Just few days ago in Bologna took place the fifth edition of Cheap Street Poster Art Festival. Born in 2013 thanks to the determination of an all-female-team, Cheap Street Poster Art Festival is an independent project that promotes the Street art as tool of urban regeneration and investigation of the territory. This annual festival, one of a kind in Italy, chose paper and glue as privileged tools, creating over 22 walls and different thousand of poster until today.
“What attracts me it’s the idea to make art approachable also to those people who are normally not interested in it. The main force of street art is right to be an art for everyone. I realized that when you offer beauty -which I know it’s a very subjective concept- you also offer contents or, at least. food for thought to people”, says Elisa Visentini, one of the six organizers of the Festival, explaining the desire that has pushed her and the others “colleagues” to take to the streets.
“During the years, the backbone of the Festival hasn’t changed, which is the coexistence of two parallel planes: on one side, a selection of appreciated Italian and international guest artists with an interesting journey, called to realize great site-specific works modulated on the urban and suburban landscape of the city. On the other side, we promote an international Open Call. What interests us is to involve actively as many people as possible, trying to go beyond the street art, toward other branches like graphics, photography, illustration and visual arts”, Elisa told us.
The Open Call finds its space on 250 ex billboards in the city center, offered by Bologna City Council thanks to a convention for the management. During the rest of the year, through the project Cheap on Board, these same billboards host every month an installation of poster art. The Open Call is curated by the same organizers of the Festival, who plans them independently or as a work on commission for other local cultural operators.
This year, the Guerrilla Girls -a New Yorker anonymous collective of radical feminist- opened the Festival on May 1st. This was the first time for the Guerrilla Girls in Italian’s urban space. 25 different posters are the result of the event- including the famous slogan
“Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?”
This sentence ideally recalls the history of the semiotic guerrilla pursued during these first 32 years of activity, with the purpose to fight the sexist dynamic of the art world.
The posters, installed in the ex billboards of the circuit Cheap on Board in via Indipendenza, has been “glued” thanks to a collective street action, that has involved dozens of people of all ages wearing the iconic gorilla masks, with the aim, once again, of calling into question roles and gender, art system and public space.
The collective keeps on protesting against the male-domination in the art system with giant poster both in the urban space of the cities all over the world, working on walls, putting up the toilets of museums, invading billboard; and both with performances and exhibitions hosted in galleries and museums like the MoMA, the Tate Modern and the Biennale in Venice, showing
“That the feminist can be funny.”
The main artists invited this year were: Stikki Peaches, well-known Canadian street artist, whose European tour begun right from CHEAP; Guerrilla Spam, Italian outsiders and professional protesters; STMTS, famous street artist of the new Greek generation; Alberonero, multifaceted Italian artist with a unique minimalist style.
As for the Call for Artist, the selected theme of this year has been “Disorder, please”, to break the aesthetical order based on the dichotomy beautiful/ugly, decent/vandal, legal/illegal. More specifically, the participants were required to produce a black and white work, 70×100 cm size, made through illustration, graphics or photography.
690 authors from 42 countries participated in the 2017 edition; the posters of the 266 selected authors were posted during the Festival on a circuit of boards in the city center. The participation is absolutely free, and all out-of-pocket expenses to print the posters are paid by the Festival.
Visit the webpage of Cheap Festival to know more about the next edition.