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Luciano Castelliartist sheet 8/78

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One of the major figures of the Neue Wilde (New Wild) movement, artists in Germany and Austria who, around 1980, produced expressive, figurative and energetic paintings. He was a member of the punk band Geile Tiere (Cool Animals), and has made films, photographs and performance pieces.

60 years of performance art in Switzerland museum Tinguely, 20.09.2017 - 28.01.2018

Solarium (1973)

Framed photograph

Solarium is Castelli's first performance, which he realized at the Stichting De Appel in Amsterdam: he lies in front of a screen on which a slide projection shows him in various poses.

Big Birds (1980)

Framed photograph

The performance Big Birds was presented at a fashion show of Claudia Skoda in Berlin, playing on provocative positions and nudity.

The Bitch and her Dog (1981, video, 12'21'')

Colour video, sound

The video The Bitch and Her Dog documents a performance in Lyon, on the occasion of the 3rd Symposium d'Art-Performance. The artist Salomé holds Castelli as a dog on the leash during the performance.

Geile Tiere Concert Dschungel Berlin (Photozeitung) (1981-1982)

Newspaper page, 43 x 63 cm

The photos from Geile Tiere refer to one of the Berlin concerts by the band of Luciano Castelli, Salomé and Luise Walther, who supported Nina Hagen among others.

Geile Tiere Deutschlandhalle Berlin (1981-1982)

Framed photograph, 41 x 60 cm

The photos from Geile Tiere refer to one of the Berlin concerts by the band of Luciano Castelli, Salomé and Luise Walther, who supported Nina Hagen among others.

PerformanceProcess Paris, Centre culturel suisse 18.09-13.12.2015

Big Birds (1980, black & white photographs, 41x60 cm)
The Bitch and her Dog (1981, video, 12'21'')

The video The Bitch and her Dog arose from a performance in Lyon, moving from a train station to a shopping centre, as part of the third Performance Art Symposium. The artist Salomé, in disguise and wearing platform shoes, led Castelli around on a lead like a dog.

Geil Tiere Concert Dschungel Berlin (Photozeitung), (1981-1982, 46x63 cm)

A newspaper article and photographs covering one of Geile Tiere's Berlin gigs. Band members were Luciano Castelli, Salomé and Luise Walther.

Opéra par hasard (1983, montage de photographies n/b, 41 x 60 cm)

The montage of photographs entitled Opéra par hasard documents a stage project by the artists and musicians Salomé, Rainer Fetting and Luciano Castelli, presented at the CAPC in Bordeaux, the Pompidou Centre, and Le Palace in Paris.

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The performer who was himself

Luciano Castelli was the symbol of an artistic period that was crazier, less conventional and more militant than today. ...

Luciano Castelli was the symbol of an artistic period that was crazier, less conventional and more militant than today.

Once upon a time, long ago, there was a period when people systematically overstepped the limits. It was the early 1970s. Art drew inspiration from life, life became art, and the artist became the artwork. The old frontiers between gender and sex, man and woman, image and music, painting and photography, performance art and film—all those artificial categories which have never, in fact, been “artistic”—demanded but one thing: to be crossed. Luciano Castelli, who grew up in this period, didn't just play a walk-on part; he was an embodiment of the era. With his radiantly androgynous, hyper-erotic persona—he was a painter, a musician and a filmmaker—he perfectly embodied the concept of the artist as work of art: he showed with his own body what others showed in paintings, first in the “bohemian” world of Lucerne, then in Franz Gertsch's “photorealistic” pictures.

Luciano Castelli did not perform in character, he always remained himself, from the early days—for example in 1971 at the De Appel foundation in Amsterdam—to his gigs as bass player and vocalist with the brilliant amateur band Geile Tiere. In 1978, he moved to West Berlin, soon becoming one of the “Boys” at the Moritzplatz Gallery. An idolised member of the “Nouveaux Fauves” movement, Luciano was, and always remained, Castelli: his own performer. The stage was part and parcel of his daily life, at the legendary discotheque Dschungel or simply in the urban space he used as his backstage, for example in his legendary performance The Bitch and Her Dog where, held on a leash by Salomé, he crossed the station and a shopping arcade in Lyon, stamping grounds for the city's elegant bourgeoisie. There was once a time when art was synonymous with systematically overstepping the limits. Will it ever return?

 

Heinz Peter Schwerfel, art critic and filmmaker.

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