Nevercrew is Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni, Swiss artists based in Ticino, Switzerland. Interested in the tension and back and forth of being a collaborative duo, tangential relationships are very much a part of their aesthetic and process. Interested in systems and the inner working of living things, they create pseudo “machines” or “living structures,” to explore the systemic and conceptual interactions among individual parts. The works combine fantastic pairings of realistic animals and fictional mechanical systems to create a surreal universe of weirdly bionic hybrids. At the heart of these colorful, large-scale murals is a concern for the increasingly tenuous relationship between man and nature. Mixing realistic painting styles with stencils and phenomenal graphics, their works, though seemingly playful, are thought provoking metaphors for social and political relationships.
Thinkspace Gallery in collaboration with Berlin’s Urban Nation, is pleased to present DUO, a group exhibition featuring works by internationally acclaimed contemporary art duos. The following is an exclusive Sour Harvest interview with Nevercrew.
How did you two first meet and decide to collaborate together?
We met at the art school, when we were 15 & 16 years old. We used to have similar tastes in many fields and a way of thinking on the creative side. We both used to like to build things and so we started to work together for school projects, doing videos, set models, comics and other things. In that period (the ’90) the hip-hop culture was really important in our region, south of Switzerland, and the idea of graffiti was around us. So in 1996 we realized our first painting together.
What inspires you or where do you find inspiration?
In years we’re carrying on a continuous discussion between us, and this is part of our lives and touch everything that’s around us. In this way we’re inspired by everything we do and we see, but we focus especially on the idea itself of relationship and comparison. So it’s something related to the connection between everything, between mankind and nature, it’s connected to society and politics, but also very connected to emotions.
How do you two work through conflict when creating a cohesive vision?
We’re used to discussing everything together and there’s no need to have aggressive conflicts about what we do. We’re always working on a way to create with two heads and to connect our ideas instead of letting one win over the other. We usually try to understand each other part and vision, talking a lot and explaining, if this does not happen automatically.
What is your process for collaborating, does one artist do XYZ and the other ABC? Please elaborate.
There’s not a specific partition in our work. We could say that we’re interchangeable. We start with a long exchange of ideas and then we just decide together how to realize them. Of course for practical reasons sometimes we have to decide who does what, but this depends more on the specific needs of the moment and not by preassigned tasks. Occasionally we have to divide the work into two parts, but over the years as we’ve worked together and merged our visions and techniques, these parts would be in a way equally realized by both of us.
Do you remember your first wall? Or have a good story to share from when you were doing a mural together…
Yes, of course, we remember our first wall. We probably remember all the walls we did and if not we for sure have the pictures!
Since it was our first time with spray paint we did something indoor, very ambitious and detailed, with many colors, subjects and trees in the background. We took our Sparvar cans and we barricade ourselves inside for two days, working something like 12 hours per day without stop… and without masks. We probably each lost 20 years off our life for what we breathed in during that situation, but it was very funny, inspiring and satisfying and it told us to continue. After that, each wall we did was a new experience. Working on the streets has always been intense for many reasons and it’s still like that now.
If you could live in a movie for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or a specific character?
Interesting question, it’s something that we don’t consider lately, but it make us think about childhood dreams: when we were really young we probably wanted to be inside movies like “Explorers” (Joe Dante, 1985), where a group of young kids discovered (from a strange collective dream) how to build a spaceship with their own skills and parent’s basement stuff. So we think that in the same way today we wouldn’t desire to become someone else, but more to have the opportunity and the means to realize everything that could appear in our minds, to discover something that’s still hidden. Nowadays it would sound a little bit as the architects in “Inception” (Christopher Nolan, 2010), but more hand-crafted.
View new works from the duo Nevercrew during our opening reception for “DUO” Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm. For additional information on the exhibit please visit Thinkspace Gallery’s website; if you’d like to receive a preview of the show make sure to sign up for the Thinkspace Gallery mailing list.