, afraid of being attacked if we tried to move close for knowing her. It is this fear that the Cracking Art try to throw out with its installations.
Stroking the animal immortalized in plastic and walking next to it in one of the most familiar places in our daily life, makes it almost a friend, a partner.
In this way we become part of a unique and unrepeatable act we work with to build sense.We must not be like Captain Hook, always ready to make war on the crocodile, but more like the self- confident Peter Pan, who in his purity of eternal child gives it a chance and try to communicate.
In addition, as direct descendant of the dinosaurs coming from stone age, this reptile represents our original bond with an art who comes from everything that surrounds us, immediately directed to all.
This message has traveled with crocodile over the years, from Piazza della Scala in Milan, where it was hung outside the office of the Culture Minister Vittorio Sgarbi, to the Grand Canal in Venice during the Biennale of 2007, up to lead overseas, in United States, where its journey continues.
The advance is just beginning.
 Quote from a popular Italian song.
Why we look at animals?
by John Berger
From time to time I have been invited by institutions–mostly American–to speak about aesthetics. On one occasion I considered accepting and I thought of taking with me a bird made of white wood. But I didn’t go. The problem is that you can’t talk about aesthetics without talking about the principle of hope and the existence of evil. During the long winters the peasants in certain parts of the Haute Savoie used to make wooden birds to hang in their kitchens and perhaps also in their chapels. Friends who are travellers have told me that they have seen similar birds, made according to the same principle, in certain regions of Czechoslovakia, Russia and the Baltic countries. The tradition may be more widespread.
The principle of the construction of these birds is simple enough, although to make a fine bird demands considerable skill. You take two bars of pine wood, about six inches in length, a little less than one inch in height and the same in width. You soak them in water so that the wood has the maximum pliability, then you carve them. One piece will be the head and body with a fan tail, the second piece will represent the wings. The art principally concerns the making of the wing and tail feathers. The whole block of each wing is carved according to the silhouette of a single feather. Then the block is sliced into thirteen thin layers and these are gently opened out, one by one, to make a fan shape. Likewise for the second wing and for the tail feathers. The two pieces of wood are joined together to form a cross and the bird is complete. No glue is used and there is only one nail where the two pieces of wood cross. Very light, weighing only two or three ounces, the birds are usually hung on a thread from an overhanging mantelpiece or beam so that they move with the air currents.
It would be absurd to compare one of these birds to a van Gogh self-portrait or a Rembrandt crucifixion. They are simple, homemade objects, worked according to a traditional pattern. Yet, by their very simplicity, they allow one to categorize the qualities which make them pleasing and mysterious to everyone who sees them.
First there is a figurative representation–one is looking at a bird, more precisely a dove, apparently hanging in mid-air. Thus, there is a reference to the surrounding world of nature. Secondly, the choice of subject (a flying bird) and the context in which it is placed (indoors where live birds are unlikely) render the object symbolic. This primary symbolism then joins a more general, cultural one. Birds, and doves in particular, have been credited with symbolic meanings in a very wide variety of cultures.
Thirdly, there is a respect for the material used. The wood has been fashioned according to its own qualities of lightness, pliability and texture. Looking at it, one is surprised by how well wood becomes bird. Fourthly, there is a formal unity and economy. Despite the object’s apparent complexity, the grammar of its making is simple, even austere. Its richness is the result of repetitions which are also variations. Fifthly, this man-made object provokes a kind of astonishment: how on earth was it made? I have given rough indications above, but anyone unfamiliar with the technique wants to take the dove in his hands and examine it closely to discover the secret which lies behind its making.
These five qualities, when undifferentiated and perceived as a whole, provoke at least a momentary sense of being before a mystery. One is looking at a piece of wood that has become a bird. One is looking at a bird that is somehow more than a bird. One is looking at something that has been worked with a mysterious skill and a kind of love.
Thus far I have tried to isolate the qualities of the white bird which provoke an aesthetic emotion. (The word “emotion”, although designating a motion of the heart and of the imagination, is somewhat confusing for we are considering an emotion that has little to do with the others we experience, notably because the self here is in a far greater degree of abeyance.) Yet my definitions beg the essential question. They reduce aesthetics to art. They say nothing about the relation between art and nature, art and the world.
Before a mountain, a desert just after the sun has gone down, or a fruit tree, one can also experience aesthetic emotion. Consequently we are forced to begin again–not this time with a man-made object but with the nature into which we are born.
Urban living has always tended to produce a sentimental view of nature. Nature is thought of as a garden, or a view framed by a window, or as an arena of freedom. Peasants, sailors, nomads have known better. Nature is energy and struggle. It is what exists without any promise. If it can be thought of by man as an arena, a setting, it has to be thought of as one which lends itself as much to evil as to good. Its energy is fearsomely indifferent. The first necessity of life is shelter. Shelter against nature. The first prayer is for protection. The first sign of life is pain. If the Creation was purposeful, its purpose is a hidden one which can only be discovered intangibly within signs, never by the evidence of what happens.
It is within this bleak natural context that beauty is encountered, and the encounter is by its nature sudden and unpredictable. The gale blows itself out, the sea changes from the colour of grey shit to aquamarine. Under the fallen boulder of an avalanche a flower grows. Over the shanty town the moon rises. I offer dramatic examples so as to insist upon the bleakness of the context. Reflect upon more everyday examples. However it is encountered, beauty is always an exception, always in despite of. This is why it moves us.
It can be argued that the origin of the way we are moved by natural beauty was functional. Flowers are a promise of fertility, a sunset is a reminder of fire and warmth, moonlight makes the night less dark, the bright colours of a bird’s plumage are (atavistically even for us) a sexual stimulus. Yet such an argument is too reductionist, I believe. Snow is useless. A butterfly offers us very little.
Of course the range of what a given community finds beautiful in nature will depend upon its means of survival, its economy, its geography. What Eskimos find beautiful is unlikely to be the same as what the Ashanti found beautiful. Within modern class societies there are complex ideological determinations: we know, for instance, that the British ruling class in the eighteenth century disliked the sight of the sea. Equally, the social use to which an aesthetic emotion may be put changes according to the historical moment: the silhouette of a mountain can represent the home of the dead or a challenge to the initiative of the living. Anthropology, comparative studies of religion, political economy and Marxism have made all this clear.
Yet there seem to be certain constants which all cultures have found ‘beautiful’: among them–certain flowers, trees, forms of rock, birds, animals, the moon, running water …
One is obliged to acknowledge a coincidence or perhaps a congruence. The evolution of natural forms and the evolution of human perception have coincided to produce the phenomenon of a potential recognition: what is and what we can see (and by seeing also feel) sometimes meet at a point of affirmation. This point, this coincidence, is two-faced: what has been seen is recognized and affirmed and, at the same time, the seer is affirmed by what he sees. For a brief moment one finds oneself–without the pretensions of a creator–in the position of God in the first chapter of Genesis… And he saw that it was good. The aesthetic emotion before nature derives, I believe, from this double affirmation.
Yet we do not live in the first chapter of Genesis. We live–if one follows the biblical sequence of events–after the Fall. In any case, we live in a world of suffering in which evil is rampant, a world whose events do not confirm our Being, a world that has to be resisted. It is in this situation that the aesthetic moment offers hope. That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe. I try to describe as accurately as possible the experience in question; my starting point is phenomenological, not deductive; its form, perceived as such, becomes a message that one receives but cannot translate because, in it, all is instantaneous. For an instant, the energy of one’s perception becomes inseparable from the energy of the creation.
The aesthetic emotion we feel before a man-made object–such as the white bird with which I started–is a derivative of the emotion we feel before nature. The white bird is an attempt to translate a message received from a real bird. All the languages of art have been developed as an attempt to transform the instantaneous into the permanent. Art supposes that beauty is not an exception–is not in despite of–but is the basis for an order.
Several years ago, when considering the historical face of art, I wrote that I judged a work according to whether or not it helped men in the modern world claim their social rights. I hold to that. Art’s other, transcendental, face raises the question of man’s ontological right.
The notion that art is the mirror of nature is one that only appeals in periods of scepticism. Art does not imitate nature, it imitates a creation, sometimes to propose an alternative world, sometimes simply to amplify, to confirm, to make social the brief hope offered by nature. Art is an organized response to what nature allows us to glimpse occasionally. Art sets out to transform the potential recognition into an unceasing one. It proclaims man in the hope of receiving a surer reply…the transcendental face of art is always a form of prayer.
The white wooden bird is wafted by the warm air rising from the stove in the kitchen where the neighbours are drinking. Outside, in minus 25ºC, the real birds are freezing to death!
History of a bear that found freedom through art
May 2006. Bruno, a two year old brown bear, born at Adamello Park in Trentino, crosses the Italian borders heading towards Austria and Germany. During its wanderings in Bavaria and Tyrol, Bruno does not attack people but causes several problems for local farmers by killing sheep, chickens, rabbits and other animals. It gets close to human houses without any fear.
Several attempts to capture it. Two weeks of fruitless pursuits. Experts agree that a bear without any fear to get close to residential areas, is a threat to humans. Then, the decision to shoot it down.
Bruno belonged to a species that had been missing in Germany for over 170 years and it was part of an ambitious Italian project for the brown bear’s reintroduction in the central Alps. The tragic ending of the event generated a lively debate and offered food for thought to Cracking Art. In fact, this piece of news gave birth to the bear, one of the artworks belonging to the giant animals’ zoo of the movement.
In Cracking Art poetic the bear expresses affinity and opposition at the same time towards human beings. It’s a wild and ferocious animal but it can also be associated to a playful reality and to the idea of both protection and tenderness.
Let’s think about Teddy Bear, the iconic toy traditionally placed in children’s cradles. Let’s think also about fairy tales: from the oldest stories of Aesop and Phaedrus to the most modern cartoons such as Winny the Poo or the ones by Hanna-Barbera, from the Nordic countries fairy tales like the Russian story of Masha and the Bear until Baloo by Kipling and Goldilocks’ three bears by Robert Southey.
The duplicity of this animal, beloved and rejected by human beings, fits to represent one of the key concepts in Cracking Art philosophy: the gap between Nature and Artifice, Environment and Human, Preservation and Progress.
Through urban invasions like the one of Treviso in 2006 or Orio Center installation in 2008, the bear has become a metaphor of coexistence with people. A hymn to freedom in which even Bruno can finally get in touch with human beings evoking the wildest part of each of us in the attempt to bridge the gap that separates us from Nature.
Interview curated by Roberta Mais for Oubliettemagazine
R.M.: Cracking Art movement was born in 1993 and its name indicates a kind of art that wants to break, to crack, to split. What does it mean? Why this name and from what are you taking distance?
Cracking Art: The expression “cracking” is related to the thermo-chemical industrial process named molecular deconstruction. Specifically, the catalytic cracking is the chemical reaction that occurs when the raw crude oil, one of the most ancient substances in the world, is converted into plastic, same as when the organic turns into inorganic. The main core of our work is to investigate this relationship between nature and artificial reality. “Cracking” express also the idea of breaking with the concept of the single artist: we work as a team and for this reason we decided to emphasize the importance of collaboration. We tried not to be influenced by the dynamics of the system. Putting our artworks not only in museums and galleries but also through streets, squares, shops and shopping malls, we tried to break with the prejudice that art is separated from society, overcoming the gap between artists and audience.
R.M.: Your teamwork is composed of six members from Italy and other European countries: how did you meet and how did the intention to associate art with a social and environmental commitment come up?
Cracking Art: There is a starting point: 4 members of the group are from Biella, town in Piedmont. The idea to create the movement was inspired by the common interest for art and the original conviction of the importance to cooperate for give value to the artistic work. Choosing plastic as the material for the creation of artworks, the very first intention of the movement was to associate its activity with a clear message of recycling. Plastic used for our urban artistic installations sculptures has properties of a virtual eternal power and can be crushed and reshaped into other sculptures. A real cycle of life to affirm that in art as in nature nothing is created and nothing is destroyed. But everything changes, renews and regenerates.
R.M .: It’s a long time that your animals are travelling around the world and thanks to more than 7.000 creations placed at Orio Center shopping mall in 2014 you have entered the Guinness World Record. What does this mean for you?
Cracking Art: The term used for our installations is “invasion”. We invade urban contexts around the world in a playful and peaceful way in order to represent the multiplication of images, products, information, connections that characterize our era. Realize artistic installations in different parts of the world is a fundamental part of our work. Enter the Guinness World Record gave us the opportunity to reach a wide audience not only interested in Art. We are proud of it.
R.M .: What is the message you would like the audience to grasp admiring your artworks?
Cracking Art: First of all we hope to inspire a positive emotion with our artworks. Our aim is to create contemporary fairytales in which everyone can fell into as a character. In each place we perform the interaction between people and our creations is awesome. Our hope is that this relationship can inspire creativity and a different point of view for observing the surrounding reality.
R.M .: Among your creations, do you have a favorite one?
Cracking Art: We have two favorite creations. The turtle because with this artwork we participated at 2001 Biennale in Venice. And then the snail, with which we have traveled around the world starting from Milan in 2009. Those two animals are slow and move bringing with them their home. We can consider their shells our shields for working in these years.
R.M .: Twenty-one years passed since Cracking Art movement was born: have you reached the goals you established at the very beginning?
Cracking Art: Results have been far beyond what the original expectations were. We didn’t expect a feedback so important although our motivations have always been very strong. In 1993 Internet and Internet 2.0 didn’t exist. The social networks development has facilitated the diffusion of our art: we can consider our animals as social artworks.
R.M .: What do you see in the future for the movement?
Cracking Art: The future is in the project “Art regenerates Art” that wants to develop a deep collaboration among artists, industry and society along an itinenary where every actions we take shall include a small piece of art with the aim of renovating the art of the past through contemporary art. Milan’s Duomo Cathedral and Portico di San Luca in Bologna are two examples. Our installation in Riga supported the creation of the first Contemporary Art Museum in Latvia. “Art regenerates Art” project is expanding our areas of creative interest.
R.M .: Thank you for your kindness and thank you especially for what you do with your wonderful art.
by Patrick Alton
A comparison with life by means of highly emblematic sculptures standing for a symbolic representation of the Real and accessible to everyone: that’s Cracking Art.
Art! Here’s the core of the matter.
And what about the work of art?
Does the Artist make art? And the Poet poetry? What’s their ultimate purpose?
All expected questions rising from such a Man’s act resulting from personal reaction to life and events and striking enough to generate a huge interest especially when its consequence is an artistic creation publicly acclaimed by the whole society.
Nowadays it’s getting harder and harder to get a sense of art as well as of the artistic act: lost among huge amounts of information and polemics about the very function, necessity and nature of Art, we find it difficult to understand how and to what extent these symbolic creations can be contextualized after years of transformations and investigations on human thought and on the perception of the Real.
How – and what – can the Artist give us compared with any other human creation and beyond the limits of a scientific experience?
Maybe a fleeting glimpse of the Unknown?
Some truth on the borderline of a mystical experience?
Perhaps a new stimulus to experience different fields and start a brand new life embracing a completely different value system?
Another approach to the tangible world?
What about the work of art?
Right here, in this boundless place, we find the Artist appointed “supreme Listner” and endowed with a highly developed faculty of sensory and intellectual perceptions.
Cracking Art: an extraordinary experience thanks to the highly symbolic environmental impact of these creations. A spontaneous, sensitive and instinctive taking back possession of our human condition and of a deeper sense of “togetherness”.
Maybe we can call it a new attempt to reinvest us both in space and time and put ourselves on the line again with a new perspective of sharing: sharing our world with other living creatures in order to reach the ultimate meaning of Life.
The works of art created by Cracking Art are far from a mere reproduction of the identical, of the recognizable. They give shape to a new conscience imbued with this feeling of brotherly sharing, a reality where Space is simultaneously actor and spectator. The very choice to use recyclable plastic to create artworks seems to evoke in the eye of the beholder a reflection about the meaning of existence together with its countless transformations and becomings.
Here’s the work of art!
The visual impact of Cracking Art creations plays with the old meaning of the beautiful and of the transcendental. These artworks, together with their names (representative each time of entire species) and their size, embody the group’s vision, smiling at the old fashioned conception of a serious commitment from a new, poetic plan of existence. In conclusion, they’re more than just a means to widen our mental horizons while approaching Nature in search of the meaning of life. Cracking Art reminds us of the necessity of a mild sensitivity and vulnerability in front of the artistic expression in its true essence insofar as it’s an important and multifaced chance for us to rediscover, in the most natural way possible, a place where interactions between the Real and the Symbolic can still take place.
That’s the final and most noble purpose of Art.
The engine of Art
“Art is the endless research, the assimilation of past experiences and the realization of new experiences, in forms, contents, materials, techniques, and resources.”
With this statement of Bruno Munari, one of the greatest exponent of art, design and graphics of the twentieth century, we can understand the similarities that distinguished the collaborations between Cracking Art, an art movement which creates its artworks starting from industrial process, and FIAT, the leading Italian manufacturer for cars.
The first opportunity to work together came up in 2007, when the new FIAT 500, created by Roberto Giolito, entered the market. In September a great exhibition dedicated to Cracking Art was set at Fondazione Mazzotta in Milan, a prestigious cultural space that hosted exhibitions of the most important artists in the world: from Goya to Rodin, from Boccioni to Chagall, from De Chirico to Mirò, from Dix to Warhol, from Modigliani to Klee.
The exhibit, entitled “Cracking Art – Breaking Art”, represented a moment of reflection on the poetics of the group and, according to the definition of the art critic Philippe Daverio, a thought on its “ironic and irreverent art” which starting from nature arrives to petroleum, source of many plastic products. Thanks to the importance of the Foundation and the originality of Cracking Art work, FIAT supported the event making a Cinquecento customized version with Cracking animals.
A second occasion to collaborate came up in 2014 at Collisioni Festival in Barolo. According to the Festival theme, “Wild Creatures”, Cracking Art artworks were placed throughout the main locations as icons of contemporary fairytales. Moreover, in order to accompany the artworks, there were famous phrases of writers from the past and present who have reasoned on animals and nature, animating the stories of literature and myth: from Romulus and Remus to Mowgli, from the “Noble Savage” of Rousseau until White Fang and Sepulveda.
During the event, Cracking Art-Alfa Romeo partnership was promoted through the contest entitled “How many frogs can get into Alfa Romeo Mito?”. The aim was to identify the exact number of frogs contained into the car which was completely invaded by colorful frogs made of plastic. The title of the contest was inspired to the famous and ironic slogan “How many elephants can get into FIAT 500?”.
Finally, the last initiative which saw the name of Cracking Art close to the one of FIAT was the installation at Castello Sforzesco in 2014. For the occasion Cracking Art created a new artwork symbol of regeneration: the swallow (you could find more information here). In these circumstances, in order to celebrate a desire of rebirth, Fiat 500, that in this period was in the middle of a restyling operation, became part of the installation as a sort of giant incubator of eggs made of plastic.
In fact, during the event, alongside a flock of giant swallows, a fund-raising event was promoted with Italia Nostra Foundation: small sculptures were donated in exchange for a donation and a sign on eggs made of plastic.
“The egg as a symbol of rebirth has become lost in the mists of time, old traditions and pagan superstitions. Although no mathematical operation can calculate the formula for this “breeding-ground for life”, the new installation presented by Cracking Art and Fiat identifies a real Regeneration equation. The 500 eggs used for the installation added to Fiat Cinquecento makes a total of 1000, that is the number of small swallow-shaped sculptures placed at disposal of the Fondazione Italia Nostra to promote fundraising for the restoration of the equestrian monument of Bernabò Visconti. Cracking Art & Fiat work actively together to express a new development line, in which art and industry are closely linked together” – Maria Vittoria Baravelli
It would be nice if something made sense for a change – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
In Cracking Art artistic philosophy, the rabbit is one of the most charming animals. It is not only an animal friendly to human but also a creature full of allegorical meanings, often associated in stories and fairy tales to the dimension of the dreams and the surreal.
The origins of this artwork go back to 2008, a very difficult moment because of the economic and social crisis that was affecting Italy and the whole world. These unfavorable circumstances gave the movement a push to resist: Cracking Art decided to interpret the crisis creating a new artwork, an animal that could be a good omen for the return of better prospects.
The choice fell on the rabbit, metaphor of fecundity and productivity thanks to its extraordinary ability to reproduce. For the very first time the artwork was presented to the public during XXXVIII Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs Conference in Portofino. The initiative, entitled “RE-production”, wanted to promote new economic and social prospects according to the responsible use of energies and the recycling of materials.
Moreover, for the movement the rabbit has got a dual meaning because its symbolism can also show a negative aspect: as the proliferation of plastic is harmful to the planet, so the rabbit can have an invasive connotation. In Australia, for example, rabbits are almost a plague because of their large number: every year they cause millions of dollars of damage to crops. Also progress and productivity without being supported by common sense and moderation can be harmful and polluting for the environment.
The rabbit is also associated with the dimension of illusion, magic and fairy tale. In Lewis Carroll’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit is a sort of key pass for a metaphysical dimension. Cracking Art rabbits are not only white. They are yellow, blue, green, pink, fuchsia: they are a sort of symbolic multiplication in order to increase the entrances to other dimensions abolishing borders that limit the observation of reality. Even the choice of the animal’s position, with ears sticking up and wide-open eyes, indicates an attitude of attention and curiosity for the surrounding reality.
After Portofino, the rabbit was among Cracking Art animals in several installations in Italy and abroad. From Brussels to Kampa Museum in Prague, from Miami to Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, from Chartres to Paris which hosted the wonderful installation at Magasine Printemps realized with the collaboration of Marc Jacobs.
Art reveals who we are and who we long to be – Erwin McManus
In 2014, the same year Latvia entered in Eurozone, Riga has been chosen by European Union as Capital of Culture. During this period Riga, one of the most enchanting destinations bathed by Baltic Sea, has been the theatre for countless events and initiatives that have shown to the world the best of its cultural, artistic and social traditions.
For the occasion, in order to celebrate the great change of the capital, 15 Cracking Art giant snails have been present during the event becoming mouthpieces of a very important message: to bring contemporary art in Latvia promoting the opening of the very first contemporary art museum in Riga.
When the capital was a crossroads by lovers of music, fine arts, dance, theater, cinema and new performative disciplines, to support the creation of a new contemporary art museum meant to promote Latvian art and the development of art education for both a national and international audience, having an important role in integrating culture in Riga.
Cracking Art snails, symbol of regeneration and renewal, could not ignore this slow journey towards a future full of new prospects. The snail in fact, born in 2008 for Expo 2015, represents for the movement a guide for evolution and improvement thanks to its burr that is able to make alive again what gets in touch with it.
For this reason red, blue, orange, yellow and white snails have traced a symbolic trail starting from the New National Library, passing near the Art Nouveau District and reaching the main interest points of the city such as the historical center (the Town Hall Square, the Cathedral, the Museum of Occupation for example), since 1997 in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
At the end of the initiative a celebrating event was realized: a number of snails were painted by some Latvian artists in front of the Museum of the Occupation to bring a message of participation in front of a place that evokes division and repression senselessness.
March of the Penguins
Today the story that we are going to tell you is about the penguin, Cracking Art artwork that represents one of the most beloved animals in the world.
The origins of the penguin go back to 2005, when the exhibit “Sul filo della Lana” curated by Philippe Daverio took place at Museo del Territorio Biellese and Fabbrica Pria in Biella. The exhibition constituted a perfect opportunity to create a new artwork, an animal related to a cold climate that could sympathize with the theme of wool.
The choice fell immediately on the penguin that for accidental circumstances caught the media attention precisely in those years. In addition to “March of the Penguins”, a nature documentary directed and co-written by Luc Jacquet that became a real cult all over the world, the debate on global warming and melting ice became intense among the ecologists. Cracking Art imagined a long march of blue penguins with their woolen scarves emigrating from the Antarctic to Biella, finding refuge in these areas of Italy.
An ideal symbol for the movement, not only because of its ecological meaning but also for the friendly nature of this animal. The penguin, with its funny gait, loves staying in large families in order to nest and reproduce. It is also a very determined and courageous animal, able to make great efforts to survive renewing its existence.
After Biella, the penguin was among Cracking Art animals in several installations. From “Red Penguin in Venice” on the Grand Canal in Venice at Biennale 2005, to “March of the Penguins Yellow”, the permanent installation created in 2008 for the exhibit “RE-evolution” at Kampa Museum in Prague.
In addition, since 2005, the penguin has become the symbol of 21C Museum Hotels in USA. Here different families of penguins have become exclusive mascots: red for Louisville, green for Betonville, fuchsia for Durham, blue for Lexington, yellow for Cincinnati, purple for Oklahoma City. In the hotels’ halls and through the museums’ spaces it’s easy to meet these animals, ideal travel and life companions thanks to the empathy they can inspire.
Cracking Art is a kind of art that looks at the society creating a direct contact with people. For this reason different realities have been supported by the movement in their charity initiatives.
During September Cracking Art has participated to amfAR’s eighth annual gala and auction in Milan, an exclusive event that hosted numerous Italian and international guests together with important personalities belonging to business, entertainment and fashion. Heather Graham, Adriana Lima, Dita Von Teese and Lottie Moss are just some of the names. During the event a new record was set: 2 million dollars were raised of which over $ 50,000 came from the elegant blue rabbit donated by Cracking Art.
On the eve of Monza Grand Prix F1, the movement participated also to F1 Laureus Charity Night, a fund-raising event related to sport and social areas, organized by Laureus Italia Onlus Foundation. During the event a charity auction will be held by Christie’s, one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world, where unique and precious art pieces will be donated by famous luxury brands including a wolf of the colorful Cracking Art zoo that has been won for 3.200 euros. The amount will support Laureus Italia charity and social projects. Thanks to this kind of support Laureus Foundation can help through sport activities and educational programs, children living in conditions of great deprivation.
Sport has been the underlying theme also during TV Sports Awards 2016, the exclusive event organized to support Play for Change Foundation initiatives around in the world. Also in this occasion Cracking Art has participated with one of its artworks that has been won for 4,000 euro. The amount donated to the Foundation will be used to help disadvantaged children giving them the opportunity to take educational programs that promote sport as a tool for social change.
Promoting fund-raising events in favor of important projects fits perfectly in the movement dna that from 2012 is committed to support cultural initiatives with the project “Art Regenerates Art”: a program of a systemic intervention on the cultural heritage, based on the idea that contemporary art can save the one of the past promoting concrete actions to recuperate monuments.
Cracking Art installations are combined with donations of mini sculptures that promote fund-raising events. The proceeds gets entirely devolved in favor of the restoration of monuments or in support of important social and cultural projects such as the digitization of Dante’s texts in Ravenna, the restoration of Notre-Dame de Calais and the renovation of the fountains at Reggia di Caserta.
Supporting realities such as amfAR, Laureus Italia and Play for Change, Cracking Art brings not only a message of rebirth to the urban context and to the historical human memory but it supports social projects with great international value.
by Damien Sausset
What use is art? What else can it add to this kind of constant apathy and more or less euphoric resignation which is presented to us as the progress of civilization? Is it still in a position to struggle against the crudest and most cynically powerful forms and the compliance of the world towards the ruthless laws of the market? These are pivotal, important questions. Questions to which the answers affect not only our future but also our capacity to endure and reinvent ourselves. And yet, the most disconcerting signs of a worsening of the situation are all out there. To be convinced, take a look at the atmosphere of disenchantment and deep melancholy that permeates the current world and which the cinema and media have maliciously helped themselves to for some time .Reality seems to escape or more precisely, dissolve. It loses all consistency confronted with the power of these symbolic forms (and beings) which present themselves to the world in the shape of superficial likenesses to be avidly devoured.
Art therefore, is dead, reduced to being a commodity equal to all others, with it’s own economy, networks and markets, different in appearance from a vacuum cleaner or an automobile but structurally identical. Notwithstanding the growing flood of incredulity towards an ever more artificial daily life there are those who still dare to think that art is that incomprehensible act which is able to oppose all rationality: this is the line of thought adopted by the Cracking Art movement.
Founded in Biella in 1993, with this view of the world as a starting point, the group has formulated some very interesting ideas. All of the members of the group refuse to accept that culture and art can today have the same cognitive bonds of an opinion poll and know how to epitomize the image of a people responsible for their own recognition. The richer and more abundant this image reveals itself to be, diversified to provoke bewilderment and satiating to the point of nausea, the harder it becomes for politics to find a good reason to act in society.
Faced with all of this, Cracking Art counters with a personal form of resistance. At the root of the movement lies the categorical refusal of the notion of “author”, a cardinal principle, although widely outdated, of the consumer society. It is as a group therefore, used as a symbolic mask, that these artists advance and make inroads in the world. Their names (it should be noted) are: Alex Angi, Kicco, Marco Veronese, William Sweetlove, Renzo Nucara and Carlo Rizzetti.
The concept itself of a group is an integral part of the movement and was conceived as a productive union of disparate skills, simultaneously at work creating a direct action or an exhibition. The works therefore are born from dialogue, comparisons, the common flowering of multiple ideas and their successive adjustment to unexpected influences of external dynamics.
How to define Cracking Art? Like every artistic movement fully aware of their past triumphs and errors, the group has been in a position to successfully recuperate some concepts and radically reinvent them. It is possible therefore to detect in their works an undeniable kinship with Pop Art because of the same ability to disconcert the iconographic system of the media world and our society. But instead of making an easy target of the products of an era dedicated to consumerism (from the image of stars to the entire range of goods available on the market) Cracking Art play with an army of coloured animals, an ensemble of simple but highly symbolic figures. At the same time they have fully understood how a real artist cannot base himself on the philosophy of “ready-made” or revert to the strategy of objects in common use, dislocated from their natural environment and raised to the status of works of art by virtue of merely reconstructing them in a place which is “other”. Their plastic creations (penguins, crocodiles) are multiples, infinite, in the same way as general produce in the world. Refusing the old romantically derived bourgeois concept of uniqueness they join our symbolic universe like a cynical parody of reality. They are multiple and therefore numerous and like a virus they can reach every corner of the earth, giving way to the creation of raw physical and imaginary spaces.
Differing from the inclinations of many contemporaries, the Group do not refute the concept of God, rather they confer on Him a new value reintroducing the anathema dear to the Age of Enlightenment with a different, spectacular tone: with Cracking Art the artist ceases to be God to the extent in which he is able to recompose the mystery. The metaphysical space, inside of which everything can suddenly take shape, is the mystery itself. With a nod towards this turnabout in interpretation, Crackers propose plastic as a new raw material: derived from petroleum, an organic fossil residue, it can be moulded by the artist to give birth to new shapes. In this way, plastic becomes the symbol of the energy of the present, spreading the transition from primeval Earth ( of time immemorial, the predecessors of Man, the Gods and the Earth’s organic memory) to the present world, represented by a moment immortalized and studded with uncertainties for a future dominated by technological power.
The conflict between Nature and Culture is settled, the two poles are reunited and become eternally inseparable.
At this point we could make an inventory of the creations of the Group and see how many of their works could not have found other “means of reception” other than in public, devised as an arena inside of which we all move and where all conflicts, between politics and society, order and disorder, between the disparate habits of the individual and standardized rationality of business, between the real world and the individual need for escape, take shape.
Red penguins, green crocodiles, yellow dogs… these figures of symbolic beasts become at that moment custodians of a conscience to be reawakened. They remind us that with the progressive fading away of reality which surrounds us, the only influence that can have an effective hold on humanity is that which returns again to consider Art as a symbol of unconditional and absolute freedom, because it is unnecessary to be in the public domain, with it’s laws, values and government.D.SAUSSET
Strength of sticking together
Collaboration means to put together forces in order to create something great and the story that we are going to tell you today is about a Cracking Art work that represents this idea.
The meerkat was born in a delicate moment of the movement history. The idea of creating this work took shape in 2008 and the impulse was the abandonment of a group member who decided to follow a personal artistic career. The creation of a new artwork in a difficult moment like that meant to reaffirm the importance of the group dimension and to affirm that working as a team could be possible.
The meerkat is a small social animal that communicates the idea of a great collaboration. It lives in families of 20/30 members and represents the ability to adapt to external circumstances because it is able to survive even in the most hostile conditions.
Moreover, the meerkat is a very responsive creature, able to communicate quickly and to be a sentinel within the group, indicating the presence of potential dangers. For this reason the artists decided to represent the animal standing up on its feet in order to guard the surrounding area while the others are involved in the hunt. It’s not a case that in Cracking Art installations the meerkats are curious observers placed in strategic places around the city.
The first Cracking Art installation with meerkats was in 2009 at Sanremo during the period of the Song Festival. The event was titled “Chesa(n)remo” and it was characterized by the presence of six giant rabbits and fifty small meerkats. The idea was to express the uncertainty of the human progress characterized by the opposition between few large powers and a lot of small realities.
Later there were the installations in France at Chartres, Le Mans and Calais or the performances through Siena historic streets or at the wonderful garden in Valsanzibio . Sometimes the meerkats have been associated with messages by the use of signs. This is the case of the ironic “Save the plastic” at Tortona in 2011: an invitation to recycle the plastic giving it new life. Same thing in Bangkok where, after the first attack suffered by the nation in 2015, meerkats brought strong messages of social cohesion in order to create a better world in which to live.
Because in the end the true meaning of collaboration is to share the action of creating and sharing creativity is part of Cracking Art deep nature.
Art is Regeneration
Sustainability and respect for the environment have enlivened Cracking Art movement since its origins.
The issue came up when the artists had to choose the material for the creation of artworks. Plastic is one of the most modern materials, used for the production of several products and also for human body prothesis and nanomedicine.
At the same time plastic is one of the substances which pollute the planet, potentially harmful not only for humans but also for the entire ecosystem.
For this reason, the very first intention of the movement was to associate the installations with a message of recycling and with the desire to give value to the plastic through art.
It was not a coincidence that the first urban installation realized by Cracking Art has been the one of December 1996, when a thousand gold dolphins floated in the air at Arengario di Palazzo Reale in Milan: an initiative organized thanks to the collaboration with Replastic Consortium, born at this time in order to raise awareness on plastic materials.
Later, many other initiatives have seen Cracking Art collaborating with organizations for nature protection. And also the artworks took life with the idea of respect for the environment.
The dolphin is the first animal created by the artists. It has a strong ecological meaning: despite being among the most beloved animals it is often threaten by the constant danger of plastic dispersion in the sea.
Also the turtle, often victim of pollution, is one of the beloved animals. How can forget the invasion of 500 gold turtles at Biennale gardens? The initiative entitled SOS WORLD took place in 2001 and it was one of the most important moments in Cracking Art history.
Another animal related to environmental issues is the penguin: its survival is related to the problem of global warming and ice melting. Despite being appreciated by a lot of people, this animal is constantly endangered by human technological progress that brings wellness to man but damages the planet.
The idea of Cracking Art was to use the animals in order to focus the attention on an issue that twenty-three years ago was not so common. A real innovation for the period.
Later the popular consciousness has changed, there is more sensitivity on these issues and Cracking Art has decided to open up to other themes, keeping an eye on ecology and environment.
For this reason Cracking Art works can be regenerated, chopped and recycled in order to produce other artworks. A real cycle of life to affirm that in art as in nature nothing is created and nothing is destroyed. But everything changes and becomes artwork.
In fairy tales wolves are often described as bad creatures but the story that we are going to tell you today is about a good wolf, born in order to protect a special place.
The origins of Cracking Art wolf are related to Ca ‘del Bosco, one of the most prestigious and trailblazing wineries in Italy, leader in the Franciacorta production field. The winery is characterized by a particular atmosphere generated by the fusion of wine, art and nature: the enchanting scenery blends with the intellectual provocation of contemporary art because of the presence of surprising sculptures that adorn the landscape with their colors.
Thanks to this passion for art the owner of the winery, Maurizio Zanella, asked for a Cracking Art new sculpture, a wood animal that could be a careful guardian of the wine yard and of its enchanting scenery. The name, “Ca ‘del Bosco”, suggested the idea of the wolf, directly associated with the story of Little Red Riding Hood and more generally with the fairy-tale and fable dimensions.
Moreover this animal, a creature full of charm, a source of inspiration for Aesop, Phaedrus, Brothers Grimm until Herman Hesse tales, is able to express the idea of protection and responsibility. It is also the animal more similar to the dog and for this reason it represents the connection between nature and domestic environment, one of the most important themes for the movement.
In this way, from 2010 a pack of 99 blue wolves is placed on the winery roof welcoming the hosts with its elegance. A symbol that has also become the icon of Italian products excellence. From this point of view, it’s important to mention Cracking Art installation at Bastioni di Porta Venezia in Milan for Expo 2015, and then at Branca Collection, in vast spaces of the company historic production plant, from over 170 symbol of the Made in Italy excellence all over the world.
The eye shape, the depth look, the solemn and hieratic profile were inspired by the Egyptian symbology and in particular by Anubis, guardian of the passage between life and death. This is a further aspect that makes the wolf one of the most mysterious and emblematic works of Cracking Art, metaphor of the organic-inorganic process, called catalytic cracking, that inspired the name of the movement.
Finally, the wolf is both an individual and social animal. On one hand it communicates the idea of pack and common action: wolves hunt, breed offspring and defend the territory in an integrated and coordinated way. On the other side the wolf is related to the literary and romantic loneliness and represents the individual strength. This ambivalent aspect alludes to the nature of Cracking Art and its artists, able to work together but at the same time lone wolves who express their creativity also in an independent way.
Loving the earth
Cracking Art and Slow Food: two snails for Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016, the most important international event dedicated to food and gastronomy. Two snails that support important values such as to take care of the environment and to live in harmony with nature, and that promote a model of simplicity for a higher quality of life.
The initiative, organized with “Regione Piemonte”, “Comune di Torino” and, among the others, with “Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT” that supported our installation, wants to bring awareness on food and sustainability. The theme of this year edition is loving the earth and preserving the planet in which we are living.
The snail, not by chance created for Expo 2015, has been chosen by Cracking Art because it’s the most representative artwork related to land and its wealth. Moreover, the burr of this animal is able to make alive again what gets in touch with it. For this reason, in Cracking Art Philosophy, the snail is a symbol of Regeneration and it’s a guide for evolution and improvement by using new energies.
From the center of Milan in 2009 the snails have made a long journey: passing through Istanbul, Miami, Sydney, Riga and New York, finally they arrived near the Mole Antonelliana few days ago. For the very first time, Salone del Gusto becomes an opportunity to discover the charm of Turin in an unusual way. This year, in order to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the event, Salone del Gusto will involve the whole city: a perfect scenery for Cracking artworks, designed for urban installations.
From blue to pink, from yellow to green, from red to white, our snails are bringing a wave of joyful participation to the most characteristic places of the city: in order to welcome the extraordinary initiative, Palazzo Reale, Piazza Castello, Parco del Valentino, Teatro Carignano and other places will be more similar to colorful fields until September 26.
The swallow mad flight
Just at the hour when her sad lay begins
The little swallow, near unto the morning,
Perchance in memory of her former woes
The swallow chirping anticipates Dante’s dream in the ninth canto of Purgatory. A vision that captures the poet during the sunrise, when the first lights of the day rise through the sky and dreams are closer to reality.
This is the literary episode that inspired the choice to pose three giant swallows in the garden of Alfredo Oriani Library in Ravenna. Three like the poet’s favorite number, swallows like the allegorical figures that express something abstract through a concrete image. While Dante with his poetic words brings reality to a metaphorical dimension, Cracking Art with its sculptures gives a metaphorical dimension to everyday life.
Tomorrow the city where Dante Alighieri spent the last years of his life, will celebrate the opening of Id_Dante, an ambitious project on the figure of the poet, created by Marco Miccoli with the curatorship of Maria Vittoria Baravelli. The project – which will culminate in 2021 – will start with the exhibition “Il Volto di Dante, per una traduzione contemporanea”: from September 18 to October 23 the exhibit will stay at the Library with the aim of promoting a new iconography of Dante using the contemporary art approach.
The Comedy pattern will be reproduced through the exhibition of 33 + 1 artworks which, using different techniques, will translate Dante’s different languages in a modern way: from graphics to comics, from mosaic to Technogel, from bread to Tape Art. Among them there will also be artworks realized by four of our artists which give a contemporary interpretation to the face of Dante, each one arised by a particular sensitivity and technique. The individual expression is not limited by the group dimension of Cracking Art which, as a movement, will participate with one of his most significant animals.
The swallows, not surprisingly placed near the tomb of Dante Alighieri, represent an invitation to reflection in order to inspire the new generations. Moreover, the swallow, symbol of rebirth and regeneration, will pursue a very important task. Small swallow sculptures will on sale at Caffé Letterario in Ravenna, launching a fundraising with the aim of creating the digital version of the early twentieth century books about Dante that are nowadays difficult to consult. It is the project “Art Regenerates Art” that this time brings a new life to poetry.
A book does not exist if nobody read it and give new usability to these texts means evaluating the memory of Dante and all virtues bound to him. The swallow with his “mad flight” is the mouthpiece of this mission, restoring vital energy to the written word and inviting people to be part of the project and, further on, of the artwork itself.
The fame of Rezzato for marble and stone processing has ancient origins. Try to imagine a quarry. Try to imagine a majestic place with impressive white walls and the shape of a huge amphitheater overlooking a spring water lake. This is the beautiful landscape that welcomes people moving through Po Valley towards Cava Burgazzi, symbol of these lands and their characteristic mining activity.
From today until October 2, this inspiring scenery will be taken under care of a colored pack of plastic wolves: yellow, green and red will add chromatic notes to the lake, creating a magical and mysterious atmosphere. At the head of the group, in the middle of the proud and immobile herd, there will be a wolf made of Botticino marble, created for the event.
The exhibit is called “Cave Canem” and it has been organized by Consorzio Marmisti Bresciani with the curatorship of Lillo Marciano. “The relationship between Marble and Plastic is the main reason that explains a Cracking Art event in a beautiful abandoned quarry” said Marciano.
The event celebrates also the birth of a new artwork: the marble wolf, synthesis of the comparison between natural and artificial. The marble is the most prestigious natural stone, able to survive the fugacity of time. It is the material most used by the classical art and it has a great aesthetic value. The plastic is the medium chosen by Cracking Art for its creations. It’s a very modern material but it has its roots in a millenary tradition of civilization.
Comparing marble with plastic means creating an ideal itinerary from the ancient to the contemporary sculpture. The desire to create a wolf made of marble came alive also from experiences such as the installation at Duomo of Milan or at Reggia di Caserta that created a bridge between classicism and modernity.
The Wolf, that transmits the idea of the pack and of acting for the common good, is also the most hieratic and elegant animal for Cracking Art. This artwork also includes the idea of solidity and individual strength.
As the practice of the project “Art regenerates Art” – that since 2012 consists of a fundraising for restoration of the cultural heritage and for the support to cultural projects – small plastic animals will be sold throughout the duration of the event. The proceeds will be destined to Rodolfo Vantini School, the oldest institute in Lombardy with its headquarters in Rezzato (Brescia).
In this way Plastic supports Marble as, in the cultural mission of Cracking Art, Contemporary art supports Ancient art.
Cracking Art and the poetry of being a child
The surrounding reality has become a habit for adults, so focused on living in a society where there is no time for anything. Do you remember what the world looked like when you were a child?
When we were kids the world was a discovery and things that now seem small and expected were a great source of joy and wonder. Children are sensitive to the poetry of things and they are able to bring out the beauty from simplicity. A child could stay for hours playing with a pebble or watching with wide eyes the images of a book, pointing the curious finger right and left.
Walking through the streets of a big city and finding a fuchsia giant snail is like finding the little child within us. The animals of Cracking Art zoo, with their bright colors and their simple and immediate forms, are an irresistible attraction for children of all the ages. They are the characters of stories that mum tells before sleeping, those enchanted fairy tales whose origins are lost in myth and legend.
Meeting a wolf at the park entrance or finding a group of colorful frogs in a fountain is like a miracle. The fairy tale can be caught: I can touch it, I can make it a little more real. This is the pedagogical value of art: children through the contact with artworks can learn how to expand the imagination, how to become adults able to change the reality without suffering and how to find a funny aspect in everyday life.
There are a lot of intersections between Cracking Art and the world of childhood and this is a particular aspect that could remember the art of Miró. Miró as well was inspired by the little things: a stain on the wall, a wire, a speck of dust. But if Miró started from the observation of reality in order to fly with fantasy to a parallel world, Cracking Art brings fantasy to everyday life.
One more time Cracking Art exceeds contexts traditionally related to art in order to bring a message of participation. This is appreciated not only by children but also by adults because, as the poet Giovanni Pascoli said, there is a voice within us, a little child that can get in touch with the world in a more authentic way.
Rigeneramento Siena: a new way of flying
Today we are going to tell you the story of “Rigeneramento Siena”, a spectacular art installation that took place in one of the most wonderful locations in Italy, a city that is famous all over the world for its history and artistic heritage.
The beauty of Siena lies also in the Palio, the horse race with medieval origins organized by the contrade that animate the city with their colors, features and glorious origins. The choice of Siena has been very meaningful for Cracking Art movement which creates sculptures that, as the emblems of contrade, remember the mythical characters of fairy tales and fantastic legends.
During autumn 2015, the citizens of Siena have celebrated Cracking Art exhibition beginning to walk through the historical paved roads of the city and carrying with them frogs, meerkats, snails and swallows. A flash mob that gave to the Siena parade tradition a new life transforming people in the artists and promoters of the event. These colorful animals, after had captured curiosity and attention around the downtown streets, were “adopted” and exhibited in the shops of the city, creating a wonderful dialogue between contemporary and ancient art.
The event was supported by a group of citizens that created the committee “Gioca con l’arte”: in a few days Cracking Art slogan “Art regenerates Art” became a catchphrase. Web and social platforms were literally invaded by selfies with artworks that show the great participation of all.
The project, promoted by Comune di Siena with other initiatives for ‘Siena Capitale Italiana della Cultura’, has also exhibited 19 giant swallows in spaces such as Fortezza Medicea, Giardini La Lizza and especially Piazza del Campo which is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The swallow, symbol of freedom and spring, is not the emblem of a specific Siena contrada but it is the subject of a song that everybody sing during the Palio. A symbol that get over rivalry and communicates rebirth for a city looking at the future with pride in its origins. In order to celebrate the initiative there was also the delivery of mini-sculptures to the contrade priors: a wish to the city for a new cultural splendor period.
As always Cracking Art brings a wave of joy and rebirth and it’s a colorful way to remember that we are all responsible for our heritage and for the future generations.
In a frog
The story that we are going to tell you speaks about the frog, one of the most symbolic and meaningful Cracking Art works.
The genesis of this sculpture is very special: it is connected to February 2012 when hundreds of colored frogs and little frogs invaded Brera, historical and artistic district of Milan. The art exhibition “Ranatemporanea” was not only a surprising and original event but also a deep reflection about contemporary themes.
The need to change the world and to take action during a period of economic and cultural crisis becomes urgent and a passive attitude is unbearable. In the same way the frog is tired to be inactive near the pond and so it begins to croak differently: from “cra cra” to “cracking cracking”. It’s a new message: “we have to move the water, we have to change something” because as Aristophanes said in his famous comedy “if everything goes wrong, maybe it’s time to do the opposite of what we have done”.
The frog, like many other sculptures created by the movement, is also associated to the idea of Regeneration: transforming from a water being into an amphibious, the frog symbolizes metamorphosis, transformation and connection between water and land. Moreover it communicates a magical and marvelous value: it’s the toad that becomes a prince after the true love kiss in fairytales.
One year after the symbolic revolution of “Ranatemporanea”, the frogs became protagonists of an extraordinary art installation/performance called “Full of Frogs”.
In April 2013, during the Salone del Mobile event, thousands and thousands of small frogs were tossed into the water of Navigli, the canal district of Milan. It was a great popular event and for the very first time all the citizens of Milan were involved in the artistic creation: the audience was invited to participate actively making a wish and tossing a frog into the water.
The exhibit was characterized not only by a great explosion of colors and a lot of fun but also by a serious purpose: the restoration of a monument. During the exhibition period a fund-raising was established to raise support for the restoration of Leonardo sluice doors at San Marco. This fund-raising initiative is part of the Cracking Art project “Art Regenerates Art” which consists of a a systematic intervention program on artistic and monumental heritage.
by Frantz Piva
Cracking Art is the only artistic movement that is able to model Life, the most ancient cycle on the earth, with Plastic, one of the most modern materials ever seen. The movement decided to use plastic because it is considered a piece of life. Cracking Artists don’t have any prejudices and for them beauty and ugliness can’t be separated: it doesn’t matter how but why. Nobody demonizes plastic but it’s not angelic: it has the uncommon power to be at the same time both attractive and repulsing.
The most important aim for Cracking Art is to demonstrate that petroleum is not mean but it is as deep memory as the creation of the universe preserving all vegetable and natural organisms. Plastic still has all these features: it’s a life culture and it preserves what has been alive without being renewable. As result it is not harmful although it depends on the different ways it is used. So it is interesting to understand how and why Crackers use plastic, one of the most polluting and least degradable materials as their favorite one in order to show that it could be also seen as something precious.
This is not a random choice. Despite being seen as one of the most polluting materials, Crackers’ aim is to show how to recycle and embellish a harmful material. Recycling plastic is not only a ecological proposal but it is also an artistic value: all Cracking Art exhibitions are not permanent but temporary. The ecological meaning is not only towards Nature but also towards Human beings. Cracking Art demonstrate that this is not only possible but it is also entertaining. While aiming at a serious mission you can realize how important irony is and how much both image and artistic creation can benefit from it.
Playing with art is a very serious affair
The most important aim of Cracking Artworks is to light up things that surround our everyday life: Cracking Art giant animals show us through their exasperated dimensions that we aren’t able to notice the beauty in the world anymore.
For Cracking Art this is not a game end in itself, but a complaint of an imaginative mind against the perceptive apathy. And it explains the presence of meerkats, wolves, giant snails and of all the animals of their kaleidoscopic zoo.
Sometimes, the process of recovery of consciousness can’t go through the ostentation of a modus vivendi, there are cases where you need to break away from things and come back to observe what was hidden or latent. It is an inner journey that involves to go back to a primordial dimension that lack almost everything except the time to think.
So the installations. Rather than artworks, these giant animals are tests for the contemporary man, who wants to re-appropriating loneliness and mental purity.
But their work should not be confused with contributions from Land Art: what Cracking artists do isn’t trying to prove the aesthetic value that human activity may have on the environment, but trying instead to recover a certain knowledge. The element of contrast is deliberately strong, to better communicate how nature has had to fight continuous raids. Reconsidering our position in life-cycle could prove the existence of a middle way, between natural and artificial.
Cracking Art is a funny world, to visit and to enjoy. And if artists choose this ironic and a curious approach to life, it’s because of even during a growth path, it’s better to play.
Let there be Art
by Tommaso Trini, 1993
Who can say that it hasn’t been Nature itself to suggest a catalytic aesthetic? Cracking Art propose itself as the first artistic movement to mould the most ancient of terrestrial cycles, organic life, with the certainty of being assisted by Nature most modern synthetic gem: plastic. It could have been a verse added to Genesis but related to the future. Cracking Art returns us a contemporary Genesis by making future biblical. That’s why in its Manifesto there is no article before the name, “The Cracking Art” would suggest an artistic current, an umpteenth trend. Cracking Art is an action, maybe a gesture of power as “Let there be light”… and “Let there be Art”.
Cracking Art explores their reciprocal materialistic exchanges between geology and history to obtain a different idea of form, a new form and much more. I believe that it is also contributing to linguistic evolution and I would not hesitate therefore to consider that, following the “ reconstruction of the Universe” aimed by the Futurists, Cracking artists will undergo a “regeneration of the Universe”. If so that would be welcomed, we damned need it. Furthermore, It is worth to observe the way in which they manipulate the eternal dialectic between natural and artificial, between things and names. It is fascinating how they navigate on such a precipice with their small plastic boats. I like to swim in that topic, that vortex. TOMMASO TRINI
In a swallow
The swallow is one of the last Cracking Art creations: what about its origin and its meanings?
The swallow sculpture was born during the spring in 2014 and the idea came from the need to create a new Cracking Art animal that could be a symbol of Regeneration which is the main inspiring concept of the movement.
The swallow, in fact, is always associated with the awakening of nature and the ideas of rebirth and new life. The swallow stands also for journey and freedom and, building nests on residential roofs, it suggests the idea of cohabitation with humans. By the way the direct connection with people doesn’t change the wild nature of this animal: having a cautious attitude, it always prefers to keep a distance from the ground. From this point of view it was significant the Cracking Art choice of representing the animal standing up on the ground instead of flying in order to establish a spontaneous and playful relationship with humans. The swallow is also a migratory bird bringing popular beliefs and different cultural traditions and so it is also a symbol of dialogue and sharing ideas.
The swallow sculpture appeared for the first time in a Cracking Art exhibition at Castello Sforzesco of Milan during the period of Salone del Mobile in 2014: the exhibition of colorful giant swallows was followed by a fund-raising promoted along with Italia Nostra Foundation in order to restore the equestrian statue of Bernabò Visconti placed at the entrance of the Castle Museum.
In this way the swallow for Cracking Art is not only a metaphor for the regeneration of nature but it is also a symbol of rebirth for the urban context and the monumental artistic heritage.
Cracking Art Xintiandi
“New world”: this is the metaphorical meaning of “Xintiandi” which literally means “New Heaven and New Earth”.
We could say that Cracking Art landed in a real New World because for the very first time the movement created an art exhibition in the most populous nation in the world with an extraordinary history and culture.
This great adventure has been starting from Shanghai. Shanghai – China’s largest port and the most important access for the whole country – is the city with the largest number of inhabitants: a very important symbol for Cracking Art because the movement wants to create artworks that are first of all interactive, artworks that generates a strong emotional involvement and at the same time that are able to establish an intense connection with the public.
Even the choice of the Xintiandi district is not accidental. Xintiandi name evokes the beginning of a new travel and a very particular atmosphere inside the city: contemporary architectures are close to ancient buildings creating a constant dialogue between Past and Present which is a very important theme for Cracking Art Philosophy.
The location and the exhibition will be opened to the public as a fundamental element of Cracking Art creative practice: the aim is to transmit love for art and for nature creating a great interaction between artworks and people which is the real sense of Cracking Art activity.
Let’s regenerate Calais!
This summer, not only Cleveland and Caserta are hosting Cracking Art sculptures but they can also be found in France! Cracking Art animals are invading the city of Calais from the 2nd of July to the 9th of September creating an extraordinary art-itinerary through the most characteristic spots of the city: Grand Theatre, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Place d ‘Armes, Tour du Guet and others.
More than 250 artworks appears on the streets of Calais as a tribute to the city citizens and visitors: this urban form of art gives to creativity a colorful and playful aurea able to seduce both young and elder people. Wolves, snails, meerkats, tropical fish and swallows seem to multiply and interact with the surrounding architectures in a peaceful, though ironic, way.
During the exhibition period a fund-raising will be established to raise support for the restoration of Notre-Dame de Calais: Cracking Art mini-sculptures will be available at the special price of 20 €.
This fund-raising initiative is part of the Cracking Art project “Art Regenerates Art” which consists of a a systematic intervention program on artistic and monumental heritage, founded on the idea that contemporary art can save the past and promote concrete actions for the restoration of monuments.
Cracking Art lights up the beautiful Reggia di Caserta, one of Italy’s great symbols of grand architecture that represents the country’s beauty. From June 22th till 30th of August, giant animals will invade and further brighten up this magnificent palace.
This beautiful monument, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest palaces build in Europe during the 18th century, will host Cracking Art exhibition “Regeneration Reggia” throughout the summer.
Reggia di Caserta will be invaded by more than 50 artworks made of recyclable and recycled plastic. Wolves, frogs, snails, meerkats and swallows are placed at the main entrance and along the gallery “Cannocchiale” which leads to the central axis of the Park.
During the exhibition period a fund-raising will be established to raise support for the restoration of the park fountains: Cracking Art mini-sculptures will be available at the Palace ticket office at the special price of 10 €.
This fund-raising initiative is part of the Cracking Art project “Art Regenerates Art” which consists of a a systematic intervention program on artistic and monumental heritage, founded on the idea that contemporary art can save the past and promote concrete actions for the restoration of monuments.
United (States) Colors of Cracking Art
Cracking Art is brightening up the United Nations building in New York and the city of Cleveland (Ohio) with its unique art installations. Cracking Art animals will be exhibited at the United Nations Building from 13th of June until 4th of July, in support of Unite4Heritage, a global movement powered by UNESCO that aims to celebrate and safe guard cultural heritage around the world. This idea is closely related to Cracking Art project “Art regenerates Art”: contemporary art can save the past, promoting concrete actions for the restoration of monuments.
In Cleveland, 400 artworks representing wolves, frogs, snails, meerkats and swallows have invaded the city and will bring a wave of joy and Regeneration to the city of Cleveland, which is ready to welcome the Republican National Convention. The idea of Regeneration has been inspiring the artistic history of the movement for more than twenty years: the plastic of the urban sculptures is regenerated, it’s matter that has properties of a virtually eternal power, that can be crushed and reshaped into other sculptures.
The sculptures are currently placed at the Great Lakes Science Center and in Cleveland’s Downtown Public Library. Then they’ll move to Malls A and B downtown and will be popping up in the city through November 2016.
Once upon a time the magical value of Cracking Art
Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again – C.S. Lewis
Fairy tales have fed our imagination since childhood: who doesn’t remember those mysterious stories beginning with “Once upon a time”?
In contrast to the past, where fairy tales had the awesome power of leading our fantasy through wonderful worlds, filled with extraordinary characters, nowadays things change very quickly and in a world where images create more awareness than words, the question is: Do Cinderella and Prince Charming, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Puss in Boots and Hop-o’-My-Thumb still exist?
This Era has not lost the pleasure of telling a story but it emphasizes more the symbolic and educational value of fairy tales. This is one of the most important aspects of Cracking Art’s philosophy: the sculptures represent the animal world, which immediately reminds us not only about Aesop, Phaedrus and the Grimm Brothers tales characters, but also the stories of contemporary cartoons. Cracking Art animals are simple and colorful icons of contemporary fables that create immediate associations: who among us has never felt like Little Red Riding Hood in front of the wolf or like Alice in Wonderland with rabbits? And who has not hoped to find the Prince kissing a frog?
In the same way of fairy tales, Cracking Art sculptures have something magic about them: they turn on the imagination and transporting us into a world of wonders where everything is possible and where experience and dreams are combined with the creativity in each of us. And when the artworks are put in an urban context, Cracking Art magic is amplified: everyday monotony and stress break down and everybody look for the little child within us.
Cracking Breaking Art
by Piero Adorno e Claude Lorent (Edizione Mazzotta 2007)
What is common to all of the artists of Cracking Art is their indestructible optimism which is conveyed in their works of art and installations. This dimension to which they are all in agreement: colour, materials, subjects…. causes vibrations in the art field of an unusual tone, without doubt because they are against a pessimistic environment and defeatism in the face of the hard reality of the present day world. Fortunately this option does not detract from the critical aim at the base of their ideas, which is fantastic, colorful, vital, like a continual liveliness and pleasure in being alive.
The use of plastic as a prop and material refers, the artists insist and with reason, to a natural element like petroleum which, appropriately treated is transformed into this material with a process known as “cracking”, from which the name of the group derives. This material is first solidified in granular form and secondly mutated by the creative process used by the artists themselves and their artistic acts, making this source of energy, yearned for all over the planet, into plastic in two senses of the word: as a material on the one hand and as the source and realization of shape on the other.
It is not just a play on words, but reality implemented in the works of art, inasmuch as no distinction can be made between the object and the support, in that the two elements generally create only one thing. The energy is transferred therefore and continues it’s effect through form, volume and images which will continue to spread, since the whole is by now almost incorruptible.
Working with salvaged materials or industrial residue the Cracking artists are practising conservation and recycling, sometimes collecting used bottles and similar waste to make urban installations. This ecological preoccupation may seem paradoxical because of the use of plastic itself if we do not take into account the recycling used to create perennial plastic artworks. As their own work implies, they offer this kind of protection and defence regarding the future of the planet, the subject matters dealt with from the world of Man to fruit, flowers, animals, favouring everything natural and living, all that reminds us with it’s rich scenery and joyful appearance, bright and with the dynamics of movement, the sense of feeling good in the world and with the world. C.LORENT
In a snail
Every Generation needs Regeneration – Charles H. Spurgeon
The snail is one of the most important Cracking Art animals. What about its origin and its meanings?
On March 31, 2008 Milan won the competition for Expo 2015 becoming actively involved into the country growth and the first Italy ambassador in the world. Milan was ready for a deep revolution following an itinerary of rebirth and improvement.
These were the ideas that inspired a new Cracking artwork, a sort of unofficial testimonial for the mission of Milan. Later, during autumn 2009, there was the creation of twelve giant snails that with the pop power of their fucsia shell invaded the middle of the city: an invitation to regenerate the urban dimension through the awareness of new energies.
The concept of Regeneration has inspired the choice of the snail because the burr of this animal is able to make alive again what gets in touch with it. The snail is also a very modern symbol because its shell is associated not only to the domestic dimension but also to the communication field: in Italy its name is used for the e-mail symbol. Moreover, the spiral by a side reminds the organ of hearing and stands for the idea of reciprocal heed, on the other side it represents the movement that regulates the universe. The snail is also an animal linked to the land and with his house is a model of simplicity for a higher quality of life. A guide for evolution and improvement, both ethical and economic, in absolute continuity with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
From the center of Milan the snails have made a long journey: they were in Treviso and Rimini in 2010, in Istanbul and in Miami in 2011, in Australia – in Sydney and Melboune – in 2013; They arrived also to Central Park and then they invaded with peaceful irony the city of Riga, European Capital of Culture in 2014. Finally they came back to Milan in time for the inauguration of the New Darsena during Expo 2015.
However, the trip did not end here and the snails still continue to bring their message to the world: break up the gray of the urban dimension with empathy and participation in an effort to make the city more and more similar to colorful meadows.
Cracking Art: Art regenerates Art
The arts are encroaching one upon another, and from a proper use of this encroachment will rise the art that is truly monumental –Wassily Kandinsky
Let’s start from a question: why when we speak about Cracking Art we speak about Regenerative Art?
The idea of Regeneration has been inspiring the artistic history of the movement for more than twenty years: the plastic of the urban sculptures is regenerated, it’s matter that has properties of a virtually eternal power, that can be crushed and reshaped into other sculptures.
This regenerative process, metaphor of the life cycle, was originally related to a strong environment sensibility. Gradually, through the project “Art regenerates Art”, Cracking Art movement passed to the programmatic intention of putting art to service the protection of landscape, a broader aesthetic and ethics category, understanding of human creativity, as well as that of nature.
How? “Art regenerates Art” is Contemporary Art that supports the Art of the Past: practice and performance actions are merged into a systematic intervention program on artistic and monumental heritage, founded on the idea that contemporary art can save the past, promoting concrete actions for the restoration of monuments.
Snail was the first Cracking animal that supported the project: in October 2012 fifty blue sculptures of recycled plastic came up between the spires of Milan Cathedral in aid of the Statue of Madonnina. Then – just some examples – there were frogs at Portico di San Luca in Bologna; swallows at Castello Sforzesco and Siena; art installations at Palmanova, Giardini di Valsanzibio and Palazzo Niemeyer, headquarters of the Mondadori Group.
These colored animals have access to the most sacred and inviolable sites of monumental art, thanks above all to their peaceful irony that is the real strength of the whole project.
The social value of Cracking Art
It would, of course, be wrong to say that the arts have no social value. They have tremendous power and can often, indirectly, make our world a better place to live in.- Munira Mirza
Today who manages communication knows that speaking about social engagement means speaking about a real relationship. But does it make sense speaking about social engagement for art? Now even in the artistic sphere there is a tendency to create works that are first of all interactive, works that generates a strong emotional involvement and at the same time that are able to establish an intense connection with the public.
Since 1993 Cracking Art movement has been creating in Italy and abroad art installations that generate a double interaction: one with the social fabric and the other with the environment. This is a concept of art that exceeds the space of museums and that brings out the creativity which reaches people and the urban structure in a more direct way.
Cracking Art installations are known in the world as simple and immediate creations, able also to bring out a high value of audience and empathy. Cracking invasions build up a playful dimension, they look like contemporary fairy tales and for these reasons nobody resists the temptation to touch and embrace the animals for then taking a pic to share on social networks. With their bright colors and giant sizes, meerkats, wolves, snails and others produce art performances that denounce the perceptual apathy of the modern age by involving people as the real actors.
This new interaction stimulates the ability to see everyday places differently: Cracking Art animals are able to penetrate with peaceful irony in any environment and thanks to this the invaded space is no longer perceived as a static location but it gets alive with the people and the stories that cross it. In the end, indeed, art belongs to the public, so it is always open to new meanings, to new looks and to new gestures: ready for a snailfie all together?