press release

TOBIAS KASPAR, THE STREET (EST1863)

Created by Tobias Kaspar for Istituto Svizzero di Roma, THE STREET is a work of fiction, a theme park, a strip mall, a staging, a hyper-artificial construction which will materialize in successive phases and different places and where works of the artist find a new setting.

Starting from the remains of a block on Lower Broadway reconstructed in the film studios of Cinecittà—the so-called Broadway set—by the Academy Award winner Dante Ferretti for Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese (2002), Tobias Kaspar began his own personal immersion between reality and artifice, pop imaginary and the theatricalization of the global art world, between social struggles and the culture of consumption, mimetism, syncretism and appropriationism, wit and ironic self-critique, acting on the razor's edge between staging of the world of mass production and the extreme fiction of international contemporary art.

THE STREET is a restaurant, bookstore, jeans shop. It is, action, dialogue, actors, extras, an art exhibition: Tobias Kaspar positions things and situations that take precise details into account, where gestures and exchanges are staged and presented with the utmost dramaturgical care. Objects and images always lead to an elsewhere, where reality and fiction become inseparable. The set, like the city of Rome, is a place where history and representation are unavoidably confused.

For THE STREET (Est1863)—the first embodiment of the project—props, performances and sculptural elements will transport the audience to NY1995 and into the setting of a western film. On the opening night, the new jeans Est1863 designed by Tobias Kaspar with fashion designer Fabio Quaranta will be presented, along with the first issue of THE STREET TIMES, and The Odeon restaurant will serve special cocktails.

Tobias Kaspar (born 1984, Basel) currently lives in Rome. His works have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows at Kunsthalle Basel, Artists Space New York, Kunsthalle Vienna, Kunsthalle Zurich, Museum Hamburger Bahnhof, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis and the CAFAM Art Museum, Bejiing, among others.

FRED LONIDIER, STRIKE

From his background in Sociology and by his employment of conceptual photography and photo/text montage, Fred Lonidier investigates and makes visible union fights and public service labor struggles in the area where he has been living all his life, San Diego, as well as Los Angeles and Tijuana. He is an artist in the labor movement whose practice is guided by union work, who has developed a specific visual language that is defined through its close connection to social and political movements. Lonidier was part of the racial, sexual, and gender emancipation movements and joined student protests against the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

In Rome, Strike is developed by Istituto Svizzero di Roma, in collaboration with CLAP–the Council of Freelance and Precarious Workers. This exhibition enters spaces for art, union facilities, and academic contexts and alongside the two venues in Rome, it takes place simultaneously at Centre de la photographie Genève, UNOG–United Nations Office at Geneva and Toni-Areal Campus, Zurich University of the Arts.

Fred Lonidier (born in 1942 in Lakeview, Oregon) has taught Photography at the University of California, San Diego. His works have been exhibited in art institutions and community spaces including the Oakland Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Los Angeles Institute for Contemporary Art; the San Diego/Imperial Counties Labor Council; the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers, Los Angeles; the Ironworkers Union, Local 627, Norwal; and Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego, among many others.

Both projects are part of Openings Out to Reality, an ongoing research initiated in 2012 by Istituto Svizzero di Roma on the relationship between art, institutions and society.