BR1 (Locri, Italy - 1984) lives and works in Turin, Italy.

In 2009 he graduated in Islamic Law from the University of Turin Law School, and from 2014 he is a lawyer.


Visual artist interested in contradictions caused by the capitalist model collision with cultures and experiences of people from the Mediterranean area.

The scenario in which his artistic practice takes shape is the public space, in which BR1 acts favouring an ephemeral and spontaneous approach.





Cultures today are evolving quickly, influenced by different social and environmental factors, but they still preserve something immutable, survived to politics, economy and religion. Cultures survived also to the time. This is rooted in me, in the history of my forefathers lived in Calabria, a land in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, a land that was home of all Strangers used to navigate that Sea.

When I move to new places, I want to discover points of encounter between my culture and the one of the Stranger.

In every encounter I look for analogies between my culture and the Stranger’s one. These analogies clarify that we are just individuals that need to live the entire world without any fear. With exceptional strength and beauty, these analogies remind that everyone is a Stranger on this world.



Critique of Ethnocentrism and Questions of Identity in the Works of BR1.

The struggle to cope with the migrant crisis on a governmental level, resulting in rising xenophobia and restoration of centuries-long tensions between the Middle East and the West have inspired the artist to take the matter into his own hands, contemplating on the humanitarian crisis from the cultural point of view. Although the response from the art community has been rather slow, it is encouraging to see that some artists were able to recognize the social anxieties triggered by migration early on. Strongly believing in art’s social mission, Turin-based artist BR1 has dedicated his various projects to the subject of migration in the past years, reflecting on numerous paradoxes that arise from this contested phenomenon.

Fascinated with post-postmodern paradoxes, BR1 has dedicated his work to the exploration of contradictory phenomena that emerged in the late capitalism, with questions of cultural and gender identities being pivotal to his oeuvre. Through billboard takeovers, performances, and numerous public interventions, BR1 has been addressing various social and political issues, with his primary focus being the deconstruction of Eurocentric values and hegemonic discourses. The collision of cultures and the downfall of multicultural ideals in contemporary times have served as a major source of inspiration to the Italian artist who began to reflect on the ambiguities of globalized society, which instead of erasing borders creates new levels of cultural exclusion. Graduating in Islamic law, with the thesis on the veil, BR1 is particularly interested in the questions of female identities in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies. A large part of his work is dedicated to the idea of deconstruction of female Muslim identity and it boldly approaches the acute debate on the veil. Nonetheless, in recent times, BR1 has expanded his social agenda, dealing increasingly with the theme of migration, incapability of governments to handle the issue, along with the indifferent, discriminatory and racist attitudes that came to dominate and influence public opinions.



Raising Awareness of Migration Hardships.

Over the last couple of years, BR1 presented several projects that tackle the issue of illegal migrations, mistreatment of refugees and tragedies that follow their path to Europe. In the series of illegal public billboards titled Visa Denied he reflects on the phenomenon of visa denials to the applicants who reside in the countries with high immigration rates. The discriminatory policy present in several European states doesn’t, however, solve the problem, but contributes to the increase of illegal migrations and it directly opposes the idea of social mobility in rich states, the idea embodied through BR1’s imagery of non-Western men and women holding Visa credit cards in their hands. The refusal to secure safe passageways and accept asylum applications has resulted in the increase of illegal routes where the fate of thousands of people fleeing from the horrors of war is left in the hands of human traffickers, often with tragic results. In a billboard intervention General Indifference, BR1 presents a disquieting image of a young man drowning, referencing the numerous cases of migrant shipwrecks and deaths on sea, commentating on the apathy and heartless demeanor maintained by the governments and the public. BR1 discusses the same theme of hardships and suffering migrants endure on their way to freedom in the installation Finish from 2014. By placing a finish sign on the coast of Sardinia, BR1 imagines the migrants’ journey to mainland as a long marathon full of obstacles, where the finish sign stands for hope and the new beginning for survivors, also remembering those who lost their lives before they reached the coast of Italy in 2014 when Italian government failed in organizing rescue missions.



From Xenophobia to Cultural Dialogue.

BR1 does not only criticize the shameful treatment of immigrants, but also the cultural tensions that emanate from the migration phenomenon like prejudices, xenophobia and lack of compassion from the European citizens. A strong believer in democracy and civil society, BR1 promotes cultural dialogue and speaks about the necessity of intercultural approach and mutual respect between two conflicted sides. On that trail, we can interpret his recent performances The Giant of Melilla and Dialogue, which aim to diminish xenophobia and intolerant behavior. In his street art performance The Giant of Melilla, BR1 created a large handmade figure of a Giant, grotesque character found in many traditions in Mediterranean cultures. By situating his performance in the streets of Melilla, a Spanish city in Morocco’s area, a cultural crossroad infamous for the illegal border crossings, BR1 symbolically juxtaposes fear of the unknown embodied in the figure of a Giant with pleasure coming from his cumbersome dance. As the artist states: My Giant’s dance is nothing more than a moment of fun in the streets of Melilla and it should suggest the story of a man from the nomadic Issawa community, that jumped the border fence and symbolically came to Europe to dance and to demolish xenophobia. That fear that today torments so many Europeans, probably because they are afraid to experience the same misery and humiliation that migrants feel every day. The path toward understanding and cultural dialogue is also a subject of BR1’s video performance fittingly titled Dialogue. In this project, the artist addresses the other aspect of migration – the exclusion of political refugees from the society that has granted their plea for help, yet ignored their existence and made them invisible, silently showing they are not welcome. Amidst four young Africans adorned with life jackets, the artist stands in his polo shirt with his ears plugged, unwilling to hear the noise of the whistles, metaphorically capturing the spirit that pervades among European natives who are refusing to enter the conversations with foreigners living among them.




SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2016 Freedom as Form | collective | Wunderkammern Gallery | Milan Italy

2016 The Stranger arrives with a new dress| solo | Open Walls Gallery | Berlin Germany

2015 Chained | group show | Wunderkammern Gallery | Milano Italy

2014 Made in Italy | group show | GCA Gallery | curated by Christian Omodeo | Nice France

2014 From Street to Art | group show | Italian Culture Institute | curator Simone Pallotta | New York

2014 Positions | group show | Open Walls Gallery | Berlin Germany

2014 Costumi da mare | solo show | Fondazione per l’arte Bartoli-Felter | Cagliari Italy

2013 Integration/disintegration | solo show | Open Walls Gallery | Berlin Germany

2013 Public arena | group show | Barriera Artegiovane | curated by Roberta Pagani | Torino Italy

2013 Women between | solo show | FARM cultural park | Favara Italy

2013 From the city to the world | group show | Newart center | curator Diane Pontius | Boston USA

2012 Subterranean modern | group show | The Don gallery | curator Giacomo Spazio | Milano Italy

2012 The odd duo | BR1 and SEACREATIVE | Galo art gallery | Torino Italy

2012 Paris zone libre | group show | galerie La friche | curated by Openwalls | Paris France

2012 Artesera live | group show | fondazione Merz | curated by Olga Gambari | Torino Italy

2011 Dissidents | group show | West Berlin gallery | Berlin Germany

2011 Km011 | group show | museo di scienze natuali | curated by Luca Beatrice | Torino Italy

2010 Proximity | BR1 and Sepideh Salehi | Pah! Project | Fribourg Switzerland

2010 Stradafacendo | group show | Barriera Artegiovane | curated by Olivia Spatola | Torino Italy



BIENNALE

2017 Urban art biennale | curated by Frank Kramer | UNESCO Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte Germany



PUBLIC PROJECTS

2017 Le M.U.R. | public art project | curated by Association Le Mur | Paris France

2015 Hydra 2 | public art project | Fondazione Pistoletto | Biella Italy

2012 Public enemies | public art project | commissioned by La Stampa | Torino Italy

2012 Brandalism | adbusting action | Manchester UK

2011 Hydra | public art project | Fondazione Pistoletto | Biella Italy

2011 MaSAT | adbusting action | curated by Jordan Seiler | Madrid Spain

2011 Wtc suburbart | urban art project | curated by URBE | Torino Italy

2010 MiT3.0 | site specific project | Palazzo Birago | curated by associazione Azimut | Torino Italy



FESTIVALS

2013 A di città | international public art festival | Rosarno Italy

2013 Cheap poster art | poster art festival | curated by Elastico | Bologna Italy

2012 Street art doping | public art festival | curated by Susan Pietrzyk | Warsaw Poland

2010 Urban arts madrid | street art festival | Madrid Spain

2009 Pop up! | public art festival | Ancona Italy



ARTFAIRS

2014 Fieno e asfalto | Artissima Art Fair | in collaboration with Artegiovane | Torino Italy



RESIDENCIES

2016 C-Fara Residency and MAAP Atelier Arte Pubblica | Matera Italy

2014 BR1 and ELFO | AiR Pasaj | Istanbul Turkey



LECTURES

2010 Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera | promoted by prof. Renato Galbusera | Milano Italy

2009 Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti | promoted by prof. Renato Galbusera | Torino Italy



WORKSHOP

2015 Poster art with students | KUFA - Kulturfabrik | curated by Artsquare | Luxembourg

2014 Poster art with students | KUFA - Kulturfabrik | curated by Artsquare | Luxembourg



PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

2014 Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez | Bourdeaux France



AWARDS

2012 Io espongo XXII | curated by Associazione Azimut | Torino Italy



SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND EXHIBITION CATALOGUES

2016 L’art se rue | curated by Karen Brunel-Lafargue | H’artpon Editions | Paris France

2016 Stradda | magazine | directed by Jeanne Pierre Marcos | HorslesMurs | Paris France

2016 Cheap | festival catalogue | curated by Cheap crew | Bologna Italy

2014 Made in Italy | exhibition catalogue | GCA Gallery | Nice France

2014 No cure Magazine | issue 5 | published by Mark Zeidler | Australia

2014 Writing the city | a cura di Roberto Mastroianni | Aracne editore | Torino Italy

2014 From the city to the world | exhibition catalogue | curated by Diane Pontius | Boston U.S.A.

2013 It’s a stick up | curated by Olly Walker | Laurence King Publishing | London U.K.

2013 Public Arena | exhibition catalogue | Associazione Artegiovane | Torino Italy

2011 Km011 arti a torino 1995 – 2011 | curated by Luca Beatrice | Allemandi Editore | Torino Italy

2011 Burqas in Back Alleys: StreetArt,hijab,and the Reterritorialization of PublicSpace | J. Sweeny

2010 Stradafacendo | exhibition catalogue | Associazione Artegiovane | Torino Italy

2010 Pop up! Arte contemporanea nello spazio pubblico | Franco Cosimo Panini | Modena Italy

2010 Fefè visual magazine | curated by Luigi Vernieri | Fefè Project | Roma Italy

2010 Baco Magazine | issue 42 | published by Paolo Testa | Torino Italy