108 (Guido Bisagni) born in Alessandria in 1978.
He started to paint approaching traditional graffiti, but he soon matured a personal and original artistic style.
Now he represents abstract and poetic forms, creating the traces of a deep reflection, painting large minimal figures that invade both abandoned spaces and art galleries.
He is represented by Galleria Antonio Colombo in Milan, Galerie Slika in Lyon and Galerie Celal in Paris.
108, "Abolir toute pensée rationnelle"
1. How old are you and where do you come from? Do your origins influence your artistic vision?
I will be 40 years old in a week and I was born in Alessandria, Piemonte.
The places where I born and I lived have influenced what I do for sure and not only, also my ancestors and their origins that are lost going back to the generations of my grandparents around northern Italy, from west to east. Surely the stories I heard as a child ended up largely in my unconscious and gradually reemerged in my work.
I currently live between Alessandria and Milan (where I studied and lived for some years in the past) and I travel a lot of the time, this also influences me a lot.
2. What does it mean for you to be an artist?
It is difficult to explain it, it took me years to be able to define myself as an artist. I am always afraid of trivializing. First of all, it is a research that goes deep and with which I try to find, at least, a meaning to my life. I have always loved all forms of art, visual and not only, but it is not for what I find myself to be an artist. I think it's the fact that I've never been at ease or satisfied. I mean I'm not happy with living this life in a mediocre way, there must be a purpose, I'm not in the situation to really understand it so I try to be guided by instinct or inspiration, but it's very difficult. This is it, in a few words.
108's Graffiti in Santa Croce di Mogliano, Italy
3. What are the artistic and cultural references that influence you?
There are too many, many have entered so deeply that I have forgotten them.
A very short list: the internal decorations of the tumulus of Gavrinis and megalithism in general, the symbols of the cyclicity of time, the cup marked stones, the pre-classical art in ancient Europe, ancient Egypt, Greek mythology, Nordic, Etruscan, Celtic (...), ancient Chinese art, Pythagoras, almost all Japanese art, Romanic (and Gothic) art, Hieronymus Bosch, lebens reform, the avant-garde, Russolo and the art of noise, Malevich, Kandinsky, Jean Arp, CG Jung, Sironi, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Burri, Japanese cartoons, industrial, punk and above all post-punk, HC, skateboarding in the 90s, graffiti, Lynch, European folklore and witchcraft, popular religiosity, Japanese noise, "Nordic minimalism", Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, the railways, cities like Venice or Prague and I could go on for pages and pages.
5. What do you think about the contemporary art system?
Although I am primarily a painter, I love the fact that we overcome the classical techniques of expression and this fact opened up endless possibilities. These possibilities are not always used in an interesting way, but many times they are just an escape to hide the lack of technical ability. But to be honest I do not think much about it, I don’t think that true contemporary art is currently in galleries and museums in this period.
6. Do you think that social media and online platforms are a useful way to spread your works?
I think so, as far as I'm concerned, it is my favorite medium. If one knows how to use them, they are very useful both to find interesting artists and to make yourself known. In fact, I would say that they are essential, especially if one does not live in New York for example. I do not live there and I do not even think I want to live there, I do not even think that the best and most innovative things are there. But it is there that we see and come across them. For example, even if I travel often and I think I can consider myself quite international, I still have my base in a small center and I can also afford this thanks to the internet and social media. My entire artistic career has developed in parallel with the Internet since the end of the 90s. Of course, there are the side effects and negative aspects too.
7. Future projects?
I just opened an exhibition in Paris that cost me a lot of energy, so right now I would slow down a little, but I know I will not. At the end of April, there is a collective exhibition in Rome (from Varsi) where I will present a series of new silk-screen prints I made with Arturo 56 Fili. At the beginning of May, there will be another small collective in Valencia from Plastic Murs where I will present 3 new papers. Then some live sound performances, the usual summer trips around the world between walls and various projects and maybe one thing in Japan, but I still do not know. For 2019 I'm talking to Michela D'Acquisto for the next exhibition by Antonio Colombo Arte in Milan, but we'll look at the details later.