Despite the Covid emergency, art does not stop: thanks to GemellArte, the international festival of contemporary art that brings the Italian artist Ozmo and his work to Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine. The mural was officially inaugurated on 2 December 2020.
A project of urban regeneration but also a message of hope and rebirth, through urban art: to promote it is GemellArte, the international festival of contemporary art, created to revitalize the twinning between Italian and foreign cities and enhance their local heritage.
In the sign of the ancient link between Italy and France and of a “Renaissance” (this is the title of the 2020 edition of the Festival) which in this historical moment, strongly characterized by the health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic, assumes an even more important and profound meaning.
The Festival, organized by Gn Media under the high patronage of the French Embassy in Italy and the Institut Français Italia, builds a new bridge between the Italian city of Terni, in Umbria, and Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine (Paris), twinned since 1962, through the two parallel artistic residences whose winners were identified through an international call that was successful last October.
After the residence of the French artist Caroline Derveaux, who painted two murals in Terni giving new life and color to two forgotten walls and a victim of decay, the Italian artist Ozmo, one of the pioneers and major exponents international urban art, protagonist of exhibitions and monumental interventions in the most important capitals of contemporary and urban art, has just unveiled his latest piece created in Saint-Ouen, in the Soubise district, the scene of dramatic news episodes and which now returns to live and shine thanks to the permanent work of Ozmo, inspired by ‘Il Cortegiano‘, the portrait that Raffaello Sanzio made of Baldassare Castiglione, a leading intellectual of the Italian Renaissance, at the court of Elisabetta Gonzaga in Urbino.
“I am happy and honored to have been able to work in a context so full of motivations and social, ethnic and urbanistic stratifications as Saint-Ouen – comments Ozmo presenting his creation – I hope the work is a stimulus for the difficult neighborhood in which it is located, and that ,after the episode of clash between youth gangs that brought it to the fore some time ago, there is a true Renaissance in this area “.
The artist’s enthusiasm is echoed by that of Tiziana Zumbo Vital, art historian, curator of the GemellArte Festival in Saint-Ouen-Sur-Seine: “I am very happy with how Ozmo’s residency took place: the interaction with the neighborhood was very interesting, his work seduced young and old alike who followed the evolution of the work with great attention. The final result exceeded all expectations because this painting, in addition to being of great artistic quality, is it has already become local heritage. I couldn’t expect more “.
The power of art, after all, is also this: according to Chiara Ronchini, artistic director of the Festival: “See the work that Ozmo has created in a few days, succeeding in a titanic undertaking, in the middle of a pandemic, amidst problems, complications and restrictions, gives us confidence and hope to continue, despite everything, in the direction of beauty. A Renaissance that will never stop regenerating a world where art is called in the front row to fight to safeguard our souls. the beauty and power of Ozmo’s work represent a symbolic tale between history and the contemporary, which gives the city a magical place where you can dream, imagine, and go beyond”.
Finally, satisfaction also on the part of the organizers for an edition of the Festival of undoubted success: “What we celebrate today in Saint-Ouen is a sort of ‘terrestrial miracle’. Not only from an artistic point of view, which is due to a definitely divine artist like Ozmo, but also from a social, cultural and political point of view “, explains Alessio Crisantemi, president of Gn Media, organizer of the Festival.” Thanks to this second edition of GemellArte, focused on Street art and the theme of the Rebirth, we witnessed the regeneration of an urban area – in Saint-Ouen, as has happened also in Terni – giving back a space to the community. But returning it in a renewed guise that makes it accessible again to citizenship. For a real “Renaissance”, from an urban point of view, but also from a moral one. Which is what art always succeeds in, and even more so Street art.
These days of residency were in fact characterized not only by the hard work of the artist Ozmo – to whom we extend our deepest thanks for getting involved and participating in our initiative – but also by the extraordinary participation of the city of Saint-Ouen, both through its Administration and through the entire citizenship. Who appreciated, supported and encouraged this operation.
For a true Rebirth with which the friendship pact between the cities of Terni and Saint-Ouen is renewed, which I am sure will continue to shine over time, even through art “.
The inauguration was attended by: Karim Bouamrane (mayor of Saint Ouen), Sophie Dernois (councillor for Culture), Florian Duteuil (councillor for International Relations), Adel Ziane (councillor for Urban Planning), Nicole Le Fort (president of the Comité de Jumelage of Saint-Ouen), Tiziana Zumbo Vital (art historian and curator of this French edition of the festival), in addition to the artist Ozmo.
THE BIO OF OZMO
Gionata Gesi, aka “Ozmo”, was born in Pontedera, Pisa, and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. He has already been present since the 90s in the underground of Italian writing / graffiti, in 2001 he moved to Milan, collaborating with the major art galleries in the city, signing himself with his first name. At the same time he intervenes in the public space with his tag: ‘Ozmo’, laying the foundations for what would later become Italian Street art, of which he was one of the pioneers and exponents at an international level.
His interventions are characterized by an imagery full of symbols and images ranging from the history of art, pop culture, advertising language and encyclopedic illustration.
Since 2003, Ozmo’s works have been present in the circuit of Italian art fairs and private gallery owners and in important public museum collections.
Among the Italian exhibitions: Palazzo della Ragione (2005), Pac (2007), Palazzo Reale (2007), up to his personal “Pre Judgment”,in the Museo del 900 in Milan, and the realization of a permanent work on the terrace of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, in 2012.
Ozmo has created exhibitions and interventions of monumental public art in the most important capitals of contemporary and urban art: New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, London, Shanghai, Paris, Baltimore, Berlin, San Paolo, Havana, Beirut, Milan, Rome. Lives and works between Milan and Paris.
THE RESIDENCE PROJECT
The work created by the Italian artist for the city of Saint-Ouen is a mural inspired by ‘Il Cortegiano’: Raffaello Sanzio’s portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, a leading intellectual of the Italian Renaissance, at the court of Elisabetta Gonzaga in Urbino. A masterpiece of such success that Francis I king of France himself was impressed, he had it reproduced and distributed to each of his courtiers: hence the common thread between Italy and France. Ozmo has therefore devised a reinterpretation of ‘Il Cortegiano’ with the addition of layers that interact with each other, opening new semantic and conceptual meanings to the original work.