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Saturday, June 18, 2016

'Popstairs' by Diavù: Street Art at the Trionfale Market

We weren't there for the cherries.

Diavù, center right, introducing his project in front of the Trionfale market.

On Wedesday just before noon, RST scootered over to Prati's sumptuous Trionfale market, though not to buy cherries--though they're in season--or anything else. We were there for the unveiling, as it were, of the latest work by street artist David Vecchiato (known in the art world as Diavù) in the Rome series "Popstairs" (that's not a translation).


We arrived as an affable Diavù was speaking. Wearing a Che Guevara shirt, he explained that the paintings on the stairs leading up from the market were the latest in the Popstairs series, each of them featuring a female movie star, and he expressed gratitude at the reception that his work had received from those in the neighborhood.

The Trionfale paintings feature an iconic figure of Italian cinema--Anna Magnani.  The Magnani on the left staircase (below) is a young Magnani from the film Campo de' Fiori (dir. Mario Bonnard).

On the right staircase, an older Magnani, after Mamma Roma and Roma città aperta, her lined face a symbol, according to La Repubblica, not only of Italian film, but of romanità.

Right staircase.  Our best photo, and not that good., partly because too many people are trying to get in a photo with Diavù.  You'll have to go in person!

Right staircase, another angle.  

Feeding frenzy about to begin.
When the speakers finished, Diavù hung around to answer questions and accept congratulations. Photographers--and there were many--struggled to photograph the harshly backlit stair art.  Most of those in attendance headed for the buffet--pizza, finger sandwiches, and wine--all gratis thanks to the restaurant at the top of the stairs, PummaRe. RST could not resist, even at noon.

Vecchiato explained to us that the Italian actress series takes him at least 5 days per painting.  We talked about the StreetArtRoma app, which we regularly recommend, and he said that app makes him "proud" (that was in Italian too).  Vecchiato is clearly considered one of the most important street artists working in Rome today.
Dianne makes a fine point with Diavù.

This was not our first experience with Vecchiato's work.  As we mentioned to him, we had seen an earlier mural in the borgata of Finocchio, where a mafia estate had been expropriated and turned into a park.  Diavù was pleased that we had seen that one--not so easy to get to--and he noted that despite its political content, it had been carried out in something resembling a cartoon style.  We
wrote about the Finocchio mural earlier this year.

Our second encounter was in the Popstairs series, though we didn't know it at the time. It's on the stairs at via Ugo Bassi, just off viale Trastevere.  It depicts the actress Elena Sofia Ricci, the heroine of Luigi Magni's film, In nome del popolo sovrano (In the Name of the Sovereign People), set in 1849, and set partly in Trastevere.

We found another of  Diavù's paintings later that day, walking from Flaminio, past Ponte Milvio, to the intersection of Corsa Francia and via Ronciglione, where a portrait of French actress Michele Mercier graces portions of a very long and steep stairway (157 steps).  The image is from the comedy Il Giovedì, whose last scene takes place on this stairway.

The stairs off the north end of via Ronciglione

The art work is part of a cleaning up of these neighborhoods and locations, much of it done by volunteers.  Retake Roma (also not a translation - that's Italian) was part of the Trionfale initiative.
Volunteerism in Rome is a story for another day and post.

Vecchiato plans two more works in the series before the end of 2016: in EUR, of Monica Vitti, the young star of Antonioni's L'eclisse, which was set partly in EUR; and Gabriella Ferri, at her home in Testaccio.

We hope to see both, next year. And another, completed, that we haven't seen, of Ingrid Bergman, in via Fiamignano.

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