The pioneer – Francesco Garbelli

by Alessandro Trabucco


If an artistic current become fashion there is something wrong, above all if that tendency does not  generate linguistic developments but it devalues conceptual components most innovating. It may happens that single artists have anticipating unconsciously some tendencies, and that authenticity and creative indipendency represent the surplus value in every aesthetic experiments, even when it does not recognize by the critics as it deserves. It happens then, paradoxically, that some epygones may be considered of undeserved rewards and benefits, because of assisted in taste changes (usually in failing) about the interpreted flattening and the lack of knolwedge. Times changes, technologies changes, procedures and velocity in communication change; all that involves a most important spreading of ideas and, consequently, of an higher percentage of imitations and falsifications.

When in the 80’s the return to painting, began sometime earlier, has been legitimated in a finally and continuing way (which effects they are visible even today) some young creative personalities

develop some conceptual and linguistic instances that preceed and they adapt the contingent requirements, as to they come to surprisingly results renovating ones languages without misrepresenting the origins.

Francesco Garbelli was there, even very young, in the center of artistic atmosphere regenerated by the innovative proposals from everywhere in the world, he maintains an absolutly authonomy.

If today we speak about Urban Art and Street Art as they are artistic currents in this  latest years,

we loose in precision and respect towards some aesthetic ideas just germinate in that decade particularly inspired from the visual point of view.

If  on one hand the American graffitism was imported in our country among the others by a historical gallerist as Salvatore Ala and by a resourceful critic as Francesca Alinovi. on the other hand the most conceptual aspect of this tendency was developped in congruence with the precedent experiences, adding a new nourishment derived from the freshness of the ideas and from the occured epochal transformation in the earlier decade. We are talking about the 80’s, about the “lead years” way out and about the terroristic attacks, and the beginning of a new apparently and cheerfull period.

Garbelli is one of that artists averse from traditions and rules, to which it has never be sufficient to  remain close in a room to reflect about the destiny of art and about its potential espression, most important to him it was necessary take a serious charge about the requirements expressed by protest trend, trasforming them into work of art.

Tha fact to use urban ambient as a personal creative contest, already around 1985, make him between the principal pioneer of so-called Street Art , without surrender to decorativism and to irrelevance of some contemporary productions.

The intention of Garbelli has always been to communicate with the maximun of people, surprising the occasional visitor by actions based on great intellectual purposes, above all about social and ecologist sorts, without neglecting  the flooring and joking aspect. Not for nothing the artist participate in a group titled Ironic Conceptualism, in which it was important the productions of works of art characterized by a strong projectual creation without any linguistic inflexibility of the severe  and pure Conceptualism during the 60’s and the 70’s.

Francesco Garbelli is in that case a pioneer of the contemporary Street Art ( without his declared not participation to Street Art ) because of in last thirty decade he was walking on the urban streets using the same elements that assembled road signs for a correct traffic, adding objects, words, sentences able to make question, to invite persons to think about it was suddendly on sight ( and almost without authoritation) on the road.

It is meaningless to underline the immaturity of some out-and-out plagiarism made by selfstyled cutting-edge street artists during latest years, which they  may not be conscious of the insignificance with whom they have transformed by their works those smart ideas even today still innovatives, put to use longtime before the launch of a tendency already in irretrievable delay, above all at the moment in which crossbreeding and dematerialisation of a work of art are develloping more and more as the new frontier of the contemporary aesthetic language.


Photo credits:

Francesco GarbellI

1 |  The street by images, 1985, Milan.
2 |  The street by images, 1985, Milan.
3 |  Coming back words, 1985, Milan.
4 |  Danger: Full moon, 1988, in the contest of the exhibition “Cercare la Mostra”, curated by E. Baj, Gall. Murnik, Milan.
5 |  Operation Zebra, 1989, installation in Brera street, Milan.
6 |  Operation Zebra, 1989, Arco della Pace, Milan.
7 |  8 am, 12 pm, 1989, Milan.
8 |  Peace, 1990, in the contest of the exhibition “For real now”, Hoorn, NL.
9 |  What it is , What we believe it would be, 1991, collage on photography.
10 |  Jugoslavia, or untitled, 1992, Installation done in Viale Sarca, Milan.
11 |  Reserved to Ferrari, 1993, adhesiv film on traffic sign, cm60x90.
12 |  Orgy in rhythm, 2010, installation done during the 15th edition of Festival Jazz Percfest,  Gall. Sangiorgi, Laigueglia, (SV).
13 |  The taste and flavours street, 2010, in collaboration with Gualtiero Marchesi and Gall. Sangiorgi, installation done during the 15th edition of Festival Jazz Percfest, Laigueglia, (SV).
14 |  Migrations, 2011, fine art print on cotton paper Museum Etching 300 gr.

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