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I Graffiti del Leoncavallo

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80 pages
Edited by Vittorio Sgarbi, Alessandro Riva and Davide Atomo Tinelli
16.5 x 24 cm
Language: Italian
Publisher: Skira

I Graffiti del Leoncavallo collects the most significant graffiti from Leoncavallo, Milan's most famous squat. An open-air museum, as it has been called by Culture Councillor Vittorio Sgarbi, who has proposed that the walls be bound to protect the graffiti painted on them so as to prevent them from being torn down and then regretted in fifty years. That the language of writing and street art has, at this turn of the century, radically changed contemporary aesthetics is a fact that can hardly be refuted. It is difficult to turn a blind eye to these colorful walls amid the gray of skyscrapers and concrete on the outskirts of Milan. Impossible not to recall at least one event related to this ten-thousand-square-meter space occupied for more than thirty years. From the extra-parliamentary demonstrations in the 1970s to the 1980s of punks.For thirty years, Leoncavallo has combined art and politics, popular cuisine and prestige wines, music and anti-prohibitionism, in a richness of forms dictated by an ongoing commitment to "making society." This is the true meaning of the "works" that are the result of the passage of heterogeneous presences that have traversed and, in a sense, constructed a significant part of Milan with words and colors. In this way, the most disparate characters have animated the concrete with the breath of true works of art, without the pretension of being called artists, although the suspicion that an Italian Basquiat is hiding among them has crossed more than one mind.

Extemporaneous moments of creativity, destined to last even if only for one night, or monuments to collective memory such as the 1978 mural dedicated to Fausto and Iaio that now greets those who enter the "doors" of Watteau Street. It is these "works" that know how to express a meaning beyond the physicality of the walls, public pages of history that gain a sense of the present day by day.

The images contained in this book are only a part of Leoncavallo's very long pictorial history, a fragment of the social center's 30-year journey but also a valuable example of the creativity and artistic freedom it conveys. A real gymnasium of colors, shapes and geometries but also dreams and experimentations condensed on simple walls.