F.A.C. | FronteAcciaioCromato
— Artist collective —
APS Cultural Association 1838 (MS) in Carrara
►F.A.C. Carrara Showcase
Erika Gao + Stefanie Krome + Dominik Stahlberg
POST-PUNK CULTURE but also pop culture, a constructive and active rebellion against the contemporary art system, a small workshop in the center of ►Carrara where works are created with the most varied expressive techniques (sculpture, painting, screen printing, installations): these are the elements that make the chrome steel front Live (F.A.C.), An artistic group born in 2015 in the city of marbles, founded by the Germans Stefanie Krome and Dominik Stahlberg, to which the Chinese Erika Gao has recently added.
"CHROMED STEEL" is the almost literal translation of Stahlberg and Krome's surnames into Italian. "Front” is because their art is a sort of perpetual struggle: against a system of galleries, merchants, public relations that usually tends to cut off independent artists, and then again against speculation, against the arrogance of certain intellectuals, against the claim that art must always say something, against conformity.
ALL THIS BY EXPLOITING the mechanisms of provocation (right from the name: F.A.C. it refers, by assonance, to a well-known interjection of disappointment in English), but without letting it remain an end in itself. Their works generally reach the public in two stages. The first time is precisely that of provocation: the images that the chromeplated steel front proposes to the Observer are almost always uncomfortable, disturbing, they could also be perceived as
aggressive, but sometimes also as funny.
THE SECOND HALF IS instead that of reflection, also because the works of the F.A.C. are far from immediate. Their meaning is often not limited to the image alone: it is necessary to read them in depth to establish a connection with them. “Most of the public", they declare on their site in a kind of manifesto that explains the basics of their action, “no longer gets attracted with too stupid slogans or coercive stylistic measures”.
AND THAT'S WHY the name of Maurizio Cattelan echoes among their references: art, according to them, must be like a ►hammer. He's got to break up, he's got to argue. If necessary it must also hurt. But it can also make you smile: there are no prescriptions. The important thing is the dialogue with the public:
Stefanie Krome tells us that often even the most reluctant people change their attitude in front of a work of art, and welcome it positively, if a discussion is started. Relational art that feeds on post-punk aesthetics to desecrate, satirize, open horizons. These are the intentions that animate their best known project, the Cruials There are Angela Merkel, Beppe Grillo, Michael Grilloackson, Lemm Kil Kilmister, Dr. Spock of Star Trek, and then there are all the personalities of Carrara, from the director of the Academy of Fine Arts to the bartender of the Old Town, without neglecting the picturesque characters that populate night and day the alleys of the city.
STEFANIE KROME EXPLAINS that these works are not intended to be blasphemous, nor to be judgmental, although the first impact may make them seem so: the basic idea is that everyone has their own cross and carries it with them throughout their lives. The cross thus becomes a symbol of the evils that afflict our society, and thus becomes a means by which well-defined problems are identified and circumscribed.
But there are also other keys to reading, one of which is very topical in the age of social and easy judgments: in our world, explain the artists of the F.A.C., It takes very little to be put on the cross, to become thieves to be thrown to a drinking crowd that cries out against Crucifige (and Crucifige is also the title of the exhibition that in 2018 had presented to the public Cruials And then, let everyone already have their personalized cross!
SEVERAL CRUXIALS are exhibited in the gallery-Laboratory of the F.A.C.: a beautiful environment in via Finelli, in the historic center of Carrara, a stone's throw from the Duomo. On the one hand a Forge where the F.A.C. produces works in resin, plaster, marble and stone making a limited use of machinery and following traditional techniques (they also have a press with which they produce their screen prints). And on the other an exhibition space where their works are made known to the public, when obviously they are not around the world on the occasion of exhibitions and exhibitions.
THE ACTIVITY OF KROME, STAHLBERG AND GAO, moreover, is frenetic: in the circuits of independent art, their names are known. Stahlberg is a member of NO!art, anti-art movement, avantgarde and internationalist, born in NEOR Krome is the coordinator for Italy of Sculpture net. Both grew up in the German post-Punk culture of the Nineties, and studied sculpture. Krome has been in Italy since 2005 (so much so that it is now called “Italian by choice”): he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara and at the University of Leipzig, and has participated in numerous sculpture symposia all over the world, from Italy to Mexico, from Scotland to China, from Greece to Thailand. Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara also for Stahlberg and Gao: sculpture for the first, graphic design for the second.
SCULPTURE IS THE ART FORM that gave rise to the group: both Krome and Stahlberg left Germany (they are both natives of Hildesheim, near Hannover) with the desire to study this art form in Carrara, starting with the myth of the city of marbles.
AND THEN, as Stefanie Krome explains, they fell in love with the city and its atmosphere to the point of deciding to stop under the Apuan Alps. The Cruialsials dedicated to the characters of the city, a sort of “three-dimensional Encyclopedia of Carrara”, as they define it, also manifests the desire to take root solid roots in a community known for being historically very closed to newcomers (for centuries it has been so: it is no coincidence that in Carrara, even with all the marble available, a real local art school was born only in the eighteenth century), and in a city that years ago, after carving out a prominent space in the art world, had a much more pronounced international vocation, and that has been lost over time.
AND ACCLIMATIZING, however, was not easy: the Serigrafi series speaks of uprooting, adaptation, diversity of cultures, where Krome and Stahlberg inserted some equivocal phrases (and often even insults) that they heard pronounced during their early years in Italy and of which they could not understand the meaning. To let the public “get angry or laugh at us” " the F.A.C. artists say. And so here are phrases like “Fuck you laugh, I cum in your mouth, you ugly giant slut”, or “fuck me in doggy style”, “it's always nice to be overrated”, and then a provocative embrace with a dog and a woman (“Breed, breed and even more Breed” to protest against the idea that certain breeds can rise above the others, because in the end life in all its forms and with all its “genetic crossovers”, with all its difficulties and complications, of course, but the loser is always those who have thought of it put limits and stakes).
YOU WILL EASILY NOTICE how in almost all the works of the F.A.C. prevail the different tones of pink: even the reappropriation of this Color, diminished by advertising and relegated to the role of color for boring princesses or prevailing tone of clothing for “pussies and transvestites”, is one of the theoretical foundations of the chrome steel front. Pink, say Krome and Stahlberg, is the first color we see when we are born. It is a way of feeling that has nothing to do with gender divisions (it is perceived as such simply as a reflection of a canon that has been imposed on us since childhood), and if desired it is also a way to undermine male chauvinism.
►PINK BECOMES almost a way of life, the most nonconformist of colors. In the future of the chromed steel front there is what the front has always tried to do: create opportunities for encounter, confrontation and dialogue through art. Their space has become, over time, a very popular place, also because visiting it means retracing the history of their young production, since works from the beginning of the group, exhibition posters, as well as works in progress are exhibited here. Meanwhile, the front continues to work on new works and new projects. Art, said their fellow countryman Bli bar And the front always feels vividly the ardor of this need.