A look at Escif’s “Elsewhere” book
The new solo book by Spanish artist Escif, entitled “Elsewhere” (available here) and crowdfunded via Indiegogo, features murals, sketches, drawings by the artist from 2010 to 2015 and, most important in our opinion, insights about his works revealed through everyday life thoughts, personal stories, conversations, notes, photographs, feelings, ideas, people who have influenced him along the way and other various sources of inspiration.
Concept is at the heart of Escif’s work, and what really matters is that he challenges the viewer to think, raising concerns in the minds of those who intersect with his art, making people stop at least for a moment from their exhausting and often useless rush to interact with his interventions, and draw their own conclusions regarding the reality shaped by the system they live in through this artistic experience, which is accessible and free to all, enriching the walls of the city with meaningful symbols and elements that offer the key to the interpretation of each piece. The message is, in fact, the core of art on the streets, which should be differentiated from the term street art, that according to some artists and others in the field has distanced itself from its initial and core values, no longer being for the people, and, in this case, from any decorative forms of art. Escif stands for art as liberation, not for aesthetics, to encourage freedom of thinking and acting in a world that we forgot is ours, aiming to revive that childhood curiosity to learn more, to ask questions, never tired to seek the answers outside and within.
The texts in the book, including passages by Santiago Alba Rico, Hakim Bey, Santiago Sierra, Diego Bianchi, as well as quotes and even opinions of ordinary people, translated by Andrew Gray and Anna Hardaloupass, highlight many aspects and faults of today which we prefer to ignore, careless or simply unaware of the consequences that our lack of response can generate. Throughout the book, we are confronted with themes such as the way our perception and mentality as a collective and as individuals is narrowed and shaped by forces of control, from media to politics, the violence of the system which refuses and annihilates any potential revolution, be it cultural or of other nature, the disconnection and poor relationships with ourselves and the other, society as governed by the mindset of consumption versus the street as the only opportunity of resistance and preservation of culture and civilization through the traces we live behind, the remains of what is human, of us not just pointlessly moving on and finally disappearing as if we never were and will be.
Accompanying the special edition of the book is a protection cover with comments from people which, to us, show the general misunderstanding of art on the streets, the endless and unavailing art vs vandalism debate, where we are all judges of the beautiful and the ugly, of right and wrong,of what we allow and forbid, the radical and deceiving black and white filter through which we are used to see, unwilling to accept anything in between, although always comfortable in the precious system of make believe, where art may just fit fine as long as it knows its place in society, acceptable as long as it does not disturb us from our daily routine.
[Extract from the book/ Text: “In the Event of an Earthquake Seek Refuge in the Street” by Santiago Alba Rico/ Translation: Andrew Gray]
The poster we received together with the book:
Photos: The re:art