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  • Writer's pictureRomina Rosso

Saype: Turin Beyond Walls

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Saype, Beyond Walls, Step 7 Turin 2020

Turin, Palatine Door

1 October 2020 - 17 January 2021

Beyond Walls is a large project of an innovative grass painting land art.

Turin is the seventh city involved after Paris, Andorre, Geneve, Berlin, Ouagadougou, Yamoussoukro but before Istanbul.

Saype, Beyond Walls, step 1 Paris 2019
Saype, Beyond Walls, step 6 Yamoussoukro 2020

The work is by the French artist Guillaume Legros alias Saype (contraction of Say Peace), who creates monumental frescoes on grass. He started with graffiti and shifted gradually from urban walls to spray-painting country landscapes. “I felt urban art had lost some of its meaning — there was so much visual pollution in cities that no one really saw graffiti anymore” Saype said. “So, I wanted to find another way to get people’s attention.”.

Land art is traditionally connected with epic works built from rocks and natural materials on the ground or mowing and carving shapes into the landscape, Saype instead spray-paints ultra-realist, street-art images of local people on to the grass itself, in a gigantic scale, covering huge swathes of fields and mountains using his own recipe of homemade biodegradable paint that disappears again into the landscape.

Currently, he uses a recipe of chalk for white, charcoal for black mixed with casein, a milk protein, to fix the pigments, while he searches for a totally plant-based option.

Saype at work in Turin

In 2019 Saype embarked on a project called Beyond Walls. His ambition is to symbolically create the largest human chain in the world. This huge project, over several years, aims to pass in more than 30 cities of the world, to invite people to mutual aid, kindness and unity.

Hands always tell a story, you have tattoos, bracelets, the hands of those who have done manual labour and those who have not,” he says “Each of these hands will tell a story but we won’t know where from.”

In Turin the project was called the wall of time.

After having linked Europe and Africa, the giant hands of the universal chain cross the Palatine door, the glorious vestige of Eternal Rome.

The Palatine door represents the primary archaeological evidence of the city's Roman phase, and it is one of the best-preserved 1st-century BC Roman gateways in the world. Together with the ancient theatre's remains, located a short distance away, it is part of the so-called Archaeological Park, opened in 2006.

One of the arms of the Beyond Walls of Turin, has a particular symbol a tribal tattoo crowned by a laurel wreath. The laurel symbol of the Roman past glory is now dialoguing with the modern times.

Saype, Beyond Walls, detail of the tatoo, Turin 2020

The city of Turin with this project is proving its dedication for the thematic of inclusion and sustainability, and it is taking its position as international cultural city.

The city of Turin is collaborating with Lavazza Group, that it is supporting the artist and i Musei Reali di Torino (the Royal Museums of Turin) that are supporting the project and building a bridge between the classical heritage and the contemporary arts.

The Beyond Walls in Turin represent an important project in this difficult year with a message of hope, optimism and resilience that it is starting from the city of Turin and it will be spread all around the world.

The Royal Museums of Turin are hosting in the Galleria Sabauda (Sabauda Gallery),till 17 of January 2021, the first monographic exhibition of Saype, showing his poetics, career and unique technique of “Foot Murales” that gave worldwide fame to the artist.

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