Zazzaro Otto

War In Prenzlauer Berg

Works Bio

In this assemblage by the young Italian sculptor Zazzaro Otto two worlds collide. On the one hand there are the anti-tank missiles of the guided missile system HOT, products of military high technology. On the other are the plain ammunition box – with an integrated first aid kit -, pick and spade (for the trenches?) plus a simplistic steering system with turning wheel and cable connection. This „bike“ can hardly be moved, it is just too sluggish.

The work’s title, War in Prenzlauer Berg, locates the object in that Berlin district which once was the domicile of artists and other nonconformists of the GDR; meanwhile, however, the original inhabitants have been replaced almost completely by well-to-do members of the bourgeoisie. In Zazzaro’s words: once a haven of a true alternative way of life, hipster town today.

The vehicle’s color, green, underwent a similar transformation. In the eyes of the artist, he former symbol of a radical pacifist-alternative movement has turned into a basic idea of the liberal middle class, a guideline for political correctness. At the same time the color is very popular with the military: mixed with grey and brown, green adapts perfectly to the natural environment.

As bizarre as this vehicle might appear, there is a core of truth to it. The struggles in our communities are a reality, the much deplored gentrification is just one example. Also, in this context, one is reminded of the proverbial „fighting cyclists“ (Kampfradler). And Zazzaro points to the fact that Germany, where the Greens have been part of governments long since, belongs to the biggest producers and exporters of weapons in the world.

Zazzaro Otto has the impression that armed struggles are an indissoluble feature of mankind. He grew up with his grandfather’s tales from the Second World War: his home country, the Emilia Romagna, was the scene of violent fights between fascists and partisans, finally of the Allied conquest. The GDR steel helmet on the ammunition box, by the way, was already initiated by the Wehrmacht in the 1940s, then brought to series production by the National People’s Army NVA. It is also the aesthetics of war that the artist explores.

What at first glance seems to be just a funny idea is, at closer sight, an intelligent as well as sharp comment by a young Italian on the present Germany and its contradictions. It is about economic and social allocation struggles and ideological air supremacy. And there is also some melancholy: Zazzaro Otto regrets that the impulse of departure and venture, Berlin’s sign after the fall of the wall, vanishes quickly.

Homepage of the artist:



1988born in Sassuolo, Emilia Romagna, Italy
2010started to study art at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, with Prof. Karsten Konrad
2013studied at UdK Berlin, with Prof. Katja Strunz
Assistent in the metall class, UdK Berlin
2014Erasmus Grant at Accademia di Brera, Milan, with Prof. Mauro Folci
2014-16runs the EinMal gallery, Berlin
2016Master student, UdK Berlin, Prof. Katja Strunz
Price of the Ursula-Hanke-Förster-Stiftung

Lives and works in Berlin and Milan.

Exhibitions (selection)

2016The Greatest Nonsense, GlogaurAir, Berlin
Nylon, A Family Business, exhibition of master students, UdK, Berlin (Solo)
Politic(s), 14th Festival of Contemporary Art, Ptuj, Slovenia
What we want, you don’t need, Neu West Berlin, Berlin
2015Boys and Their Toys, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin
Spade da 5, EinMal Temporary Gallery, Modena, Italy (Solo)
2014Dummies Everyone Everything, Projecta Engineeiring, Ubersetto, Modena
Transformation, Quergalerie, Berlin
2013Hit & Run, Kulturforum Schloß, Bielefeld
Quer, Quergalerie, Berlin
2012The Appartment Project, Wrangelstr. 86, Berlin
Kaltschale, Westpol, Leipzig
Things, Schwanzo Kollektiv, Fuori, Festival Filosofia, Modena
SilverScreen, Magazzini Criminali, Ozu film festival, Sassuolo