Established since 2009, Beast has produced more than 200 urban installations in more than 40 different cities across Europe, the United States and Japan. Through ironic and provocative collages, the artist deconstructs well-known portraits of people from politics and the entertainment world and recreates scenarios to the limit of veracity.
At his beginnings, Beast’s mashups, framed in gold and placed freely on the streets, quickly caught the attention of the media. Merging a distinctive graphic signature and a strong social and inclusive approach, his artworks challenge the urban audience to question the truthfulness of information through a continuous play of references between the real world and the idealized distant world of the artist. His scene is the streets, especially the ones of Milan, his hometown, but also of wherever his journey takes him.
Beast then moved to larger-scale artworks, pasting up giant posters on the walls of European cities, replacing advertising posters with his artworks and creating giant murals on abandoned buildings in the countryside. He is considered as a “visual manipulator” – all of his collages are constructed with hundred of layers from the photographic archive of our history, elements that are aesthetically updated and combined in order to create a new image, a « true fake », that although false, may seem plausible to the viewer’s eye. Beast’s images are the opposite of news flashes. Full of the irony of our common history, these political subjects reveal the loudness of the half-truths and initiate dialogue.
The artist works with the urban environment, considering the streets as open canvas for expressing his concerns, engaging with particular cultural memories or restoring a forgotten history. His ephemeral “open-air galleries” shift the spotlight from the institutional model, encouraging a more engaged set of political and social causes in the art exhibited and promoting the immediate accessibility of the artefact. The artist considers public art as an engagement with the public realm that reflects what is happening presently. Beast’s images challenge the spectator’s ability to understand what is true and what can be considered plausible within the uninterrupted flow of images mass media expose us to. The resulting artworks recall the role of public spaces as platforms of dialogue, creating bridges of trust where people from different political views can come together. They open up discussion among its witnesses and form new relationships with daily familiarities. The artworks find their meaning in the interaction with the city and its people and in becoming part of the ever-changing city’s history.
In the recent years, Beast has been working on the reappropriation of the past. He is constantly digging through archives, following his personal view of what photographic archive is. “I’ve never viewed archive as a museum or a closed chapter. To me, it’s much more of a living document. My job is to go in there, pick up the stories, understand why they meant what they meant, and then bring that to life in a new way, or a way that celebrates it.”
Working with processes of transformation and replacement, the role of Beast as an artist is also one of a mediator. For him, arts are not unrelated to politics, but coextensive, playing an indirect and auxiliary role in the mix of the political movements. Through his work, he opens up an “agonistic space”, something clearly identified as vital in the practice of public participation in democracy.
In May 2020, Beast installed “You and whose army?”, an 8-meter high paste-up portrait of Jack Kerouac in modern clothes. A shared desire or maybe even an invitation to the passers-by to go back “on the road” and explore the country now that the lockdown is relaxed in Italy.
Beast created a 12×6 meters mural in the middle of the city of Grenoble for the Street Art Fest, an annual event promoting the diversity of forms in street art and the democratisation of art.
Beast developed a series of outdoor installations, Old But Gold, specifically designed to follow the cracks on the walls of each location. They are mirrors for people trying to understand the past. If there are no old things, how can the new things come? If one doesn’t know the “old”, how can he/she discover the “new”. “Re-see” is not to look back, but to continue the crack with new perspectives.
Beast replaces advertising posters with his own artworks all over the main European cities, a way to engage with the passers-by and open up a dialogue. London, Paris, Barcelona, Athens, Munich, Milan, Madrid, Berlin…
Beast created this 18 meters high mural on the pillar of a bridge connecting an industrial and a rural area, a metaphorical location to place this portrait of the 90’s Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev.
Commissioned by Deus and in collaboration with Le Shape, Beast designed “Beast Board”, a brand new series of laser engraved custom boards about the most common injuries of skateboarders.
The archive photo used here was taken during the Great Depression in the 30s in the United States and yet finds meaning in the post-Covid employment crisis in Italy.
Beast created this giant mural on the façade of an abandoned building in the Italian countryside in June 2019.