This week BSA is in Moscow with you and Urban Nation for Artmossphere 2016, the 2nd Street Art Biennale, a group exposition introducing 26 Russian and 42 foreign artists who were shaped by street art in some way. Also present are international curators, museums and galleries who have significantly intersected with urban art in recent years.
Startlingly similar in theme to the multidisciplinary exhibit about borders and boundaries curated by Raphael Schacter this spring in St. Petersburg, Artmossphere has asked artists to think about and address the “invisible walls” in contemporary life and societies.
Li-Hill. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The themes are understandable of course, and perplexing to us all as walls are falling down rapidly while the foundations of new ones are taking shape. Catalyzed perhaps by the concept/practice of so-called “globalization” – where capital flows easily and humans are restricted – we are all examining the walls that are directing our lives.
Artist Li-Hill says his piece “Guns, Germs, and Steel” directly relates to the divisions between civilizations due to a completely uneven playing field perpetuated through generations. Inspired by the 1997 trans-disciplinary non-fiction book by Jared Diamond, Li-Hill says he combines it with pieces by the Russian sculptural group called “The Horse Tamers”. Together the forms represents mankind’s “ability to harness power of the natural world and to be able to manipulate it for its advantage.”
Wes21. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“The horse is one of the largest signifiers and is a catalyst for advancement in society because it has been for military use, for agriculture, for transportation,” he says.
“It was the most versatile of the animals and the most powerful.” Here he painted a mirror image, balanced over a potential microbial disaster symbol, and he and the team are building a mirrored floor to “give it this kind of infinite emblem status.”
Pink Power. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
With 60+ artists working simultaneously throughout this massive hall, walls are the imperative for displaying art, supporting it, dividing it. Many are being built in this exhibition hall as we speak. These are the visible ones. With so many players and countries represented here, one can only imagine that there are a number of invisible walls present as well.
Afloat in the middle of some of these walled areas M-City from Poland is choosing to be more direct thematically in his three dimensional installation of plywood, plaster, aerosol and bucket paint, and machine blown insulation.
M.City. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“It is an anti-war piece,” he says, and he speaks about the walls between nations and sense that it is a losing battle of dominance that ensures everyone will be victim.”
“It’s kind of a monster who destroys arms,” he says of the lording figure who crushing tanks below. “He is destroying the tanks – but at the same time he is also a destroyer. So it’s a big circle. Nothing positive can come out of this. There is always someone bigger.” M-City tells us that the piece is inspired by the political situations in Europe today and the world at large.
Remi Rough work in progress. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
For our part, we’re impressed by how quickly these walls are going up and the relative calm that the teams of artists and installers are working under, even as the deadline of the opening of this years’ Artmossphere draws perilously close.
See you tomorrow!
L’Atlas. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Krzysztof “Proembrion” Syruc. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Johannes Mundinger. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Galo. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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