© 2017, Peter Baracchi
THIS NEVER HAPPENED, 2014-2015
With his latest series “THIS NEVER HAPPENED”, Zurich based artist Peter Baracchi is leaving his traditional territory of digital media and becomes a city walker instead. With a very precise look he roams the streets of Switzerland - always looking for hotspots of acts of vandalism. The focus of his photographic trained eye, however, are not tags or graffiti of street artists, but what remains of them after being “erased” from public space by specially trained task forces. They are supposed to be made undone or invisible, usually by buffing them with plain grey of beige colors.
Because the color of the “buff” often does not match the color of the brickwork or the concrete below, the graffiti are not visible anymore, but they still mark presence. Not with their original appearance, but disguised as a more or less regular geometric shapes, rectangles, squares, or depending on the severity of the painted-over graffiti as rhombuses, trapezoids or mixed forms thereof. In a different context and museum-like environment can be brought into connection with the imagery of constructivist and concrete art. As panel paintings on the walls, the overpainted provocations look absolutely compliant. The subversive gesture has been taken away from them.
Peter Baracchi tries to always remain as “close to the original” as possible. He transfers the geometric shapes, he’s found in public spaces, on transparent paper and paints them to scale directly on the specially made concrete panels that mimic the brickwork in the public space.
However, the proximity to the original in these heavy-weight concrete works of Peter Baracchi is limited on color and form. Content, message, and their intent is being transformed. The illegally mounted signs, tags, symbols and graffiti are being buffed by the government and hereby made neutral and transformed into inconspicuous areas - Peter Baracchi then transfers them again by taking up their accidental aesthetics and enhancing the forms into a artistic context.
Contextual shifts like these are the ones which interest Peter Baracchi the most. This results in a diverse and multi-layered work, illuminate social phenomena, are able to sharpen perception and sometimes lead to surprising discoveries.
Text: Yvonne Türler