Doctoral Candidate in German Studies, Cornell CAS
Nicolau Spadoni (b. 1993) is a Brazilian photographer and doctoral candidate in the German Studies department at Cornell University. Having started as a fashion and editorial photographer, since his move to the United States, he has been venturing further into a varying array of fine art projects and series.
Bywalker is a photography exhibition that delves into the urban landscape of Ithaca, capturing the often hidden, transient expressions of poetic, political and philosophical ideas found spray-painted on its walls and sidewalks, while also reflecting on collective and public possibilities for expression. These unfiltered, anonymous and sometimes enigmatic statements not only stand as potent symbols of the town’s collective consciousness but also reveal underlying tensions, offering a fascinating perspective of the interplay between art, politics, and the urban environment.
Furthermore, this exhibition provides a unique opportunity to showcase Spadoni’s research in alternative photographic printing processes, conducted at Tjaden’s Photography Laboratory and Darkroom. More notably, the artist’s choice to print in large sizes, thereby juxtaposing everyday scenes against a grand scale output, will emerge as a special challenge but also invite viewers to engage with the artistry and technical expertise underpinning the visual narratives, hopefully creating a dynamic dialogue between the subject matter and its presentation.
Phrases and messages sprayed on walls and sidewalks are a form of expression in public spaces. The ephemeral nature of street art messages can also reflect the fleeting nature of freedom of expression as these messages are usually overwritten or erased by contrary groups or authorities, therefore indicating the fragility of this freedom and the need to preserve it. In this sense, Spadoni believes that the act of photographing them becomes an act of preservation and conversation of this ephemeral form of expression, perhaps ultimately underscoring the role of art in protecting freedom of expression.