RUFO Project

Rudimentary Unidentified Frictional Object
Artmossphere Biennale
Moscow 09/2014

I have been doing research around the idea of “creating while walking” for a long time now (see the Promenades Project I did in Beijing: www.eltono.com/en/projects/promenades), my last idea was to register friction during a walk and I came up with the idea of RUFO – RUFO is a typical dog name in French and also the name of a toy dog that was released in the 80´s. I decided the four letters would stand for “Rudimentary Unidentified Frictional Object”.

Basically, I wanted to drag an artwork along a defined path and register the way it decays. I was doing tests around this idea when I was asked to participate in Artmossphere Biennial in Moscow so I decided to do the first RUFO experiment in the street of the Russian capital. I painted 11 wood boards with bold colored graphics and one by one dragged them around the city on different paths I had selected earlier (around the exhibition space, in random neighborhood, around the Red Square, around the hotel…). Each walk was between one and two kilometers, except for RUFO #9 where I walked for 2,5 kilometers and the painting almost disappeared entirely. Having the artwork interacting with the outside was crucial – showing artworks in the state they came out of the studio doesn’t interest me – my idea was to “print” the city onto each board turning them into witnesses of a walk, an experience. On the back of each board I showed the map of the walk and all the data generated (date, time, duration, distance and name of the streets wandered) – note that during the biennial, I showed reproductions of the back of the boards on spare boards for the people to understand better the story.

Pictures by Natalia Solovieva – Thanks to everybody at Artmosspere and to the people from Codered.

Promenades Journal

Ongoing project
November 2013 – today

The Promenades Project is about walking, observation and spontaneity. It’s about wandering in the city with no pressure, no time limit, no goal apart from walking and enjoying it. It’s about walking with total freedom of time and space to be able to do all that things that you always want to do but you don’t because you have no time. It’s about moving crosscurrent in the city with time for contemplation to be able to observe details that most people don’t notice.

eltono-promenades

Rules

Rule #1: Walk and, if possible, create something on the way.
Rule #2: Only use material found during the walk – the only material I allow myself to bring is for
documentation (notebook, phone, camera) and a bag.
Rule #3: Only execute ideas created during the walk – or a predecessor walk.
Rule #4: Enjoy the walk.

This journal is a straight chronological transcription of what happened during each walk.

When?

On going project – Eggshell stickers and fadeproof marker

The Frieze

Chkondideli neighborhood
Rustavi, Georgia
October 3rd – October 11th 2013

Project curated by Tamara Bokuchava (www.socialphotocaucasus.org) and Nini Palavandishvili (www.geoair.blogspot.com) with the support of EU delegation to Georgia and Internews Georgia.

Panoramic animation (pass your mouse over the image to move it).

Based on the idea of a running frieze that would tie the neighborhood together, I painted each individual spot envisioning a design that would run from door to door. At first I thought we would ask the people and then paint, but actually the project turned out differently. The first door I decided to paint was the entrance of an abandoned house so we decided to paint it without asking permission. While I was painting this first door, locals who were passing by asked us what we were doing and started to spontaneously offer their own doors. At that point I decided that it would make more sense to just follow the flow of people offering their doors – that way I wouldn’t control the way the frieze was growing in and around the neighborhood.

Rustavi is the fourth largest city in Georgia. During the second half of the 20th century, the city was rebuilt by the Russians as an important industrial center with around 90 factories implanted on its territory. Chkondideli, the neighborhood where we worked, used to be a dormitory neighborhood for immigrants working at these factories. After 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, almost all the factories were closed down and the unemployment rate jumped to 65%. Today only two factories are still in use.

eltono-rustavi-map-p

Process pictures (by Tamara Bokuchava):


Pictures by Tamara Bokuchava and Eltono.
Thanks Tamara, Nini, Data, Manu, everyone who helped to accomplish the project and of course all the residents from Chkondideli.

One Minute Before

Since I started painting geometric shapes using masking tape I have always found the moment right before pulling the tape off very interesting. At first, it looks a bit uncontrolled and messy but with a closer look, you can already begin to see an organized structure among the chaos of the tape and paint. Because painting in the street (for obvious reasons) has to be a quick action, this moment where the paint and the tape exist simultaneously is always extremely short. The idea for this new series called “One Minute Before” is to generate a collection of drawings based on the re-creation of this brief moment just before the tape is pulled off and the painting is revealed – a moment that, apart from myself, very few people have ever seen. All the drawings are based on real paintings that exist or have existed in the street, most of them painted illegally.

The first three drawings of this series were created in Beijing in June 2013 using pencil, acrylic and watercolor on paper.

This new series of work was presented to the public for the first time during the Wooster Collective 10th Anniversary Show at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York in August of 2013.

To ask about availability and prices of these artworks, please write an email to: artworks@eltono.com

Bien Urbain

Parcours artistiques dans (et avec) l’espace public
Besançon, France
September 6th – October 6th 2012

Project in collaboration with MOMO

This summer MOMO and I were invited to do our fourth collaboration together for the Bien Urbain festival in Besançon, North-East of France. We worked on two exercises: the first one, called Improbables, was an exercise about doing compositions with pieces of wood in unused gaps in the city. The second one is called Peinture au Cordeau Traceur (Paint Snap-Line) and is an adaptation of the traditional chalk line tool. The technique we developed allowed us to trace long lines on a building of almost any height using paint instead of chalk.

www.bien-urbain.fr

Together with Bien Urbain, we edited a zine about these two projects:
www.justeici.bigcartel.com/product/momo-eltono-zine-poster.

Improbables

We came up with this idea after noticing a lot of small, unused spaces on walls all around the city. After collecting scrap wood, we loaded up our cart with the wood and our tools. Then, as we walked around the city, we installed simple wooden compositions in every gap we found interesting. All the pieces were put into place using only tension – no nails nor glue were used. The end result were 52 installations found all around the “Battant” quarter in Besançon. On an individual level, the pieces were quite discreet and often looked like some cheap repair work; but when people started noticing the series, they immediately realized that something was happening… We were amazed by how intact the pieces remained and how slowly they disappeared. The hardest part of this project was to try to make the installations NOT look like pieces of art.

Peinture au Cordeau Traceur

(Paint Snap-Line)

For this project, we used the traditional chalk line tracer tool as our inspiration and conducted experiments eventually developing a similar tool that enabled us to mark long straight lines on buildings with paint. After a few drawings, we came out with a design and using the material available to us in Bien Urbain’s basement, we built the artifact. We did three tests, threw paint everywhere and finally came up with a satisfactory result.

Pictures by Sierra, MOMO and Eltono.
Thanks to David, Lucile and to the whole Bien Urbain crew.

The Barrios Project

I have always been fascinated by auto-construction. From the gate at the end of a garden to a brick house found on the slope of a hill in Brazil. This type of architecture is immediate, organic, it expands in an almost natural way. This urban fabric’s apparent chaos is often more human than one found in a city where the construction follows standard urban planning. Aesthetically speaking, worn out textures and the discovery of a variety of materials (bricks, cement blocks, metal panels, wooden slabs…) have always attracted me as an artistic surface.

eltono-barrios-mexico05

The Barrios project began in April of 2006 when, invited by some friends, Nuria Mora and I painted in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. After exchanging ideas with the residents, I was very pleased to see that they were so receptive to what I was painting. They really appreciated the colors and the composition. This positive reaction led me to reflect on Contemporary Art and specifically its access to the public. It was obvious that, unfortunetly, the residents of the favela didn’t often visit museums or art galleries. Even though the appreciation of a work of art is universal, access to art itself is not. Since then, it has become a special mission for me to bring contemporary art to places where there is none. When discussing this with my friend Nazza, a fellow artist, he said, “what is the point of painting in the street in the center of Buenos Aires where people have money and can buy art and pay to enter museums, I only paint on the outskirts of the city.” He is completely right… Why give art for free to the people who need it the least? Where people really need art is in the Barrios!

This is not about outside eyes prying, or looking into a foreign world. My idea is to create a dialogue with the residents and enrich their daily lives by providing them with a humble gift. Sharing with them what I know and receiving what they can teach me. With Barrios, the human experience is always more rewarding for me than the artistic experience.

Barrios is an open project in constant development, more interventions and publications will come in the future. Of course, any idea or proposal is welcome as I am always looking to find new opportunities to make art more democratic.

Below you will find photographic galleries of six projects that I have developed within the framework of Barrios up until now. The photos were taken by project organizers, friends, neighbors and a few are my own.

Gardiena Azul

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 04/2006
In collaboration with Nuria Mora
More details: www.eltono.com/projects/gardenia-azul

Puerto Lumbreras

Murcia, Spain, 08/2006
Two week artistic residence within the neighborhood
In collaboration with Emece and Puerto Lumbreras City Council
A book about the project has been edited by the city council:
www.eltono.com/boutique/puerta-lumbreras-book
More details: www.eltono.com/projects/puerta-lumbreras

Huasteca, Santa Catarina and Espinazo

Nuevo León, Mexico, 11/2007
Paintings made with the help of Nrmal, Maf and Screw

Puerto Vallarta

Jalisco, Mexico, 10/2008
Ten day artistic residence
In collaboration with Paco Rosas and Libelulart
More details: www.eltono.com/projects/puerto-vallarta

Tampiquito

Monterrey, Mexico, 04/2009
Two-month artistic residence within the neighborhood
In collaboration with Nrmal and El Narval
More details: www.eltono.com/projects/residencia-tampiquito

Villa Urquiza and La Matanza

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 12/2007 and 04/2010
Paintings made with the help of Nazza Stencil

We were returning to my friend Nazza’s home after painting, when we ran into the neighbor´s children playing football against a wall in front of the house. I paint lines, we had white paint and we were walking through a neighborhood in Argentina… It was pretty obvious that I would end up painting a goal on the wall! This is probably the most interactive piece I have ever painted.

Caochangdi – 草场地

Caochangdi, Beijing, China, 06/2012
1/1 Project with C-Space gallery
More details here: www.eltono.com/en/projects/1-1-caochangdi

Billboard Appropriation

Utrecht, Netherlands
March 2012

Project in collaboration with Stickit

Action video:

Process pictures:

Thanks Wood, Mores, Merijn Hos, Tibor Kocsis and Stijn Jansen!