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The Ander Group Magazine – Issue 11 2017

Pablo Togni & Christian Rebecchi


Editor's Letter

Image and idea, work and play, planning and execution – in truth, these are artificial opposites. Real productive life combines them all in our permanent quest for meaning, clarity and communication. In this issue, we meet a pair of artists who reject all unnecessary labels and distinctions: Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni are NEVERCREW, whose mission is to make us see our world anew. It’s a big ambition, but one that they achieve through simple means: cooperation, connection with the audience, careful preparation, and never losing sight of the goal. That’s also how we at Ander Group help our clients make their mark on the world.

Florian Anderhub Founder & CEO

Manuel Gamper Founder


NE E CR 4

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V R EW The two men move around the room like cats, silently and efficiently, seeming to communicate by thought alone. Outside, the sun streams down on the mountains and forest. Within, the studio is like an ancient tomb, its walls covered with mysterious images mingling mechanical systems with natural, biological forms. The feeling is calm, yet purposeful, with the growing excitement of creation.

Racks and drawers of paints in every color imaginable line the room – and in the middle, a puzzling, fascinating object: a sarcophagus? A spaceship? A new lifeform? Nothing here is simply what it seems. Welcome to the exhilarating, baffling, eye-opening world of NEVERCREW.

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NEVERCREW is two remarkable artists working together as one. Pablo Togni and Christian Rebecchi are now in their thirties, and have been a team since they were in art school in Lugano as teenagers. “We don’t divide tasks,” explains Christian; “because we are so used to finding a way to combine what we think.” Pablo picks up the thread: “We both say that each of us could do everything, so we can take a project together from beginning to end, or we can work on parts separately.” Having completed their academic training at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Brera in Milan, they set out in 2005 to define their shared personal artistic vision. “We had common passions and hobbies when we were 15 or 16,” explains Christian. “In the 1990s, hip-hop culture was very prevalent and we were deeply interested, doing graphics and drawing for record covers and mix-tapes. We were naturally drawn to the graffiti scene, because we saw mural art as a direct way to express ourselves.”

Mantegna, Leonardo, Michelangelo… but NEVERCREW has little time for such labels: “We don’t like restrictive descriptions,” says Pablo; “they might be useful for explaining the past, but not the present. Hip-hop graffiti writing has its rules, but there are so many styles and attitudes, and they have changed radically over the years. ‘Street Art’ seems a simple idea, but it actually contains every possible artistic view and technique, so we’re not interested in being seen as part of a movement. For us, we see our work as strictly related to the time and place for which it’s created – its social context, politics, emotions – and the connection that people make with it.” Christian agrees: “For years, we have had one shared common path: to connect and communicate using our personal language, in the most natural way. We have always cared deeply about what we do, and we try to make no difference between our work and our lives.”

Graffiti art has the image of an subversive “outsider” culture – but you could also say that wall painting is the oldest of art forms, going back to the caves. It also has a long tradition in European high art, especially in Italian painting:

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The images that stream out of NEVERCREW’s spray-cans are hugely varied, from disk-drives and washing machines to moonscapes, clouds, octopi and polar bears – but there is always a clear idea behind them. Part of this is the context: “We think of the particular aspects of each location; its shape, its use, the surrounding culture. The is the space in which we can communicate.” More important, though, is the communication itself, which often explores the relation between the human world, with its systems and machines, and the natural world that surrounds us. “It’s all about relationships,” says Christian, “between people, between humanity and nature, between humans and their nature; we like to create ‘systems’ that highlight these connections between the parts.”

NEVERCREW’s urge to connect with the audience sometimes extends to inviting participation in the work: the Volvo Art Session in Zürich, asked viewers to drive radio-controlled cars with paint-covered wheels around a giant city map. Tin Can Phone Project, in Lugano, provided chalks from a vending machine for viewers to add to and modify each other’s contributions to the mural. “Interaction is something we really care about,” says Christian. “People’s reaction to our mural work may be deep, empathetic, reflective… but it’s private. In an interactive project, it’s visible, shared, explicit, connecting and influencing as it grows. So we certainly plan to do more of these installations.”

“It’s a little like those nested Russian matrioshka dolls,” continues Pablo: “To analyse a system we create a new system inside it, that expands its borders, connections and meaning.” The mechanical elements are a direct way to refer to human activities, while the natural elements open out the discussion, sparking an empathy in the viewer that a machine cannot. “The result, we hope, is visual and political, entertaining and subversive all at the same time.”

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All of this time, the mysterious object has been sitting there in the middle of the studio, as if waiting to be born. Now the time has come: lifting off the mould with extreme care and gentleness, Christian and Pablo reveal the sculpted form of one of their best-loved motifs – a sperm whale, reimagined in a boxy, tadpole shape. It lies there, dignified and self-possessed… a new work at the moment of arrival. “We have been planning to do this for years,” says Christian. “We always tried to include three-dimensional elements in our work, because it is such a good way of increasing the involvement of the viewer: it draws you into the image. But now we are working more on sculpture itself. When will the public be able to see the finished work? Certainly in 2017 – but we can’t say where.” That is in part because NEVERCREW exhibits all over the world, from Cairo to Canada, from New Delhi to… Winterthur. “Every new work is challenging, and every new place teaches us something unexpected,” say Pablo. “We are becoming part of a neighborhood for a while, meeting new people and connecting, letting everything go deeply into our feelings. It’s a very intense experience, but also rewarding. Certainly, we wanted to stay on in New Delhi –it was amazing.” And the painting itself laying on these glimmering sheets of color, bring a dead wall to life with each sweep of the hand – is it pleasurable? Are the men up there in air enjoying the moment? “It’s all both pleasurable and exhausting: the conception, the planning, the execution. Sometimes were happy to be thinking, sometimes we’re happy in front of the wall, sometimes we’re happy to be finished. We do what we do because we like it.” So the crew moves on, always looking for a new wall, a new empty space to fill with connection and communication. “Our dreams and ambitions are already realized. What we want most is already happening. We are on the path, all that’s necessary is to continue in the right direction, finding ever more stimulating and interesting opportunities to interact.”

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The Wanderful Take

Make your mark! The spectacular images of NEVERCREW reveal what amazing things can happen when brain, eye, and hand work together. More than that, they confirm that two are better than one: together, we make a multitude. Good art draws attention; it connects people with the spaces they inhabit and the beings that surround them. In choosing their shared path and following it with care and attention – but also with a light heart and pure intentions – Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni are fulfilling each day their dreams of the night before. What a Wanderful life that is! nevercrew

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3 Rochester NY (USA) "Detecting machine n.1" Mural painting realized for the Wall Therapy co-curated by Urban Nation Berlin 2015

1 Torino (Italy) "Black machine” Mural painting and installation realized on the Colosseo theater 2015 Playing with the line of sight of the forced point of view from the sidewalk and inspiring us to the theater (on whose wall was made the painting), we decided to work on the idea of ​​representation intended in a broad sense as portrayal, as performance and as a figuraton of reality. We used direct references to the theatrical context to define a “real” proportion and a starting point, but we wanted to move the attention on global warming related to human habits. We have then developed these issues trying to evoke the position (and responsibility) of man in a delicate balance, into the ecosystem, and so the choice of points of view, of real awareness and the idea of ​​a passive condition in a system.

2 New Delhi (India) "See through / See beyond” Couple of mural paintings for St+Art India and the exhibition “WIP” 2016 The work consists of two paintings connected between them, although distant a few kilometers. The first was realized in the Lodhi Colony in south-central New Delhi, while the second was painted on six train containers of the "WIP" exhibition (02-28.02.2016), at the ICD deposit of Tughlakabad, further south. Lodhi Colony is one of the oldest colonies established during the British period and was originally built in 1940 to house the employees of the government of that time. In our society structured on the expansion of power and on the conquest of the final product, the origin of things and their history are often put aside. The reasons are confused and mixed over time, diluted up to make it turbid, making past and present less and less readable. In this way the vision of reality itself and its understanding, as the understanding of its problems, fails. The man finds himself with no history, unable to distinguish the outlines of his surroundings, without memories that make it aware and without reference points that make it conscious of his actual position.

In this situation we wanted to realize something related to the balance between the elements inside a system: where all the parts partecipate, consciously or not, and where there should be a mutual comprehension and empathy. We see this related in a wider way to the balance existing in nature, a sort of "collaboration" between everything for a common "wellness”. An existing working system based on needs and not on profit. From this then we wanted to highlight 2 different aspects: at a more immediate level the relationship between mankind and nature, as a litmus paper that reveal an emergency and risks (first of all the global warming, an emergency sign itself). On a second and more specific level we wanted to relate our painting to the idea of a community that cooperate for a local or/and a more global benefit, exactly as the natural example mentioned above. A sort of positive shell, strong and delicate at the same time, strictly connected to what it’s made of and to what is around it, and of which to take care of constantly.

4 Belgrado (Serbia) “Imitation of life n°9” Mural painting realized over the Mikser House 2014 The project is represents for us an idea of evolution, of transformation, of life and change under an alternative perspective, which we associate with the city of Belgrade and in particular with the area where we have made the painting, referring then to the “Utopia” that’s in the topic of this Festival. The mechanism present in the upper part, moreover, is powered by the free energy coming from the Tesla coil. This, then, like many other pieces goes to enlarge an already large “file” of components that we use to build the other machines of our works.

5 Luzern (Switzerland) "Realizing machine” Mural painting realized for the Neusicht exhibition organized by Viva con Agua 2016 This works is about the the look that mankind has towards nature and everything concerning their relationship, where there’s a direct connection that often it’s not completed by knowledge and comprehension. This cultural attitude brings a distance and the distance creates a lack of empathy that can be easily turned, or purpose or not, in blindness. In a society where the profit is the main value, this relationship is then based on exploitation and privatization of natural resources, and all the consequences are hidden also if they’re in front of everyone’s eyes. As in the previous paintings, the structure of the building became an important element for the definition of the composition: from this comes the idea of something that’s inside, partially hidden and / or protected. The subject is then into the structure and not outside, is a sort of cage made again by the human gesture of opening and closing, looking or hiding.

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6, 7, 8 Aalborg (Denmark) “Exhausting machine n°2” Mural painting realized in Aalborg (Denmark) for WeAart 2016 This work directly follows and continues the previous urban intervention realized in Vancouver (Canada) and it is part of a series about the delicate balance in the relationship between mankind and nature, with a focus on the direct responsibility in the managing of this balance and the awareness about it. The giant plastic bottle accumulates and it's consumed. An alerting hourglass that highlight the time passing as and with water, the idea of a wider system of which everyone is part and who everyone can affect. A look at the opposites: where on a side there's the attitude of privatization and exploitation of natural resources and on the other one a community that shares responsibilities, knowledge and conscience. Pictures 6 and 7 by Allan Toft.

11 Hamburg (Germany) “Privatization machine n°1” Mural painting and installation realized for Millerntor Gallery #5 ad part of the social art project in support of “Viva con Agua” for worldwide water projects 2015 The image we choose to realize in the context of the Millerntor Gallery, hosted in the lively area of Sankt Pauli in Hamburg, is explicitly about privatization of natural resources and about the feeling that things could be different from what we’re used too. As in a way for the superficial and senseless presumption of borders, we wanted to highlight how an attitude that’s very common and sometimes established and accepted in our society could be seen as strained and forced, far from the human nature and well-being, as a property based on power and not on needs.

12 Grenoble (France) “Ordering machine” Mural painting realized for Street Art Fest 2016

9 Vancouver (Canada) “Exhausting machine” Mural painting realized in Vancouver (CA) for Vancouver Mural Festival. 2016 This work is focused on the balance between use and abuse, about the exploitation of natural resources, about pollution and its direct consequences. It’s about responsibilities, awareness and conscience about the system in which everyone partecipate.

Following the structure of the building, the project was developed around the position of mankind related to nature, where on a side there are needs and belonging, and on the other one there’re consumption and appropriation. The attitude of privatizing natural resources and of inconsiderate exploiting are put on a delicate balance with the responsibilities that can determine a difference between persistence in damaging and change. The arrogant use for economical purposes and the claim of superiority are in the same hands of who can choose for social awareness and environmental safety.

10 Manchester (UK) “Inhuman barriers” Mural painting that addresses the theme of immigration realized for “Cities of hope”, in support to the local solidarity group WASP (Women Asylum Seekers Together) 2016 This project is about immigration and integration: about the loss of humanity and empathy, about barriers and values, and about the distant and often presumptuous position of who's on the "right part" of the border.

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Wanderful – The Ander Group Magazine Issue 11, 2017 hello@wanderfulmag.com http://ander.group Ander Group SA Lugano, Lausanne, Zurich Concept Ander Group SA Via Campagna 13 CH-6982 Agno Editor Michael Kaplan Art Director & Designer Luciano Marx Simona Tami Photography Director Simona Tami Photographer Michael Bonito © 2017 Ander Group


More pictures on: www.bit.ly/nevercrew


It can be this simple.

The Wanderfulmag, Issue 11, Nevercrew  

Pablo Togni & Christian Rebecchi

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