FIFTY24SF GALLERY in association with Upper Playground is pleased to present 'Ferro e Oro' Ozmo's first solo-exhibition in the United States opening on Friday July 1st at 7pm.
Born in Pisa in 1975, Gionata Gesi, working under the alias Ozmo, began his foray into the art world by making comics, stickers and posters.
By the 90s, he moved on to making an indelible mark on the Italian graffiti scene, with one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous tags in Italy. After completing his education in Florence, Ozmo moved to Milan where he continued to work in prominent galleries, fine art institutions and within the public sphere.
Ozmo’s work focuses on the interplay and relationship between branded images, pop icons, clever wit, and the canonical works of Western Art, creating a jarring tableaux that informs us of our place and history in a heavily advertised , chaotic visual landscape. Using 21st century surrealist methods, Gionata selects images from Google Image Search and random photographs, developing a postmodern interpretation of visual sampling and re-investing the image with new meaning.
Notable recent solo shows include “Il PreGiudizio Universale” in 2012 at the Museo del 900 in Milan and Urban Arena at Museum of Contemporary Art MACRO in Rome which included the large scale mural "You Are Worth More Than Many Sparrows". In addition to the previously mentioned museums, his work is also in the permanent collections of Galleria Civica Monfalcone in Gorizia, the Fondazione Bandera per l'Arte Contemporanea in Varese.
He has also exhibited in the world's capitals of urban culture and contemporary art including New York, Miami, Chicago, Baltimore, London, Berlin, Sao Paolo, Havana, Poland, Vienna, Belgium,Beirut, Paris and of course throughout Italy. Recent notable murals include "Big Fish Eat Small Fish" at Cargo on Rivington St. in 2011 London and "Lady Liberty And David Sharing The Same Pedestal" in 2014 Wynwood, Miami.
Ozmo contemplates reality, assimilates it, and processes it, finally releasing it in new forms purified of the limitations of their identities.
Staring at you Ozmo, blended at his canvas, captures your gaze, pulls out tarot cards, and tells you "Ask yourself a question, now look at what you see, interpret it, don't judge it, and free your conscience. Bless Pinocchio, who tells lies, put a finger in the nose of a skull, open a gap in the stomach and awaken your slumbering king to the power of the mind. Cling to the hand of the poet and contemplate the Holy Mother, allowing her to be what she is not or has never been before."
Iconographies depersonalized, fragmented, and resurrected in a puzzle without form — "Ferro e Oro, Iron and Gold, that's what I am."
Ozmo’s intentions are to convey the renaissance's aspiration for the collection of wonders and to bring about a playful surrealist attitude towards the incident in order to re-create the wonder, magnify the power of contemporary art and the strive to pioneer new areas of urban communication.
Throughout his career he has been attracted to iconography, whereas an icon acquires its power through its use as an object of worship. Like a collector-scholar of the XVI century , he collects every object that seduces him ,making it, through a kind of unlawful appropriation, the starting point of his creative and combinatoric process.
Internet, the more complete contemporary universal library is his main source, for items and input required for this research .
"Ferro e Oro" is scheduled to run through the end of August and gallery access will be available during normal business hours Wed-Sun 12-6pm.
Tenderloin SF mural project on The Mitchell Brother's O'Farrell Theater-
Ozmo begun work this week on a large-scale mural on the back wall of the famed Mitchell Brother's O'Farrell Theater! Special thanks to Jane Bregman of Street Art SF for helping us find the wall, John Vochatzer for organizing and all the individuals that supported the fundraising efforts, we'd also like to thank the non-profit It's Your District for being a major funder of the project. The theater which has been in operation since 1969 and continues to be one of the US's oldest and most notorious adult-entertainment establishments today. Hunter S. Thompson eloquently described it as "the Carnegie Hall of public sex in America" after a 1985 stint as self-proclaimed night manager for the club in order to conduct research for a book on pornography.