Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Roman Graffiti of B. R. Ammazzate

Bill and I first noticed these curious graffiti last year.
We saw these two works on the Street of  the Marble Foot on the front the Ditta G. Poggi art supplies store. We liked them very much and thought they must be by the same artist.
When we encountered this charming pair near the Palazzo Pamphilj we were hooked.
We started to see this person's work all over the centre of Rome. I found this nice set of drawings just off the Via del Tritone.
And this bewitching work on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. That's the Gesù in the background.
So when we returned to Rome this year we were delighted to find this little drawing. It was like running into an old friend. This morning I got curious about that name and decided to google it.
I discovered a newspaper article from 2014 and a dozen photographs of work by "our" artist, who it seemed went by the name B. R. Ammazzate. A Roman friend told me that "ammazzate" is Italian for "you kill (plural)" and is also Roman slang for "kill yourself".
He wondered if B. R. stood for Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades), the group that terrorized Italy in the 70's and 80's. Their name in Italian is routinely abreviated BR.
When Bill and I went out to get some lunch today I began to look again at what I began to think of as "text" works.
 I admit I had noticed these and wondered about them but had been resisting photographing them despite the clear visual evidence that they came from the same hand that had done the sketches we liked.
 I was already taking dozens of pictures a day and didn't want to have to start collecting pictures of individual words and numbers.
But I had to pick up a few -- like these lovelies.
Ammazzate's handwriting is as distinctive as Cy Twombly's.
We still like the sketches best. 
They have a pleasant throw-away quality and yet there is a wonderful absurdity to them.
We still think of B. R. Ammazzate as our personal discovery.
That's because the work is both intimate and unforgettable.
Ammazzate is a generous artist with work all over the centro storico of Rome. May his or her magic marker never run out of ink!

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