From Italy to Belgium

Street art exported from Florence and Milan

Oreste Giacche'
December 4, 2014

Most visitors to Florence come to see the city’s famed Renaissance art. One visitor, Eric van Esser, owner of the Cappelleschi Gallery, who splits his time between his homeland, Belgium, and Italy, visits the city with a much different mission: he comes to Florence and other Italian cities in search of artists with fresh perspectives. And he has found them in four street artists, Exit/Enter, Blub, Clet and UrbanSolid, artists who have all made a considerable visual impact on cities around Europe. Van Esser’s gallery, located in the well-known Belgian seaside town of Knokke-Heist, is currently hosting The Top of Italian Street Art, an exhibition of street art from Florence and Milan featuring their works. Importantly, the work on display is the actual art, not photographs or reproductions. (The exhibition runs to January 4 but may be extended: for details see



Those familiar with Florence’s city center know the stylized omini or ‘little men,’ going about their business. Hard to miss, Enter/Exit’s stick figures are frequently seen chasing balloons, floating on hearts, climbing ladders, flying away or trying to reach an ‘exit.’ The artist has explained that his name is a working title, as other words such as love, free or fly also appear frequently in his work. He chose the name because, to him, it signifies that there is an exit out of every thought, with an entry leading to a new one: life is a continuous sequence of situations and scenarios.




Blub, l’arte sa nuotare

The mysterious street artist Blub leaves his or her mark throughout Florence and Rome and elsewhere in Europe, such as London and cities in Spain and now Belgium. Blub’s ongoing project, l’arte sa nuotare (‘art knows how to swim’), depicts characters culturally relevant to the city the artist is in, celebrating cinema, music and fashion in a way that is both recognizable and accessible. It has been speculated that in these pieces, with water symbolizing the difficulties posed by the art world, Blub’s message is that to overcome them, an artist needs to get a mask and learn to swim. In this exhibition, Blub presents pieces that pay tribute to such Belgian icons as Magritte, Jacques Brel and the young musician Stromae. Read more about Blub at





This Brittany-born street artist came to Italy 18 years ago and has been an active street artist ever since. After moving from Rome to Florence in 2005, he began working with road signs and other installations. Read more about Clet at





In 2009, two graduates of Milan’s Accademia di Brera formed UrbanSolid. Once aspiring writers, the duo is now dedicated bringing a revitalizing element to Italian street art. By situating their work in open-air spaces, they hope that people will react to and build a relationship with the art while in the course of everyday life. In speaking about the exhibition, UrbanSolid said that they find beauty in the interconnectedness of being from Milan, being discovered in Florence and now displaying their work in Belgium.



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