COSTA VECEREVOLUCION - PATRIOTISMO
September 21st to November 6th of 2006.
Of Greek and Italian descent, the artist Costa Vece was born in Herisau, Switzerland in 1969. He currently divides his professional and personal life between Zurich and Berlin. As the son of immigrants, he was not given Swiss citizenship, although he was born in the country and this issue figures prominently in his work, which is eminently political and social. Territories, borders, migration, identity, racism, religion, gender, egalitarian social policy and other issues have spurred the artist to create a body of work in which the poverty of the media used is closely linked to the topic of the work.
Costa Vece creates installations and occupations made from the simplest of materials such as cardboard, wood, used clothing, barbed wire, charred objects, walls and other items which he juxtaposes with images of old movies, self portraits, pictures of his immigrant family, political slogans and anarchist catch phrases. His visual ploys bring about atmospheres and environments that spark reflection on the social role that art stands to play.
Costa Vece is not interested in the media power of art; he believes that art should be used as a means to condemn the heinous practices that mark today's society: war, racism, xenophobia, and the dearth of ethics exhibited by some countries. The titles of his works and exhibitions leave not doubt as to the artist's real intentions: Revolucion-Patriotismo; Behind the wall is a paradise; Dressed to Kill; Bomb #1 - #5; Look back in anger; La fin du monde; Heaven's Gate and Rat Race.If, as some theorists assert, all art is ultimately political, then Costa Vece's art production has taken up position in the struggle against social injustice and the manipulation of information by large-scale corporations, whether that information be related to war, energy or the strategies used in advertising. Art is the stage on which the artist voices his protest.
For show at the Filomena Soares Gallery, Costa Vece will be executing a large-scale installation that will abound in ingredients that mirror the condition of immigrants in Portugal. The work will feature Flags, crafted from used clothing culled from shelters for immigrants and the homeless. Also on display will be materials traditionally used to separate the social classes such as iron bars and gates, fences, barbed wire and other more extreme objects for more extreme measures such as firearms, grenades and tanks.
As is customary, Costa Vece will create is his work on site while spending time in the city of Lisbon. While here he will meet people on the streets and blend in with the thousands of immigrants who come in from their far-flung bedroom neighborhoods to work in construction, in areas of re-gentrification, and in the cafés and restaurants of the city, moving, in Costa Vece's opinion, as a hushed and silent throng, invisible to the rest of society.