This Friday, Nov. 13th, Italian graffiti writer and fine artist Infinite presents Even Flowers Must Di, at 3RD Ethos Gallery in Brooklyn. This event marks both the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States and the gallery’s entry into the new normal — its first foray since COVID-19 shuttered the city’s creative spaces. “It is so worth the wait,” said 3RD Ethos owner Connie Byun. “It’s the post-quarantine art show, and it’s also our last show of the year.
“It’s the post-quarantine art show, and it’s also our last show of the year.”
Her wait has been even longer than it would first appear. Byun originally laid eyes on Infinite’s work about two years ago, on the same day she met this show’s curator, Harris Lobel. Byun toured Lobel’s work at the Mes Hall in Mount Vernon, the former headquarters for the Drip Project, Lobel’s curatorial flagship.
“He had over 100 artists that painted there. I remember walking by this one big mural. It was this giant rabbit with this punk rock anarchist attitude throwing a cigarette butt,” Byun recalled. She invited the curator to check out some shows at 3RD Ethos. Lobel kept coming back for the quality and variety of work shown at 3RD Ethos, along with their spacious backyard area. Their working relationship sprang from a mutual passion for the gallery itself. Even Flowers Must Die is the third show that Lobel and Byun have worked on together.
Lobel kept coming back for the quality and variety of work shown at 3RD Ethos, along with their spacious backyard area. Their working relationship sprang from a mutual passion for the gallery itself.
“Fast forward a year later, when Harris and I worked on Mathematics 2020 in January,” Byun continued, jumping back into her story. While they were planning that show, Lobel suggested they include a few pieces from Infinite. “I don’t know who Infinite is,” Byun replied. Harris explained that Infinite had painted at the Drip Project. “He sent me a photo of that mural,” Byun continued. It was the mural that had made her pause the day that they’d met. “I was like, ‘I love this mural, and so I think I love this artist.’”
Naturally, Byun was thrilled to host the artist’s first solo show this year as well, but 2020 had other ideas. Together, Byun, Lobel, and Infinite watched the news and kept this show in the back of their minds, periodically touching base to reaffirm their intentions. The issue of business shutdowns was complicated and compounded by Infinite’s residence in Italy. Even Flowers Must Die marks a November return because this team was determined to make their reentrance on their own terms.
The issue of business shutdowns was complicated and compounded by Infinite’s residence in Italy. Even Flowers Must Die marks a November return because this team was determined to make their reentrance on their own terms.
Infinite was a nineties baby born to the Dolomites Mountain range in Northeastern Italy. At eighteen, he moved to Milan to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited with institutions like the Project For Empty Space (US), Lankay Gallery / Luxun Academy of Fine Arts (CHN), Satellite Art Show (US), Super+Centercourt (AU), and Atelier Galliani (IT). The artist created this body of work showing at 3RD Ethos over the last two years.
Speaking from his experiences with graffiti bombing and the Northern Italian squatting movement, Infinite allowed, “there is a lot of urban influence in my artistic practice, especially when we are speaking about drawings and paintings.”
The artist noted that the title Even Flowers Must Die “is a personal Memento Mori.” Infinite continued, “The society in which we live is extremely violent and immature, the system itself is violent, and we (all of us) are accepting it every day passively and without resistance.”
“The society in which we live is extremely violent and immature, the system itself is violent, and we (all of us) are accepting it every day passively and without resistance.”
While his perspective has its own purposes, Infinite is beyond the impulse to influence others. “I don’t think artists, as figures, can have control of the outcome of the responses around their work,” he explained. “Also, my practice is divided into different aspects. In this case, I think the contemplation of the image is an important thing for the viewer to get what is there for them.”
He continued, “in other contexts of my work, I’ve focused more on video and installation-based works, approaching more on politics and society’s contradictions. In this case, I am trying to drive the audience to a more specific range of feelings: from rage to disappointment or an uncomfortable environment.”
“It’s very political,” Lobel weighed in during a separate interview. “It’s always based around an animal, which I enjoy as well. “
“It’s always based around an animal, which I enjoy as well. “
Lobel elaborated, “It’s got a strong message. It’s graffiti. It’s in an etching style, which nobody in New York is doing. I haven’t seen anybody painting murals the way this kid does,” with his distinct style and approach of cross hatching. “I think his artwork is definitely relevant with all the nonsense that we’re going through this election. And then it’ll actually have a good impact, especially now that we finally got Trump out of here.”
Lobel noted that the last year has proven tenuous for his curating career, with large opening receptions a thing of the apparent past. Still, he hasn’t felt inspired to explore virtual opportunities. “It just lacks substance. You just don’t get the complete feel,” Lobel remarked. “unless you’re actually going to buy, you lose the experience. I don’t get to feel the artwork. I want to stand in front of a piece and see the strokes and see the paint drops, I want to see everything.”
Lobel noted that the last year has proven tenuous for his curating career, with large opening receptions a thing of the apparent past. Still, he hasn’t felt inspired to explore virtual opportunities
Even Flowers Must Die wants to embody the best of the new normal — this 2020 world where we’ve learned our lessons. Back last Spring, we all promised to take things slow, to prioritize, to stop and smell the roses. Well, Byun, Lobel, and Infinite are doing that, giving this show the proper temporal space to unfold on its own terms. Byun noted that she’s had a drawing that Infinite did of Phase Two hanging in the gallery since their 2020 Mathematics show and that it routinely captured viewers’ attention.
“Let’s just have one good, great, fantastic art show and then call it instead of doing a lot and trying to catch up or something,” Byun said. “You should just do what you like.” This was her biggest quarantine insight she’s taking into the new normal. “Put your energy and work into something that you believe in.”