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Cyop & Kaf chased by Doctor Parmigiano

Who are Cyop & Kaf? Maybe someone knows them, maybe not, but they are two young Neapolitan artists who from a long time cover the city walls with their obsessive images. In fact, they are famous because of these pictorial provocations signed with their nom de plum under which they hide their true identity. Since today they open a personal exhibition called “Diniego” (Denial) at Madre museum, I tried to investigate about and contact them, a very difficult operation since they are afraid to be constantly shadowed by a Digos detective, doctor Parmigiano, because of some subversive content of their works. So I decided to ask in community centres where I could find them, and I obtained a nocturnal and thrilling date with them, at Secondigliano metro station. While I was out there, the cold and a sort of fog made me reflect about the inspiration these two artists get from the night, to paint such things as coffins and to subtly think about the funerals costs. Now it seems funny to talk about it, but while I was waiting there, I started to think about some horror movies, from George Romero to Tim Burton, and I almost thought that the guard who came to me to ask my name was a zombie. Then, after more or less ten minutes, I saw two figure slide stealthily towards me and, seeing the brushes in their bags, I soon understood they were Cyop & Kaf. Their look surprised me, I imagined they were two kids, normal kids, and instead there were a midget with a big nose wearing a jacket with a bushy fur and a beanpole with a scar that cut his forehead above two restless and sardonic eyes.
«Is it you?», they asked me. «It’s me», I replied a bit awkward. «And we are us», concluded the midget, immediately setting off towards the back of the little station. I followed them while I was still asking «Who is Cyop, who is Kaf?», but I shut up when the beanpole burst up: «Knowing it, will change your life?». After some noise of a bolt a door opened on the interior, «Passe-partout» smiled the midget, pushing the door and showing me a key, and after a second we were in the deepest dark, two restless eyes moving at my side. Following their sniggering, fast, we came out on the station platform, finally there was some light, and there the beanpole (it was Cyop, as the other one called him) jumped on the rails, grabbed the midget and pulled him under, waving at me to join them. Running on the rails, we made hundreds of meters, leaving behind the sleeping train, ready to go at dawn. When I realized that we were entering the cold, dark, and slimy tunnel, I asked them where they would want to go. Coming near to me, the midget (so it was Kaf) explained himself with two eloquent gestures «Here is God, there is the threshold… decide». Curiosity, that killed the cat but not the leopard, convinced me to go on, and only after twenty minutes at a cracking pace my two guides stopped and Cyop decided: «Well, we are into nothing». Then since, he explained to me, nothing isn’t useful to anybody, that was the right occasion to put art in its right place. «We are tired to walk, escape and hide… until now we didn’t find our inspiration at home, but wandering. But what a struggle. Look at him», he told, maybe indicating the midget but forgetting we were in the dark, «by dint of running he’s wearing thin». I realized where he was leading up to, he was justifying himself of the exhibit they would make at Madre museum one week later, they, two wandering scoundrels cured by institutions. «It’s sure that, in your case», I went along with them, «coupling yourselves with the Madre (Mother) you don’t risk a incest». The joke amused them and, after a moment, Kaf took out a flash light and I could finally see where we were: nowhere. «Above us there are the Seven Buildings of Scampia», Cyop told me. «Do you see those water seepages up there? It’s the tears of the young people who live there, the Camorra decided that all the tenants must smile to demolish the image of a degraded quarter, because it bothers them. So the young people cry at night, in secret, to not risk their life». Kaf was nodding, while he was starting to paint on the wall beside us. «And these moths, see how they are attracted by our flash light?», continued Cyop, «They are their mothers hopes, once they were fireflies». While he was talking, the scar on his forehead was furrowing, I wished he would stop the usual social denunciation rant about Scampia as soon as possible, as a good Neapolitan I found absurd to bother about ethic while we could go on about aesthetic. Meanwhile, Kaf had oil-painted a beautiful wild-goose, so perfect that it started to squawk and flew away, disappearing in the tunnel meanders. «Now, I do it again… oof!», said the midget, «but this time I’ll give it little wings, so it won’t fly away». But it was too late for him to start painting again, there was a thundering vroom in the tunnel and I feared that it was the first train of the day, so I turned back and in fact I saw a big beam heading fast towards us. «Parmigiano, Parmigiano!», shouted instead the two artists, «Cheese it, cheese it!». It was really the Digos detective, on a fake car, I spotted his round face, smiling because he had caught his walls-wreckers in the act. He would have caught us, on foot we were much slower than him, but the Kaf’s fugitive goose came back to help us. After circling a bit above our head, it slid under and picked up us on its back, going away with a few wings flaps from the fierce persecutor who was left empty-handed once again. In the end, the animal brought us outside, it dumped me at Rione Alto while my two friends continued to fly, disappearing in the dawn light with a shout: «Nobody will believe you, anyway». Maybe they were right. (Maurizio Braucci / Repubblica Napoli, 3rd of February 2007)