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Elias Cafmeyer

Curated by spazioSERRA
Critical text by Arianna Maestrale

On display from 03/11/2022 to 08/12/2022
Opening Thursday 03/11/2022 at 19:00
Lancetti railway station, Milan

Elias Cafmeyer (Bruges, Belgium, 1990) had the opportunity to exhibit in important Belgian museums such as S.M.A.K. (Ghent) and Extra City (Antwerp). He has made temporary installations for the public space in collaboration with the cities of Antwerp and Ghent. He has been invited to take part in several solo exhibitions as an independent artist by art galleries such as Keteleer and mariondecannière (Antwerp) and had the opportunity to exhibit his works in Holland, Germany and France. The solo exhibition at spazioSERRA is his first exhibition in Italy.

Arianna Maestrale (Genoa, Italy, 1996) studies and works in Genoa where she graduated in Painting from the l’Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti. In 2019, she founded MIXTA, a curatorial collective that deals with actualizing the artistic practices within the urban and social fabrics of the city of Genoa. It is a non-profit cultural association and fluid reality that reconciles ethnographic approach and artistic research; it creates situations of social interaction in urban and private spaces. Arianna curates since 2019 the Divago project, a biennial self-produced festival of urban art. She founded in 2020 the online magazine wall:out.

Connecting Stations of Past and Present

Connecting Stations of Past and Present is the site-specific exhibition of the Belgian artist Elias Cafmeyer proposed for un postoIMPOSSIBILE, spazioSERRA’s exhibition season during which the selected artists abstract their artistic experience from a physical space to an "elsewhere" that cannot be placed, through a continuous dialogue between inside/interior and outside/exterior. The exhibition is on display from Thursday the 3rd of November to Thursday the 8th of December 2022 at the Lancetti railway station in Milan.

Urbanism and urban transport are at the heart of Cafmeyer's research, which builds a parallel between city traffic and the way people organize themselves in a society. Directions, rules, signs tell us what to do and orchestrate mobility. Cafmeyer, working mainly with sculpture, is used to creating site-specific installations in public spaces; in his sculptures he uses industrial materials, such as metal, wood and concrete.

The installation Connecting Stations of Past and Present consists of supporting pillars, a machine that sells tickets, signposts, a PVC floor: the Belgian Schaerbeek station (in Dutch Schaarbeek) is located inside the former newsstand. The station has a lot in common with Lancetti: it is outside the center, but not far from it, it is frequented by a multi-ethnic community, it is a lost place in urban planning and, like the Italian station, it represents "home" for the artist. Cafmeyer, in fact, was involved in a long relationship divided between Brussels’ Schaerbeek station and Milan’s Lancetti station, hence the choice of the title.

Arianna Maestrale writes in the critical text accompanying the exhibition: "The artist's idea is to present to passersby a "glitch in reality", which is actually perceived as an error in space-time": in Connecting Stations of Past and Present inversion, juxtaposition and contrast between the two stations and the two cities create a sense of alienation. SERRA becomes a portal linking Milan to Brussels. The signages of the two stations, distant but intersecting each other, have different and distinctive colors and designs, but both belong to an immediately recognizable imaginary.

Cafmeyer stages a paradox: inside SERRA we are in Brussels; on the station’s wall, a poster with a fake advertisement from the Belgian tourism ministry that reminds us that we are in Italy. Maestrale further writes: "The fake and the absurd are often tools to hypertrophy some problems of the system, and in our case the advertising poster "Visit Belgium!" indicates how the functionalism that normalizes our movements is mainly aimed at the tourism economy (and not, for example, at the generative development of communities)". This absurd element, which is added to the contrast between the rigor of urban mobility indications and the rupture in space-time implemented by the simultaneous presence of the two stations, shows us that nothing is as it seems and the station is not real nor accessible: the postoIMPOSSIBILE of Elias Cafmeyer.

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