All posts tagged: Anders Gjennestad

Strøk in Studio: Isometric Figures, Stencils, and Old Doors in Berlin

Strøk in Studio: Isometric Figures, Stencils, and Old Doors in Berlin

Strøk! If you can say it you should shout it!

And you’ll have to shout it if you want Street Artist Anders Gjennestad to hear you from his perch 60 meters high above you upon the The Victory Column. Berliners call the bronze woman at the center of this six lane traffic circle Victoria, and Strøk has climbed the 282 steps up a spiral staircase to sit at her feet many times to shoot his models down below.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I like to shoot there because it’s very open and you can move around and there are shadows going in many directions throughout the day,” he says as he shows you images of his subject on the ground on his computer back in the studio. “ He moved and then the shadows are going the other direction- the sun stays there quite late so it’s nice. You pay like three Euros to get in there but its usually not that busy.”

Sequestered in a high ceilinged room of a former school on a sleepy street in the city, the Norwegian transplant has found his home in Berlin for the last few years and he gladly shows you around recent stencils, his custom tilted cutting desk, a crushed car hood now readymade sculpture/wall hanging, and stacks of old heavy doors that he’ll be painting on sooner than later.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“All of these doors are taken from abandoned houses,” he says amidst stories of urban and ex-urban adventures with friends on the margins of the city spray painting and salvaging.

“We rent a van and I go with my neighbor and bring all the power tools and batteries,” he says of the work that sounds a little like the harvesting he must have done back home on the farm in Norway. It occurs to you that the recycling of materials is also very ‘green’.

“Yeah we put on a fluorescent jacket and a little helmet,” he says as he shows you weathered and deteriorated slabs of wood with occasional metal moldings or hinges, patterns and markings. Like this one he found in a dumpster.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I also just find things on the street like this one that a carpenter has used as a cutting board under his work. It has all these handwritten measurements on it – these are good canvasses as well. It wouldn’t be so interesting for me to paint it out of fresh canvas,” he pauses. “That’s why I am a fresh garbage collector.”

The deep baritone and thick shaggy mop add to the story as he narrates his way around the studio and a fall breeze wafts in through the casement windows that remind him of his early days shooting models out of them to the sidewalk a few floors below. His unique technique of capturing movement from above and transforming it isometrically onto other planes has distinguished his street works in countries like Lebanon, Portugal, Taiwan, Iceland, France, Denmark, Italy, and others.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It has also brought his figures that are barely tethered to the ground except by their shadows to private collections and gallery shows like his most recent solo exhibition “Gravity” at Galerie Friedmann-Hahn here this summer.

A single image may result from 1,000 photos, he says, all shot overhead with an eye for unusual bending and foreshortening and a surprise. He used to shoot friends or strangers but now more often hires a model and gives them scenarios over the phone from above.

“I have an idea and I ask him to do things,” he says, “but it’s more of the stuff that they do in between when they’re not thinking about it that I find most interesting.” He walks over to a new piece with a figure in a striped shirt, his head obscured and his limbs hanging off the edge of the board that he is using as canvas. “Like this guy putting on his sweater. That was something I didn’t think about before I saw the photos. And I think that’s interesting. So I like stuff that just happens.”

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: So it’s the unscripted moment that you are looking for?
Strøk: I try not to give too much direction anyway. I’m always kind of up in the tower and then I called him and I told him to do some things. But it’s the in between things when he is doing things that I didn’t think about or plan I always shoot and then when I come back and look at all the pictures I pick the one that I want.

It is a cyclical pattern he describes as his life in between special sculptural projects or commissioned installations; Salvaging garbage, shooting models, cutting stencils, spraying new canvasses.

“If I had a normal job I would find it hard to justify spending all this time digging in bins and finding garbage, dressing up like a construction worker-and cutting stuff off the walls,” he says with a satisfied expression.

“I love doing all of that and I like to paint so it’s good to have those two interests tied together.”

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad: A Door as “Canvas”

Anders Gjennestad: A Door as “Canvas”

A door as canvas. A door as canvas.

It sounds the same on the street as it does in the gallery space, and for Norwegian Street Artist Anders Gjennestad the two appear nearly identical, aside from context.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Whether he is discovering the neglected urban factory door long after the spirit of industry has roared its last turbine and reaching toward his backpack for a spraycan, or he is hoisting a piece out from the pile of collected iron-bound wooded slabs in his Berlin studio, functionally each of these doors is a canvas.

Every urban explorer sees the potential of walls that are long abandoned and spoiled with rot and piss and pushed open by weeds, worn away by rain. The world is a temporary place anyway. I am only here temporarily.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

This cavorting, twisting, athletic dance with long shadows by men in hooded sweatshirts is a flicker across the canvas that you catch from the corner of your eye as your life dances by. His stenciled figures are expressive, interactive, fully alive, kinetic in spirit – singular and plural.

The symmetry and rythmic action is sport and performance and energetic expression across this patinaed, warped wood; this oxidized and oddly puckered and heavy iron and brick.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Step many paces back from the aged factory wall and your perspective has been altered and the burr bushes and Bishop’s weed and crumbled concrete rubble you are standing in are strangely moved, even moving. Staring at his figures as they run diagonally up and across the entire expanse of a massive wall you realize he has tilted them along an axis in such a way and at such a scale that your own feet may be on a plane that is perpendicular to their ground, and you may fall.

You too have begun to dance to Anders’ optics, a figure in his urban choreography, and you too can take flight before gravity pulls you downward, as it will.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

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“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

An unusual amalgam of the interactivity of the street combined with the formality of a gallery environment, Magic City opened this fall in a converted factory in Dresden, Germany with an eclectic selection of 40+ artists spanning the current and past practices of art in the street.

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Skewville. Children enjoying Skewville’s “tete-a-tete” shopping cart. Ernest Zacharevic’s mobile in the background. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With revered culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick at the helm alongside curator Ethel Seno, the richly marbled show runs a gamut from 70’s subway train writers and photographers like Americans Daze, Henry Chalfant, and Martha Cooper to the Egyptian activist Ganzeer, Italian interventionist Biancoshock, popagandist Ron English, and the eye-tricking anamorphic artist from the Netherlands, Leon Keer.

Veering from the hedonistic to the satiric to head-scratching illusions, the collection allows you to go as deep into your education about this multifaceted practice of intervening public space as you like, including just staying on the surface.

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Ernest Zacharevic mobile with a “listening station” on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s not an easy balance to strike – some of these artists have heavy hearts and withering critiques of human behaviors and institutional hypocrisies ranging from 1st World treatment of refugees to celebrity culture to encroaching surveillance on individual rights, government oppression, and urban blight.

Magic City doesn’t try to shield you from the difficult topics, but the exhibition also contains enough mystery, fanboy cheer, eye candy and child-like delight that the kids still have plenty of fun discoveries to take selfies with. We also saw a few kissing couples, so apparently there is room for some romance as well.

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 A visitor to Magic City enjoys a “listening station”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We believe that even the typical city is uncommon, and that the idiosyncrasies that make each city unique are collectively something they all have in common,” says McCormick in his text describing the exhibition. “This is then a celebration of the universal character of cities as well as a love letter to their infinite diversity. The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions.”

Of particular note is the sound design throughout the exhibition by Sebastian Purfürst and Hendrick Neumerkel of LEM Studios that frequently evokes an experiential atmosphere of incidental city sounds like sirens, rumbling trains, snatches of conversations and musical interludes. Played at varying volumes, locations, and textures throughout the exhibition, the evocative city soundscape all adds to a feeling of unexpected possibilities and an increased probability for new discovery.

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Olek’s carousel from above. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Obviously this Magic City cannot be all things to all people, and some will criticize the crisp presentation of a notably gritty series of subcultures, or perhaps the omission of one genre or technique or important artist. It’s not meant to be encyclopedic, rather a series of insights into a grassroots art and activism practice that continues to evolve in cities before our eyes.

For full disclosure, we curated the accompanying BSA Film Program for Magic City by 12 artists and collectives which runs at one end of the vast hall – and Mr. Rojo is on the artist roster with 15 photographs of his throughout the exhibition, so our view of this show is somewhat skewed.

Here we share photographs from the exhibition taken recently inside the exhibition for you to have a look for yourself.

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Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A MadC installation made with thousands of spray can caps. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Belgian urban naturalist ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville . ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha Cooper at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Henry Chalfant at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bordalo II (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andy K. detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot with Asbestos on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Replete (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Truly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Leon Keer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. A young visitor enjoying the Kids Trail through a peephole with Jaime’s photos inside an “electrical box”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. The Kids Trail wasn’t only for kids it seems. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton on the right. Olek on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Aiko at the Red Light District. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Full list of participating artists:

Aiko, AKRylonumérik, Andy K, Asbestos, Benus, Jens Besser, Biancoshock, Mark Bode, Bordalo II, Ori Carino & Benjamin Armas, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Isaac Cordal, Daze, Brad Downey, Tristan Eaton, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Fino’91, Ganzeer, Anders Gjennestad, Ben Heine, Herakut, Icy & Sot, Leon Keer, Loomit, MadC, OakOak, Odeith, Olek, Qi Xinghua, Replete, Roa, Jaime Rojo, Skewville, SpY, Truly, Juandres Vera, WENU, Dan Witz, Yok & Sheryo, Ernest Zacharevic.

 

Visit MAGIC CITY DRESDEN for more details, news, videos and the blog.

 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Strøk Strikes a New Angle on His Stencil Figures In Paris

Strøk Strikes a New Angle on His Stencil Figures In Paris

A newly transformed wall in Rue de la Glacière in the 13th Arr. of Paris today from the Norwegian STRØK represents a genuinely new angle for the artist to approach the figure in space. Using his personal photographs taken from the midst of human activity, the stencil artist commands the open space of a wall with figures caught so realistically that you stop for a moment to register what you are seeing on this huge expanse.

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strøk. Detail. In collaboration with Galerie MathGoth. Paris. May 2016. (photo © Strøk)

He told us in Brooklyn a few weeks ago about this new piece he was developing for Paris and how it represents a slightly new direction for him, in a matter of degrees. “It looks like the figures are falling but if you tilt your head then it looks like they standing.”

Currently in the capital to prepare for his new solo show opening June 3rd at Galerie MathGoth, STRØK will undoubtedly be presenting new approaches to his distinct craft as his mind is alive with clever ideas constantly and he’s not afraid of taking chances. Here are some exclusive shots for BSA readers to enjoy.

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strøk. In collaboration with Galerie MathGoth. Paris. May 2016. (photo © Strøk)

See our interview with him a few weeks ago:

STRØK Stencils Ernest Zacharevic Playing in a Brooklyn Doorway

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