Payshay Fraysko (Genoa, Italy) was founded by Antonio Ricci and Gino Lucetti, graphic-design students at the University of Genoa, on the occasion of the 2001 Group of Eight Conference. It is primarily a political organization, committed to the radical ideals of left-wing anarchy. To make money to support it activities, it sells copies of its posters and an array of hand-made multiples at art fairs.
According to Ricci, Payshay Fraysko -- originally founded as Fresh Affiche -- probably would not have outlasted the G8 Conference if not for the murder of his friend Carlo Giuliani by Italian police during the protests. Ricci watched from afar as an officer shot Giuliani and then another ran his body over with a Land Rover. The tragedy left an idelible mark on Ricci. And so to avenge his friend's death, he vowed to forever fight what he sees as "that rabid dog behind the benign mask of Global Capitalism."
For the first few years, Ricci and Lucetti engaged in web-based pamphleteering, postering, and grassroots organizing. In 2004, with a growing following, they opened a community center in a warehouse they had squatted near Genoa's waterfront. There they presented workshops, concerts, classes, and a remarkable line-up of lectures by such notables as Bob Avakian (US Communist Party), Antonio Negri (sociologist and philosopher), and Christiane Taubira (French Socialist politician). They also used it as a base for more clandestine activities. In 2008, when a strike organized by the Italian General Federation of Labor turned violent, Genoa authorities raided Payshay Fraysko's warehouse and shut it down.
The posters of Payshay Fraysko aren't particularly original. Often, their designs simply update well-known Atelier Populaire (Popular Workshop) images from May 1968. Moreover, their use of faux-silk-screened fonts and red-ink almost borders on the cliche'. Lucetti says design originality is of little concern to them. "When people see our posters, we want them to recognize something familiar. We also want them to be reminded that our struggle is part of a long history of struggle."
This exhibition presents a selection of the posters and benefit multiples. The posters are alternately branded with the names Payshay Fraysko (phonetic for "pesce fresco" or "fresh fish" in Italian) and Fresh Affice ("affiche" being the French word for poster). Payshay Fraysko has operated under both names. The unbranded multiples are of two kinds: desktop picture-frames with their glasses shattered, and twisted and crinkled abstract aluminum-foil figurines adorned with red-bead necklaces. These have become so popular in Europe that Payshay Fraysko is several months behind on orders.
From the exhibition: "Costume Jewelry that Scratches the Skin"
Pictured above: Founders Antonio Ricci and Gino Lucetti