Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Berlin, and this time featuring Stohead, Christian Bohmer, CTO, David De La Mano, Equipe Fatale, Emmanuel Jarus, Francisco Bosoletti, Fatal, Feser, Herakut, HRVP, Marina Zumi, Marycula, Mimi the Clown, Nafir, Peus, Señor Schnu, sp.38 and Stefan Ways.
Atlantis didn’t arise, as the prophetic clairvoyant Edgar Cayce said it would, but Poseidia certainly did only six months ago here on a Berlin street thanks to Irish Street Artist and fine artist finDAC.
By appropriation and inspiration, her manner and fashion may think she comes forth from the Pacific, this masked muse named Low Flying Angel, but in fact she’s closer to the Atlantic here on the River Bülowstraße. In any case the artist continues his expertise and evolution in rendering the richness of fabrication, volume and subtle textures on his street figures that you may wonder if this is canvas.
The organic nature of art in the streets characterizes the experience in many parts of the city of Berlin – the true roots of D.I.Y. still very much in full effect.
The 1700 square meter artistic space named Urban Spree typifies the unrelenting energy that Berliners invest in the scene, thanks to this compound dedicated to urban culture and subcultures. The multichannel event space in the Friedrichshain district features artist residencies, DIY workshops, exhibitions, concerts, and beer. It’s also slaughtered from top to bottom with aerosol, bucket paint, wheat-pastes, and stickers.
This is a shot of adrenaline that you’ll experience from one large wall at Urban Spree that is completely covered with the cacophony of the moment, an “organic wall” or “magnet wall” boasting hundreds of voices and views all at once; soon to be covered, and recovered with the visual Vox Populi.
What visit to Berlin is complete without a train adorned with a 1UP piece?
Chased since 2003, this anonymous amorphous and acrobatic aerosol crew has a rock -steady habit of getting up and staying up in unusual spots and while waiting for the U3 in Warschaurer station this one rolled in. The bright canary U-Bahn has nary a graffiti piece, so we were surprised to see this for a minute, before it rolled away.
Urban Nation’s fallen angels looked appropriate as this weekend Berlin commemorated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall.
A Renaissance image recurring in those dark tumultuous paintings, Abrahamic religions have used the term “fallen angels” to describe those sinning angels who are cast out of heaven. These particular ostracized beauties are unnamed by Julien de Casabianca of the Outings Project who wheatpasted these to precipitate alongside the Bulowstrasse in the Schöneberg district. While orange and red and yellow leaves fell and swirled through the air of Berlin streets the crisp air and sunlight made this dark scene less harrowing, even hopeful.
That’s how curator Yasha Young began the UN Biennale in Berlin this month. A fantasy-infused ramble through a future jungle teeming with dark pop goth and an animated gorilla, the multi-featured installation by the outgoing Creative Director was meant to pose questions about a possible future, or many possible futures on an Earth deeply scarred, reclaiming itself from man/womankind’s folly.
Spread along a 100-meter path and teeming with small surprise exhibits popping from the savage magic of two-day overgrowth, the installation appeared to take inspiration, at least in part, from the wildly successful Berlin exhibition two years ago called, “The Haus”, by a trio called Die Dixons. That one featured 175 artists creating immersive, site-specific futurist/fantasy installations on the five floors of a former bank – inviting dance troops and performances and thousands who cued for hours around the block.
One of artists at UN’s “ROBOTS AND RELICS: UN-MANNED”, Herakut, was also in the Haus exhibition and here under the roaring U-Bahn on Bülowstraße produces one of the best synthesis of technology and fantasy. Their sculptural painted theatrical character of Mother Nature is straight from a childs’ imagination, blinking eyes forming a blue inquisitive aura around its visage.
No doubt many visitors winding through this late summer wildness were feeling quizzical to one another, confronting the various staged scenarios by 27 artists and asking “what if…”. Perhaps a lush and greener version of the traveling “29 Rooms” selfie house we saw in Brooklyn a few years ago, this one blended themes of post-disaster with a glistening dark leafy future girded with idiosyncracies and Hans Ruedi Giger airbrushed human/machines locked in biomechanical reverie.
carry us off into barren deserts with relics of human existence,” says the
press release, “colorfully patterned
animals in overgrown areas as well as spherical light worlds.”
BSA is in Berlin again to help an
international grassroots Street Art effort like the Paste Up festival this
September. Open to artists around the world, the event is organized by artist
Senor Schnu – who is providing this platform that encourages artists who work
in the medium of paper to submit work for the Berlin to paste up – even if you
don’t live in Berlin.
Drop off your work if you live nearby, or
mail it to:
Come to the opening on September 6, 2019 (beginning at noon (12 Uhr)) to paste up your work or assist to paste up the work of your international brothers and sisters. The festival is supported by @kultur_spaeti @deinestadtklebt.de and @bkstreetart. The event is organized by artist @senor_schnu.
Many images this week are from our short visit to Querétaro, Mexico this week – where, among other things, we saw first hand many of the murals mounted by the festival Nueve Arte Urbano over the past few years. Each festival around the world is unique to its local culture – with the possible exception of the highly commercial ones that are self-styling as a franchise of cool McArt dipped in tangy “Street” flavored sauce. We had a good survey of this mural/street art/graffiti scene in the context of Mexico’s historic mural masters, and a true sense of how counterculture can be embraced by so-called “mainstream” culture for the betterment of both.
short, the DNA of this festival is not about self-promotion but engaging
community in meaningful dialogue, respecting tradition of indigenous culture,
and embracing the modern day rebels who have brought art to the streets in
myriad ways. Combined with an unprecedented 101 photo exhibition of graffiti,
Street Art, and urban culture mounted on the streets that was too meta for our
brains, we saw people walking the walk, not just talking the talk. We only wish
we had more time, and a drone!
Additionally this week we have a few more favorite shots from a quick trip to Berlin last week. Berlin is basically Brooklyn’s sister city and it was also in the full throes of Spring, with long lines at the all-night dance clubs way after the sun came up. This weekend it looks like Brooklyn is warming up too – almost beer garden time!
Until then, let’s head over to Bamonte’s for a vodka martini with the fine men and women of what’s left of Italian American Williamsburg here in Brooklyn. This is an institution that’s 119 years old lined with framed photos of famous Italian Americans and celebrities who ate there like Telly Savalas and that guy from the Sopranos!
No music, only the clinking of glasses and animated storytelling and some people who may have been dining here when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn – all eating lobster tails, shrimp cocktail, clams oreganata, iceberg lettuce salads, pastas, meat balls, fish, sautéed porkchops, scalloped potatoes, green beans, chicken parmesan, and blueberry pie or tiramisu. Okay it’s not five star, you big hotshot, but it’s at least as good as your Aunt Rosa’s kitchen, amiright? Bamontes not good enough for you now, you big Broccolini?
And the portions, my god, you won’t need to eat again
until Good Friday.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 007, 1UP Crew, Calladitos, City Kitty, Clown Soldier, CS SZYMAN, Deih XLF, drsc0, Ger-Man, La Madriguera Grafica, Mantra, Nespoon, Paola Delfin, Santiago Savi, Victor Lopez, and Voxx Romana.
Berlin streets are regularly teeming with the Vox Graffiti in shouting chaotic profusion – and have been for decades. The bubbling laughing raging hordes proffer a visual conversation that often roars, and you’ll have to yell to get your voice above the rest.
1UP and Berlin Kidz are two of the graffiti crews who reliably blast out their viewpoint, each with a uniquely unmistakable cadence and flair. This week one gilded the urban stage while the other was transformed upon it by British guest star Fanakapan with a ringing whoop, and with the angelic welcome of Alanis at the entrance, the Frühling party of Berlin is in full bloom.
Set upon a newly opened urban arena in Kreuzberg (thanks to the demolishing of a building adjacent to it) the actual bubble letters that distinguish the guileful Londoners’ letter style now rise above the rubble with multi-colored glee. Spelling out the 1UP letters in a way they never could, his interpretative take is framed by two runners of Berlin Kidz translation of Pichaçao-style colored cryptic tagging.
“As one can imagine this was just to good to be true,” says Sam Walter of YAP Productions, the organizers and facilitators of the lift and permissions. “Yes we did have problems with a security and also police since we had no official paper which gave us permission for the wall – but we got a couple of confirmations via phone calls,” he says with all the reassuring confidence of a Cheshire cat .
Together with the rest of the steel-spined-velvet-clad YAP posse, the 1UP crew and Fanakapan were celebrating on this vast muddy lot ringed in concertina wire as the sun set one night this week. Word spread quickly and the reunion at the wall felt like 50% Graffiti God magic mixed with 110% adrenaline helping everyone ignore the psychotic spring weather that warms you one minute and converts you into a popsicle the next.
The original motivation for the collaboration is based on an one-year-old idea between 1UP and Fanakapan, says Sam, “bringing those beautiful, shiny, giant 7-meter “1UP’ letters. These are young artists who take on a lot of risk to push the graffiti culture beyond its boundaries.”
“No animals, plants or 1UPs were harmed during this production,” quips the charismatic cultural curator and YAP team member Denis Leo Hegic as he texts process shots of the wall to the squad as the secret/public wall goes up.
“1UP carries the zeitgeist of Berlin out into the world like no other contemporary collective. The DNA of the crew is rooted in the streets of Kreuzberg, but the group also developed into a global family,” he says. The statement is only partial bravado, as a serious graffiti head in many cities will be able to tell you a rooftop, elevator, or train line that they’ve seen hit by the amorphous and amazingly anonymous crew that seems to shape shift and reconstitute itself – evidenced here where their enormous tag is painted by another artist entirely.
BSA: Is this a tribute piece to 1UP or is it a collaboration? Denis Leo Hegic: It’s gravity graffiti. Collaborative and collective work is already included in their spirit “one united power”. Fanakapan managed to portray it in such a powerful and gravity defying way and gave us the largest 1UP letters hovering weightlessly over Berlin. 1UP is a ubiquitous tag in Berlin. You can’t help but be aware of it.
BSA: Did the authorities take any interest in visiting the site when Fanakapan was painting the tag, perhaps thinking that it was actually 1UP painting? Denis Leo Hegic: We had quite an interaction with the local law enforcement. However, all the officers that appeared on site were being alarmed by other people and did not come on their own initiative.
BSA: How did you get permission to paint on this wall? Denis Leo Hegic: Through the intelligence of many. We managed to thrill lots of good, curious and courageous people who made everything possible: from a large wall in the center of Kreuzberg to the entire production. Fanakapan was extremely motivated and he literally blew those balloons up the wall.
BSA: Previously there was a building in front of the current wall. Now the whole wall is fully exposed, showing fully the long-running Alanis angel piece. Was any consideration given to the Alanis piece while planning the 1UP piece?
Denis Leo Hegic: Absolutely. I hate when some people say “curating a wall” or “curating a mural” – that’s such utter nonsense! How can one person possibly “curate” one single painting on one single wall? However, this wall succeeded to curate itself naturally. It’s a great composition with the two vertical stripes by Berlin Kidz on each side of the piece and being held by the Alanis angel from the ground. With Fanakapan’s addition of the 1UP bubble tag it became a marvelous “Kreuzberger Mischung” (Kreuzberg Mixture).
It was a name used by my mother when I was growing up,” says the British Street Artist as he talks about his new mural for Urban Nation in Berlin. “She used to call my sister Fanny Fanakapan – it was just sort of a term of endearment,” he says.
It’s a cold/rainy/sunny/windy/calm Monday and we’re in the thick of Aprilwetterhere at the end of March, and Fannakapan is stirring old memories to recall his entirely unusual name for Nika Kramer, the photographer who has captured these shots.
“I know there was this song made in wartime by a lady named Gracie Fields about a useless man named Fred Fanakapan, he says. “So it’s been stuck in my head from a very early age. I always had tag names that were sort of something to do with my family – like the name I had before this was TRIPE because my granddad used to say “that’s a load of tripe!” – which refers to a cow’s stomach.”
The new mural, part of the ongoing “One Wall” program by UN, features his signature chrome texture – this time as a heart shaped balloon. He tells Nika why he’s positioned the cartoon character Snoopy, based on the Charles Schultz comic strip, looking quizzically at his own reflection in the balloon.
He says that with this mural he is actually giving a tribute to his own dog, which he credits with giving him love and support during a tough time in his life.
is kind of dedicated to her. At the time I was quite unhappy and she cheered me
right up so basically I say that I believe in dog. I called the piece “Believe
talks more about the two dimensional dog quizzically gazing up at the balloon
and points out that the background is taken directly form the location. “I took the
photographs next to the wall so it’s reflecting the trees and the buildings
around it. When I do that I think it always makes the
local people appreciate it more to see their street reflected in something.”
Our special thanks to Nika Kramer for sharing her talents with BSA readers here.
now lets sit down to the Victrola to listen to the original song
about Fred Fannakapan by that inimitable Lancaster lassie, Ms. Gracie Fields.
“Catastrophe or salvation?” asks Various and Gould. “Being offline is scary and disastrous to most of us, however for some of us it might evoke the feeling of freedom through digital detox.”
A departure from their typical work and on-the-street installations, the Berlin duo are taking over advertising spaces and bus shelters with images of broken, smashed crystals of digital phones. The smart phone displays are transferred using the venerable intaglio print technique at a large scale, transforming the shattered smart phone displays into works of art.
“We love the beauty and the random and unique structure of the damaged displays,” they tell us of the new works that are illuminated from behind and contain none of the typical insignia or clever ad copy that evoke desire in consumers.
Perhaps more subtle than the activist messages of other hi-jackers of private ad space in public space, these images of brokenness are meant to draw our attention to the fragility of our devices as well as our tenuous connection to the ephemeral information we so greedily consume from them daily.
Not only are these broken screens, they indirectly could be interpreted as a critique of our broken social scenes that have been shattered and fragmented by our slavish reliance on these small glowing rectangles.
Part of a campaign they entitle simply, “Broken Screens” the two say we could stand to consider the power we have given to our smart phones – a charge which may seem obvious but we may actually overlook.
“It also discloses the flaws of these devices, which we use every day almost 24/7 and which we carry around on every occasion,” they say. “The project really attracts us, having raw destruction and dysfunction as a starting point.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Escif: Magic Piano 2. Adele Renault: St+Art India. Lodhi Art Festival 2019 3. Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean Museum 4. OS Gemeos: Flying Steps at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin
BSA Special Feature: Escif: Magic Piano
Spanish Street Artist Escif creates a museum installation that uses irony, sarcasm, and deep truths that we’re not always ready to see.
By hi-jacking some of the current interactive nomenclature enabled by augmented/mixed realities and the normalizing of tablet use, he alerts viewers to the connection of age-old mineral mining that is just as contemporary as the hi-tech gadgetry many have embraced.
Since you can use the device to contemplate human suffering and make music, it is an indictment of modern attitudes that dehumanize and turn real stories into a video game.
From the artist:
“Coltan is a mineral, found specially in eastern Congo, used to make cells and computer chips. Violent rebel groups are exploiting coltan mining to help finance a bloody civil war which is now in its 12th year.
The link between the bloodshed and coltan is causing alarm among high-tec manufacturers slowly they are beginning to realise that their products may contain the tainted fruits of civil war. Since the outbreak of fighting in august 1998: an estimated 5.4 million people have died; 45.000 continue to die each month; Children account for 47% of these deaths.
Magic Piano is a music installation. With the help of a tablet (that obviously contains coltan) you will be able to play the piano. Use the device to navigate on the wall. When you pass on the screen over a charater, a sound will be activated. If you push the character with your finger a sound loop will be activated. You will also activate the animation of each character.”
Adele Renault: St+Art India. Lodhi Art Festival 2019
“It lacks all the give and the breath of fresh art,” the
bespectacled art critic intones with all the weight of a final damnation.
“We need haters out there. They are affirmations that we’re doing something right,” says the streetwise pop star with clever sunnies and sans big hat.
Taking a break from the Banksy beat, Doug appears to put forth that supposition that Jeff Koons is proving once again that as long as you are a white guy and you reference European art history you are 80% on your way as an artist whose work will be collected and exhibited.
OS Gemeos: Flying Steps at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin
A splendid hybrid that sends heartbeats racing, even
involuntarily, here is a trailer for Flying Steps and Os Gemeos as they interpret
“Pictures at an Exhibition”, the famous piano composition that has become a
showpiece for virtuoso pianists. Good to see museums of contemporary art truly
stretching, redefining the street and Street Art.