All posts tagged: Gola Hundun

GOLA in Genoa, Italy: May the Circle be Unbroken

GOLA in Genoa, Italy: May the Circle be Unbroken

“THE ANCIENT WAY OF THE NEW CIRCLE”

New from Genoa comes this circular system from Gola Hundun, called “The Ancient Way of the New Circle.” 

It is reassuring to consider the systems of our lives and our world as we regard the passing seasons of the year; revisiting, reliving, remeasuring our progress and regress and aspirations.

Gola Hundun. “The Ancient Way Of The New Circle” Genoa, Italy. (photo © Matteo Fontana & Luca Briganti)

Part of a 10 mural program here in the Certosa district, the artist tells us that his painting is meant to “invite people to go back to a circular system.”

“The main character of the wall is Cernunnos,” Gola tells us, “- a mythological creature belonging to the Celtic culture, a symbol of fertility, abundance, manhood and wild nature – painted in the lower part of the wall, highly visible by pedestrians.”

Gola Hundun. “The Ancient Way Of The New Circle” Genoa, Italy. (photo © Matteo Fontana & Luca Briganti)

Gazing upon the natural elements of the composition that include a balance of phytomorphic elements, a tree of life, and a mountain, you can believe that the artist also likes to write poetry when he is in the right mood.

The color scheme may also speak to you as a powerful representation of the natural world, with blue and green being predominant – here surrounded by the harsher city palette of reds, yellows, oranges. Perhaps what hits you the most is a sense of balance that this mural achieves, even if you don’t know why exactly.

Gola Hundun. “The Ancient Way Of The New Circle” Genoa, Italy. (photo © Matteo Fontana & Luca Briganti)
Gola Hundun. “The Ancient Way Of The New Circle” Genoa, Italy. (photo © Matteo Fontana & Luca Briganti)
Gola Hundun. “The Ancient Way Of The New Circle” Genoa, Italy. (photo © Matteo Fontana & Luca Briganti)
Gola Hundun. “The Ancient Way Of The New Circle” Genoa, Italy. (photo © Matteo Fontana & Luca Briganti)
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Guided Flight with Gola Hundun: “Torre di Volo” Land Art in Sardinia

Guided Flight with Gola Hundun: “Torre di Volo” Land Art in Sardinia

When the plants and animals take over again there will still be remnants of you, as they transform your achievements and failures organically en route to natural balance.

Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Eleonora Riab)

The evidence of this eventuality lies not only in our predilection for self-destruction but on the current existence of the 7,000 tower-fortress structures that still dot this island of Sardinia. Time and elements have not destroyed these structures built over a period of 16 centuries – long before the event of Christ’s birth. Today they are remnants, monuments of that Nuragic civilization, but are also home to birds, four legged creatures, insects, grasses, bushes, and trees.

Italian Street Artist, muralist and land artist Gola Hundun thinks of communications towers and overlays them with references of totemic massings, historical human rituals, geographical coordinates, shamanic journeys, and patterns of aviary flight. For this installation called “Torre di volo” (Flight Tower) he also is thinking about guiding birds through controlled space.

Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Eleonora Riab)

“The central element of the installation is inspired by the forms of the flight control towers of the airports,” he says, “a type of architecture that has always fascinated me and had a strong influence on my imagination both aesthetically and poetically.”

Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Eleonora Riab)

Participating in an art residency on the property of the Campidate artists residency (near Monastir), the Italian born millennial finds the support he needs to pursue his natural art-making cycle in an environment that is closest to his personal ethos.

He says that he spotted a bird of prey called a Kestrel inside the Campidarte base buildings and became inspired to imagine himself directing the flight of birds, one further degree of interaction with nature he has pursued for most of his life.

Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Eleonora Riab)

“The installation stands today on a ridge of that land, in an elevated and strategic position, generally loved by birds of prey,” he tells us.

A continuation of a personal artists’ campaign he calls ABITARE that more than contemplates his work as potential habitat, “Torre di volo” will be complete when Gola sees a winged friend entering the doorway of his central tower. He says the entire creation is based on his “desire to create a form capable of hybridizing my fascination for the ancestral totemic verticality and the desire to create a living space easily accessible to certain species and biological niches.”

“From the tower that I interpreted, I hope that in the near future the flight of a bird of prey will begin, allowing us to observe in reality the idea of flying, going and coming back and making the structure itself come alive,” he says. “The occupation of the tower by a bird is part of the idea of the installation and is indispensable for its completion.”

Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Eleonora Riab)
Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Johanna Invrea)
Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Johanna Invrea)
Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Johanna Invrea)
Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Johanna Invrea)
Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Johanna Invrea)
Gola Hundun. Torre di Volo. Campidarte Art Residency. Sardegna, Italy. May 2019. (photo © Johanna Invrea)

For more about Campidarte:

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Gola Hundun Activates on the Precipice of Man and Nature

Gola Hundun Activates on the Precipice of Man and Nature

“Abitare” (To Live In)


Italian Street Artist and urban interventionist Gola Hundun is often thinking about the idea of coexistence and cohabitation between humans and the rest of the natural world. He often looks for that delineation on which to create new art.

Naturally it is performed with a flourish of theatricality.

Gola Hundun. “Abitare”. Rimini, Italy. 2018. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

“I consider these places to be sort of a temple or a monument that speaks about the frontier between human space and the natural one,” he says of this abandoned industrial carcass that is returning back to the earth somewhere around Rimini, Italy.

Here he interacts with the ruins – a formerly useful construction of humans that behaved as if it was not part of nature, possibly in an open attack of nature. Now it looks as if he is introducing it back to the ecosystem it stood amongst and apart from.

Gola Hundun. “Abitare”. Rimini, Italy. 2018. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

“Today it’s clear that human behavior (especially Western humans) that sees us like the dominant species of the world who can manage all resources for our own development and not consider the rest of biosphere – these behaviors have brought the planet on the brink of an Eco-disaster,” he says.

So it is here at the scene of the crime that the forensic detective converts to holy healer, interacting with the ruins and blessing it as it convenes a unique and slow transformation.

This abandoned location is a place where spontaneous growth is happening already,” he tells us. “These places for me are a ready made work of art where I introduce my glorifying theme, trying to bring to light their intrinsic holy aura.”

Gola Hundun. “Abitare”. Rimini, Italy. 2018. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Gola Hundun. “Abitare”. Rimini, Italy. 2018. (photo © Johanna Invrea)

Gola Hundun. “Abitare”. Rimini, Italy. 2018. (photo © Johanna Invrea)

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Italian Street Artist in Navajo Nation: Gola Hundun Finds the Mountain

Italian Street Artist in Navajo Nation: Gola Hundun Finds the Mountain

Today is #indigenouspeoplesday – but of course we talk about them more often than this. The Native American people of the Southwestern United States are called the Navajo, or the Diné. Italian spiritual-cosmologist-naturist Street Artist Gola Hundun spent three days walking in the desert here recently going to the Navajo National Monument and Monument Valley trying to get in touch with the native folks to better understand the culture and the significance of the land itself.

Gola Hundun. The Painted Desert Project. Arizona. July 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

“I tried to combine those two elements with very different weights to generate an united image that would suggest how I feel the heart and the mind of Diné people,” he says as he describes the one story desert mural he ultimately painted with his botanical and natural motifs. Bright and optimistic, the landscape mimics the stunning views that surround and permeate the life here and he says his time here has altered his own vision of reality. The structure itself is classic; a typical abandoned petrol station you’ve probably seen in those road movies.

Gola Hundun. The Painted Desert Project. Arizona. July 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

“The piece represents Navajo Mountain that is in the background,” he says, and the spiritual searcher finds a kinship with traditional Navajo stories about the foundational relevance of the land mass.

“This is the head of their main goddess generator for everything of their world. For me it also includes a reinterpretation of the Hózhó in the middle of the mountain at the top – flowing in spiral way. Hózhó is the bedrock of Navajo religion, which, as I understand it, means it is a combination of existing state of balance, harmony, peace and completeness. They call it walk in beauty.”

Gola Hundun. The Painted Desert Project. Arizona. July 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

The Painted Desert Project, begun here and regularly refreshed by local Street Artist/activist/doctor  Chip Thomas, continues to invite Street Artists from around the world to paint here. The cross-cultural connections have been a boon to greater understanding – and continue to affect the visual experience of riding through this rich landscape.

“I am so glad and grateful to have had the opportunity to be in the Navajo Nation and to try to share my love and respect to these amazing people,” says Gola.

Gola Hundun. The Painted Desert Project. Arizona. July 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

Gola Hundun. The Painted Desert Project. Arizona. July 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)


Gola Hundun would like to thank his host Chip Thomas @jetsonorama. He would also like to thank @danieljosley and @ballroomdaze for helping him realize this piece and his adventure there. “A special thanks to all the native and non-native people that helped me on this trip and helped me see reality with a different point of view.”

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Gola Hundun Brings Botanicals and Bees to Paris

Gola Hundun Brings Botanicals and Bees to Paris

Now that we have had our longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and Solstice has stirred libidos, plunging us into midnight runs through abandoned lots and local parks and naked splashing in the fountains, we leave our cities for something more botanical. It’s instructive that despite the many wonders of the built urban environment, most city dwellers find life incomplete without grasses, flowers, leaves, honey bees.

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

Street Artist Gola Hundun is fully immersed in nature with this 6 story open atrium he has just painted in the Parisian Hôtel Le Belleval and it may set your senses buzzing as well. Carefully planned and executed according to an order that mimics the natural one, these botanicals spring from the Gola well, which runs quite deep, if you are asking.

Not quite outside, and not quite in, the fresco mimics the evolution of previous works by this Italian-born Ambassador for Earth and All Her Creatures and Energies. Hopefully the hotel’s patrons will look up from their screens and glasses of Rosé to see the birds and bees, because without them we are nothing.

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

Gola Hundun. “The Bee”. Paris, France. June 2018. (photo © Lucas Barioulette)

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Gola: Fresh Canvasses from “7.6 BILLION AND STILL GROWING”

Gola: Fresh Canvasses from “7.6 BILLION AND STILL GROWING”

 

Back in February we gave you a sneak peak at Gola Hundun’s preparations for his new show inspired by Earth’s population and our individual and industrial impact on the balance of the environment.

Gola Hundun. “Anthropocene” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Today we have the completed canvasses, which you can see in person should you find yourself lost in Queensland, Australia. Entitled “7.6 Billion and Still Growing”, the show features organic fern and form, an ample layering of motifs and washes in an almost decorative vein, each an emotional distillation of larger systemic challenges. His own balance appears to be achieved by the gathering of these systems within geometric groupings, the riddles and solutions wrapped colorfully within.

Gola Hundun. “Beginning of Sedentary” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Why people want to plunder the Earth for financial gain is not precisely baffling, everyone agrees. But why we can’t have and enforce laws to protect it for everyone is.

Gola’s organic forms and splendiferous color choices are shouting about the beauty and magic of the natural world and he says he took the opportunity to preach to assembled guests at his opening last week.

Gola Hundun. “Col-ono-izing” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

“It was a blast!!!  I also made a speech to the audience telling them about the story behind the canvases,” he says, “and making some active propaganda about how much every one of us can do for the world, like becoming vegan, minimizing use of plastic and refusing to buy from several brands and corporations.”

Gola Hundun. “Fading Away” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Gola Hundun. “Fall of Macrofauna” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Gola Hundun. “From Irrigation to Ocean” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Gola Hundun. “Indonesia” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Gola Hundun. “Moving After the Herds” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)

Gola Hundun. “Obsolete Conception” 19 Karen Gallery. Queensland, Australia. (photo © Tommaso Campana)


Looking summer reading? Gola recommends Climate Change. A Defining Issue of Our Generation written by Antxon Olabe Egaña.

Click HERE for more information on the exhibition.

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A Peek At Gola Hundun: 7.6 Billion & Still Growing

A Peek At Gola Hundun: 7.6 Billion & Still Growing

Italian Street Artist and fine artist Gola Hundun begins the conversation with the raw statistic of how many humans are living on the earth and takes you on a visual journey from there.

His alarm at the developments of industry and extraction and destruction are here, certainly, as is his call for our dedication to take greater responsibility for our Earth and our resources.

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

More likely though, you will see the substantive glory of his abstraction, his generous layerings of leaves and plants and organic forms, his wending and blending of color and washes in a lush wonderland rather than the barren stripped and burned dystopia one might think of.

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

As he makes the final preparations for his new show in Australia just south of Brisbane along a golden coast that is concentrated with the wealth of captains of industry, it is worth considering what part each of us play in a system that heals or destroys. Natural beauty is compelling and life giving and yet our history tells us we will continue to horde it to ourselves, leaving the destruction to others with great avarice.

“This body of work is a consideration of the impact Homo Sapiens have on the environment throughout time. From the agricultural revolution to colonization and to globalization, I track an environmental journey through different stages of human history,” says Hundun in his artist statement.

As Enriqueta Arias observes in her show essay, the artist proposes to review the current relationship of the human species with the planet, as well as the impact and consequences of what appears to be its last phase of expansion.

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

Gola Hundun. “7.6 Billion & Still Growing” 19 Karen Gallery. Qld, Australia. (photo courtesy of Gola Hundun)

For more information about Gola’s solo exhibition click HERE


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“Sprout And Ruler”: Gola Hundun Nude In Abandoned Masonic Temple (VIDEO)

“Sprout And Ruler”: Gola Hundun Nude In Abandoned Masonic Temple (VIDEO)

Street Artist Gola Hudun likes to get naked and frolic around abandoned old buildings making art. But then, who doesn’t?

Gola Hundun for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Mario Delgado)

Here in San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic the Italian natural science alchemist was transfixed by the image of this abandoned Masonic Temple, with its vines and trees popping from windows and wrapping around its walls. To him, it symbolizes the inextricable connection of nature and the man made, with each alternately dancing with one another, and then trying to overpower the other. For those of you trying to prognosticate the outcome of that rivalry, we’ll venture a theory that in the end nature wins.

Gola Hundun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Sookie Gully Art)

Inspired by the leafy takeover of this man-made temple of worship, Gola wanted to add leaves of his own. “For me this piece represent the dichotomy between the creative chaos of nature and the necessity of human beings to define the laws of the Universe. These are both part of nature.”

His latest installation is part of the Artesano Project, and Gola considers himself as a facilitator, a conduit of what is a pre-ordained takeover of this space by natural design.

Gola Hundun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Sookie Gully Art)

“The Mother Goddess take back the space of the temple of the Great Architect of the Universe,” he explains as he strips down to his birthday suit to pose among the ruins and with his piece called “Sprout and Ruler.”

“The insertion of a human element is a way to bring inside the scene the Masonic rituals of a passing grade,” he says. “The nudity is a symbol for nature and paganism.”

Gola Hundun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Sookie Gully Art)

Gola Hundun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (screenshot from video below)

Gola Hundun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Sookie Gully Art)

Gola Hundun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Sookie Gully Art)

Gola Hundun for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Mario Delgado)

Gola Hundun for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (photo © Mario Delgado)

Gola Hudun at work on his piece for Artesano Project 2016 in The Dominican Republic. (screenshot from video below)

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Gola Hundun Creates a “Tree of Life” for “Land-Shape Festival” in Denmark

Gola Hundun Creates a “Tree of Life” for “Land-Shape Festival” in Denmark

Virtually every human culture has an allegorical image that illustrates the Tree of Life. Street Artist Gola Hundun is growing his own in Denmark on the Jutland peninsula – one that he has named the Yggrdasil Crómlech.

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

The Land-Shape festival in Vrå, a railway town of 2,500 people in the Hjørring municipality of Denmark, is inspired by the American Land Art movement that some trace back to 1960s minimalism and the growth of “installation art”. For many, this geological art hybrid is still a curiosity and Denmark is taking advantage of its rich coastal countryside by opening the land here to 50 or so artists such as street art culture-jammer/rural land portraitist Jorge Rodriguez Gerada, the performance/installation artist Sandro Masai and the color-mapping stone artist Maja Gade Christensen.

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

The Italian Mr. Hundun has been creating earth science and pagan tradition-inspired hybrids of his own with murals, installations, and sculpture in the last decade and here he takes inspiration from the Norse mythology and its stories that were once more often told in this part of the world.

By combining the symbols of the Yggdrasil, a common name for the tree of life that you may see today in full-back or arm tattoos, and the Crómlech, a concentric circle typically made of standing stones, Gola creates the Yggdrasil Cromlech. In this case, the cromlech is more of a moat than a wall.

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

Quite opposite of the Street Artist’s common expectation of ephemerality, Gola expects his new piece to grow into something magnificent over the next decades. “Yggdrasil Cromlech is a living piece, which every year will look different,” he tells us.

“In 3 to 5 years the climbing plants that I planted on the main structure will grow on all of the element, and in about 30-50 years the young trees will start to look like a column. The central part will be completely transformed by vegetation. It will be interesting to go and check the process from time to time. I promise myself to go and visit it every 5 years.”

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

The current shape of the installation is already arresting, and you are invited to step inside the enclosure to experience the energy – you may not be alone however. “The underlying idea that inspires this project is to create a sustainable sanctuary for Jutland’s wildlife with a permaculture approach,” he says. “The installation’s goal is to increase resources for local fauna, especially during winter time but also in the summer season, providing food sources and opportunity for refuge.”

Inspired by Norse mythology and his own study of various designs of the Yggdrasil throughout history to design and construct the new and unique holy place/ art installation.

“The Yggdrasill is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology and it functions in connection to nine worlds which constitute the entire universe. My structure also has nine branches that symbolize these worlds.”

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“The Ash Yggdrasil” (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine

He speaks of the many depictions and variations of the Yggdrasil in history and cultures, and describes the one he is inspired by for this work.

“The Yggdrasill is populated by and related to the many animals that protect it, take life from it and menace it. On Yggdrasill’s top an eagle with a hawk perch inside his eyes, four deer between its branches, a squirrel moving up and down its trunk and a snake on its bottom.,” he explains. “In my piece Yggdrasil is the core of the Installation, and the audience can reach it by jumping on two step stones on the water ring that hug the structure. The structure has a small door that invites anyone who wants to get inside it, to find some isolation or a relaxing atmosphere.”

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)

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Gola Hundun “Yggdrasil Crómlech” Land Shape Festival. Vrå, Højeskole. Denmark. October 2016. (photo © Gola Hundun & Emil Schildt)


 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 10.02.16 : Spotlight on Climate Change

BSA Images Of The Week: 10.02.16 : Spotlight on Climate Change

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Faile. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he tells me I’m an idiot because I trust scientists about climate change and that actually it is a hoax created by the Chinese.

Sorry, everything reminds us of Donald J. Trump and his outlandish claim for the presidency. Even when we are looking at the new Faile mural in Greenpoint, Brooklyn called Love Me, Love Me Not.

The Greenest Point is an initiative that wants to raise awareness of Climate Change and three Street Artists have just completed two murals here in Brooklyn to support it. The organization says that they hope to gather “together people from different backgrounds, professions and skill-sets who are bonded by aligned values and a common vision.” By integrating Street Art with technology, film, sound and voice, they hope that we’ll be more capable of piecing together the climate change puzzle as a collective.

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Faile. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t pretend to be scientists, but we trust the ones we have and we decided that this week we would dedicate BSA Images of the Week  just to this new project and this topic. We also know that it is now well-documented that tobacco companies fought us citizens with disinformation and legislative trickery for decades before they finally admitted that smoking was killing us and our families, so there is reason to believe that oil companies and related industries who flood our media and politicians with money are possibly buying time while we’re all heating up the atmosphere.

Here are new images of the two new murals in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn and an interview with the three artists who participated; Vexta, Askew, and long time Greenpoint studio residents, Faile.

BSA: Why do you think art is an important vehicle to highlight climate issues?
Faile: We feel it’s important to create work that can resonate with people on an emotional level. Something that we can live with everyday and that has a place in our lives that brings meaning to our experience. This is how we think people must learn to connect to climate change. It’s not something you can just think about, it’s something that you have to do everyday. It has to become part of you. We hope art has the power to be that wink and nod that you are on the right track. That the little things you do are meaningful and that change starts with you in the most simple of ways.

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Vexta and Askew. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Greenpoint has a history of blue collar communities who worked in factories producing goods for the both the merchant marine and the USA Navy. Those factories are all gone and only a few of the original settlers remain in the neighborhood such as the Polish community. How do you think the murals painted for the festival relate to them?
Vexta: Our collaborative mural hopefully offers a voice to people directly to people who will become a part of the history of Greenpoint and its legacy. We will have QR codes installed that link to video pieces that physically give Askew’s subjects a voice as well as linking to the birds calls and information about their situation.
Faile: We tried to be aware of the history of Greenpoint. The communities that make this neighborhood what it is. We tried to incorporate some nods to them through the work, specifically with the traditional Polish pattern in the socks. Unfortunately, Greenpoint is also home to some of the worst ecological disasters this country has ever experienced, the effects of which are still present. We wanted to bring something positive and something beautiful to the neighborhood that spoke to everyone. There are other historical murals in the neighborhood so it didn’t feel like it required another.

The neighborhood is also quickly changing. It’s home to many young families and has a vibrant creative class, not to mention our studio for the last 12 years. When creating an artwork in a public space, especially a park, there’s always that balance of trying to make something that people can connect with on a visceral, then psychological level in an immediate way–once that connection is made you hope they can dig a little deeper into the more subversive side of the meaning.

BSA: Do you think art and in particular the murals painted for this festival have the power to change the conversation on climate change and positively move and engage the people who either are indifferent to the issue or just refuse to believe that climate change is a real issue caused by humans? 
Faile:Whether you believe it or not there are basic things that people can do in their everyday lives to create a more beautiful environment around them. Picking up trash, recycling, being mindful that our resources are precious – none of these really imply that you have to have an opinion about climate change. Just the fact that we have a green space now in Transmitter Park is progress towards an environment that we can fall in love with.

We think that’s ultimately what the idea of Love Me, Love Me Not is asking. What kind of environment do you want? Do you want renewable green spaces that offer future generations beauty and room to reflect within nature? Or do you want to pave over the toxic soil and oil spills with the risk of repeating the past? If people can even ask themselves that question then we are at least engaging them into the dialogue where the seeds of action can be planted.

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Vexta and Askew. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Why do you think art is an important vehicle to highlight climate issues?
Vexta: For me as an artist it is the means that I have to talk about what I know to be important. Art also stands as this symbolic, most often visual, gesture that can bring people together, ignite debate and shine a light towards a new way of thinking that is perhaps still in the shadows of the mainstream. There is no more pressing issue right now than Climate Change.

There was a famous piece of graffiti up for a long time in my home city of Melbourne that read “No Jobs on a Dead Planet” in a beautiful font running down a power plant chimney. This work spurred my thinking back before I had begun making art professionally. That simple creative action out in public space was powerful and it spoke a simple truth and showed me that you can do a lot with a little. Art and art out in the streets is a great vehicle for talking about issues like climate change, because its a gesture in a shared space, it provides something to meditate on or think about that ultimately is a shared reality, this makes sense to me as climate change is a problem we need to work together to address.

Askew: I think that in particular art in the public space can be a very powerful way to put messaging on issues that matter right out in front of people who may not otherwise engage with it. Also an artist has the freedom to make the image captivating in a way that perhaps other platforms for speaking about serious issues don’t. People get bombarded with so much conflicting information every day especially via the mainstream media, art can put people in the contemplative space to engage differently.

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Vexta and Askew. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: You have participated in at least one other art festival whose principal mission is to highlight the well being of our ecology and our planet. What would you say is unique characteristic of The Greenest Point that differentiates it from other festivals with equal goals?
Askew: Well I think this is different because it’s so focused on a specific place whereas the scope of other events I’ve painted look more generally at global issues. I think it’s great for communities to narrow their focus to directly around them to tackle very tangible local change. If every neighborhood did that globally, imagine the impact.
Vexta: I agree with Askew, What is special about The Greenest Point is that it’s very locally based yet has a global focus. The Greenest Point has brought so many different parts of our local community together, from creatives to government to business. It has shown us that people in our neighborhood really care about Climate Change.

BSA: Your collaborative mural with Askew represents the current and future generations of children. What do you think is the principal message to send to the children so they are more aware of the problems facing our planet?
Vexta: My mural with Askew represents a coming together of numerous ideas. The future belongs to the youth and the world’s children will be the ones most impacted by Climate Change. I think they are really aware of this problem and it’s a very scary prospect. Our mural brought together not only representations of young people but also birds found in the NY state area that are currently climate threatened & endangered (according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report) as well as icebergs made of my shapes that represent the particles that make up all matter.

I would hope that we can inspire them to feel empowered to make small changes that they see as being possible whilst also acknowledging that all the other parts of our world – the birds, animals, water, air and land are just as important as they are. We are all in this together.

Askew: For me personally, celebrating young local people who are giving their time to make change in Greenpoint around sustainability and community-building issues is immediately inspiring to other young people.

BSA: Do you think art and in particular the murals painted for this festival have the power to change the conversation on climate change and positively move and engage the people who either are indifferent to the issue or just refuse to believe that climate change is a real issue caused by humans? 
Askew: Everything we do has impact, positive and negative – that’s the duality we deal with inhabiting this space. It’s a closed system, resources are finite and so we must respect them and do our best to live in harmony with this earth that supports us and live peacefully amongst each other and the various other creatures we share this planet with. No one thing is going to make pivotal change but everyone being mindful and keeping the conversation and action going is what will make a difference.

Our special thanks to the team at The Greenest Point and to the artists for sharing their time and talent with BSA readers.

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One image from this week by Street Artist Sipros depicts Climate-Change-denying Donald Trump as the character The Joker, from the Batman movies. A frightening piece of political satire, or perhaps propaganda, depending on who you talk to. Mana Urban Art Projects. Jersey City, NJ. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Lincoln Street Art Park. Detroit, Michigan. Septiembre 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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60 Artists at a Moscow Street Art Biennale: “Artmossphere 2016”

60 Artists at a Moscow Street Art Biennale: “Artmossphere 2016”

The Moscow Manege Hosts International and Local Street Artists for a Biennale

Moscow presents a Street Artist’s exhibition, but the streets have almost none.

When Street Art and it’s associated cousins move inside the possible outcomes are many. With exhibitions like this you are seeing urban becoming very contemporary.brooklyn-street-art-sozyone-jaime-rojo-09-04-2016-web

Belgian artist SozyOne at Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

The Artmossphere Biennale jump-starts the debate for many about how to best present the work of Street Artists and organizers here in Moscow chose a broad selection of curators from across a spectrum of private, commercial, academic and civically-inspired perspectives to present a solid range of artists from the graffiti and Street Art world inside a formal hall.

To be clear, unless it is illegal and on the street, it is not graffiti nor Street Art. That is the prevailing opinion about these terms among experts and scholars of various stripes and it is one we’re comfortable with. But then there are the commercial and cultural influences of the art world and the design industries, with their power to reshape and loosen terms from their moorings. Probably because these associated art movements are happening and taking shape before our eyes and not ensconced in centuries of scholarship we can expect that we will continue to witness the morphing our language and terminologies, sometimes changing things in translation.

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A working carousel provides wildly waving optics for riders in this room by The London Police at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

Definitions aside, when you think of more organic Street Art scenes which are always re-generating themselves in the run-down abandoned sectors of cities like Sao Paulo, New York, Melbourne, Paris, Mexico City, London, and Berlin, it is interesting to consider that this event takes place nearly on the grounds of the Kremlin under museum like security.

An international capital that ensures cleanly buffed walls within hours of the appearance of any unapproved Street Art or graffiti, Moscow also boasts a growing contingent of art collectors who are young enough to appreciate the cultural currency of this continuously mutating hybrid of graffiti, hip hop, DIY, muralism, and art-school headiness. The night clubs and fashionable kids here are fans of events like hip-hop and graffiti jams, sometimes presented as theater and other times as “learning workshops” and the like.

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Madrid-based Paris born artist Remed at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

Plugging into this idea of street and youth culture is not a singular fascination – there is perhaps an association with the rebellious anti-authoritarian nature of unregulated art in the streets that fuels the interest of many. With graffiti and hip-hop culture adoption as a template, newer expressions of Street Art culture are attractive as well with high profile artists with rebel reputations are as familiar in name here as in many cities. New festivals and events sometimes leverage this renegade free-spirit currency for selling tourism and brands and real estate, but here there also appears to be an acute appreciation for its fine art expression – urban contemporary art.


MOSCOW’S MANEGE AND “DEGENERATE ART”

So ardent is the support for Artmossphere here that a combination of public and private endorsements and financial backing have brought it to be showcased in a place associated with high-culture and counter-culture known as the Moscow Manege (Мане́ж). The location somehow fits the rebellious spirit that launched these artists even if its appearance wouldn’t lead you to think that.

The 19th century neo-classical exhibition hall stands grandly adjacent to Red Square and was built as an indoor riding school large enough to house a battalion of 2,000 soldiers during the 1800s. It later became host to many art exhibitions in the 20th century including a famous avant-garde show in 1962 that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev famously derided as displaying ‘degenerate’ art.

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Polish painter Sepe says his wall speaks to those who would pull the strings behind the scenes. He finished it within three days at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

One of the artists whose work was criticized, painter and sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, challenged the label defiantly and won accolades afterward during his five decade career that followed, including receiving many awards and his work being collected worldwide by museums. Russian President Vladimir Putin is quoted as calling him “a recognised master and one of the best contemporary sculptors”. In January of this year at the age of 90, Neizvestny’s return to Menage featured an extensive exhibition. He passed away August 9th (The Moscow Times), only weeks before Artmossphere opened.

In some kindred spirit many of these artists at Artmossphere have done actual illegal work on the streets around the world during their respective creative evolutions, and graffiti and Street Art as a practice have both at various times been demonized, derided, dismissed and labeled by critics in terms synonymous with “degenerate”.


A CLEAN CITY

“Moscow is mostly very clean,” says Artmossphere co-founder and Creative Director Sabine Chagina, who walks with guests during a sunny afternoon in a busy downtown area just after the opening. “But we do have some good graffiti crews,” she says as we round the corner from the famous Bolshoi Theater and soon pass Givenchy and Chanel and high-end luxury fashion stores. Shortly we see a mural nearby by French artist Nelio, who painted a lateral abstracted geometric, possibly cubist, piece on the side of a building here in 2013 as part of the LGZ Festival.

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Barcelona based Miss Van had one of her paintings translated into a woven wool rug with artisans in Siberia. Here is a detail at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo.

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Miss Van at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

If there was graffiti here in Moscow, it was not on full display very readily in this part of town. In driving tours, rides on the extensive metro train system, and in street hikes across the city a visitor may find that much of the illegal street art and graffiti common to other global capitals is illusive due to a general distaste for it and a dedicated adherence to buffing it out quickly.

For a pedestrian tourist Moscow appears in many ways as fully contemporary and architecturally rich as any international world-class metropolis. One of the cleanest places you’ll visit, the metro is almost museum-like in some instances; the historic districts spotless, public fountains, famed statues of important historical figures. All is efficiently ordered and – a welcome surprise – most public space is free of advertisements interrupting your view and your thoughts.

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Chile-born, Berlin-based artist and sculptor Pablo Benzo curated by The Art Union at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

Come to think of it, the sense of commercial-celebrity media saturation that is present in other cities doesn’t appear to permeate the artists psyche here at the Biennale – so there’s not much of the ironic Disney-Marilyn-supermodel-Kardashian-skewering of consumerism and shallowness in this exhibition that you may find in other Urban Art events.

Also, unlike a Street Art-splattered show in London for example that may rudely mock Queen Elizabeth or art in New York streets that present Donald Trump styled as a pile of poo and Hillary Clinton as Heath Ledger’s Joker, we didn’t see over-the-top Putin satires either. So personality politics don’t seem directly addressed in this milieu. According to some residents there was an outcropping of huge festival murals by Street Artists here just a few years ago but more recently they have been painted over with patriotic or other inspiring murals, while others have been claimed for commercial interests.

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Brazilian Claudio Ethos at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo


A REAL LIVE MURAL FROM L’ATLAS

Starved for some gritty street scenes, it is all the more interesting to see the one live mural painting that we were able to catch – a 6-story red-lined op-art tag by the French graffiti writer L’Atlas. Far from Manege, placed opposite a cineplex in what appears to be a shopping mall situated far from the city’s historical and modern centers, our guide tells us half-jokingly that he is not sure that we are still in Moscow.

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L’Atlas on a Moscow wall for Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

Here L’Atlas says that he has painted his bar-code-like and cryptic nom-de-plume with an assistant on a cherry picker for a few days and he says that no one has stopped to ask him about it, neither to comment or criticize. Actually one man early one morning returning home from a disco did engage him briefly, but it was difficult to tell what he was talking about as he may have had a few drinks.

This lack of public commentary is mainly notable because in other cities the comments from passersby can be so ubiquitous that artists deliberately wear stereo headphones to prevent interruption and to be more productive. Sometimes the headphones are not actually playing music.

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The inside installation by L’Atlas for Artmossphere features multiple abstract iterations of his tag in day glo. photo © Jaime Rojo


WALKING THROUGH THE OPENING

This Street Art Biennale nonetheless is gaining a higher profile among Urban Art collectors and its associated art dealers and the opening and later auction reaches directly to this audience. Included this year with the primary “Invisible Walls” exhibition are satellite events in association with local RuArts Gallery, Tsekh Belogo at Winzavod, and the Optika Pavilion (No. 64) at VDNKh.

The opening night event itself is wide and welcoming, a mostly youthful and populist affair with celebratory speeches and loosely organized group photos and an open bar. Added together with a press conference, a live DJ, virtual reality headsets, interactive artworks, major private business sponsors, government grants, ministers of culture, gallerists, and quirkily fashionable art fans, this is a polished presentation of a global culture that is filtered through the wide lense of the street.

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Wes21 from Switzerland is a graffiti artist blending reality and fantasy in this lunar-like landscape for Artmossphere features multiple abstract iterations of his tag in day glo. photo © Jaime Rojo

Perhaps because the exhibition hall is a cavernous rectangle with exposed beams on the ceiling and many of the constructed white walls that mimic vendor booths, it has the air of an art fair. There are thankfully no salespeople pacing back and forth watching your level of interest. People tend to cluster before installations and talk, laugh, share a story, pose for a selfie.


INVISIBLE WALLS

Similar in theme to the multidisciplinary exhibit about borders and boundaries curated by Raphael Schacter this spring in St. Petersburg at the Street Art Museum, Artmossphere asked artists to think about and address the “invisible walls” in contemporary life and societies.

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Domo Collective present “Fair Play III” an enormous world map functioning ping pong table with a triple razor wire fence right down the middle. “We play an unhealthy game in which nobody believed to be responsible.” At Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo ©Jaime Rojo

The theme seems very appropriately topical as geopolitical, trade-related, social, digital, and actual walls appear to be falling down rapidly today while the foundations of new ones are taking shape. Catalyzed perhaps by the concept and practices of so-called “globalization” – with its easy flow of capital and restricted flow of humans, we are all examining the walls that are shaping our lives.

With 60+ international artists working simultaneously throughout this massive hall, newly built walls are the imperative for displaying art, supporting it, dividing it. 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.

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Domo Collective at Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo ©Jaime Rojo

The theme has opened countless interpretations in flat and sculptural ways, often expressed in the vernacular of fine art with arguable nods to mid-20th century modernists, folk art, fantasy, representational art, abstract, conceptual, computer/digital art, and good old traditional graffiti tagging. Effectively it appears that when Street Art and graffiti artists pass the precipice into a multi-disciplinary exhibition such as this, one can reframe Urban/Street as important tributaries to contemporary art – but will they re-direct the flow or be subsumed within it?

The work often can be so far removed from street practice that you don’t recognize it as related.

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Vitaly Sy created a visualization of “Fear” as the main causes of internal barriers. The pieces are built around a central axis with elements at right angle to one another, and the man’s head on a swivel. Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo ©Jaime Rojo

Aside from putting work up in contested public space without permission and under cover, an average visitor may not see a common thread. These works run aesthetic to the conceptual, painterly to the sculptural, pure joy and pure politics. But then, that is we began to see in the streets as well when the century turned to the 21st and art students in large numbers in cities like New York and London and Berlin skipped the gatekeepers, taking their art directly to the public.

Perhaps beneath the surface or just above it, there is a certain anarchistic defiance, a critique of social, economic, political issues, a healthy skepticism toward everyone and everything that reeks of hypocritical patriarchal power structures. Perhaps we’re just projecting.

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Moscow Manege exterior opening night of Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo courtesy of and © Artmossphere

Looking over the 60+ list of names, it may be striking to some that very few are people of color, especially in view of the origins of the graffiti scene. Similarly, the percentage of women represented is quite small. We are familiar with this observation about Urban Art in general today, and this show mirrors the European and American scene primarily, with notable exceptions such as Instagrafite’s home-based Brazilian crew of 4 artists. As only one such sampling of a wide and dispersed scene, it is not perhaps fair to judge it by artists race, gender, or background, but while we speak of invisible walls it is worth keeping our eyes on as this “scene” is adopted into galleries, museums, and private collections.

Following are some of the artists on view at Artmossphere:

ASKE

Certainly Moscow native ASKE is gently mocking our mutated modern practices of communicating with his outsized blocked abstraction of a close couple riveted to their respective electronic devices, even unaware of one another.

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Moscow Street Artist ASKE at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

NeSpoon

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“Precariat” by Polish Street Artist NeSpoon at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

Warsaw based NeSpoon creates a sculpture of another couple. Heroically presenting her vision of what she calls the iconic “Graffiti Writer” and “Street Art Girl”, they face the future with art instruments in hand ready to make their respective marks. She says her work is emblematic of a permanent financial insecurity for a generation she calls the “PRECARIAT”.

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“Precariat” by Polish Street Artist NeSpoon at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

“ ‘Precariat’ is the name of the new emerging social class,” says curator, organizer, and NeSpoon’s partner Marcin Rutkiewicz when talking about the piece during the press conference. “These are young people living without a predictable future, without good jobs, without social security. It’s a class in the making and probably these people don’t have any consciousness or global unity of interest. But they are the engines of protest for people all over the world – like Occupy Wall Street, Gezi Park in Turkey, or the Arab Spring.”

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“Precariat” by Polish Street Artist NeSpoon at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

The artist developed the sculpture specifically for this exhibition and planned it over the course of a year or so. Born of a social movement in Poland by the same name, the sculpture and its sticker campaign on the street represent “a kind of protest against building walls between people who are under the same economical and social situation all over the world,” says Rutkiewicz.

 

LI-HILL

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 the Russian sculptural group called “The Horse Tamers” represents mankind’s “ability to harness power of the natural world and to be able to manipulate it for its advantage.”

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“Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Li-Hill at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation 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.”

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The artist Li-Hill inside his piece at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

M-CITY

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.

“It is an anti-war piece,” he says, and he speaks about the walls between nations and a losing battle of dominance that ensures everyone will be victim.”

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The artist M-City at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

“It’s kind of a monster who destroys arms,” he says of this temporary sculpture with a lording figure 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 is positive that can come out of this. There is always someone bigger.” He says the piece is inspired by the political situations in Europe today and the world at large.

HOTTEA

Minneapolis based HOTTEA usually does very colorful yarn installations transforming a huge public space, but for Artmossphere he is taking the conceptual route. The walk-in room based on the Whack-A-Mole game presents holes which a visitor can walk under and rise above.

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The artist Hot Tea at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

Visitors/participants will experience the physical separation of space, and perhaps contemplate facing one another and interacting or ignoring one another. It is something he says he hopes will draw attention to how many walls we have allowed ourselves to distract from human interactions.

 

SICK BOY

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Climb over a wall to slide into Sick Boy’s “The Rewards System”. photo © Jaime Rojo

Englands’ Sick Boy calls his project The Rewards System, where guests are invited to climb a ladder over a brick wall and descend down a slide into a darkened house, setting off a series of sensors that activate a variety of multisensory lights and tantalizing patterns. After landing and being rewarded the visitor is forced to exit on hands and knees through a too-small square door.

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A young visitor exits Sick Boy’s “The Rewards System”. photo © Jaime Rojo

“The concept of the show is about invisible walls so I was thinking about there being barriers in your life and I thought about the reward of endorphins one experiences for achieving a task – a small amount of endorphins. So I thought I would build a house that signifies the reward system,” he explains.

DEREK BRUNO

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Temporary installations : Slab Fence PO-2. Derek Bruno. photo © Jaime Rojo

Atlanta/Seattle based Derek Bruno reached back to the Leonid Brezhnev years and into Moscow’s Gorky Park for his series of site specific installations based on Soviet Cement Fence type PO-2. The iconic fence was re-created in a nearby studio and Bruno shot photographs of his 10-15 minute “interventions” in the park itself, revisiting a field of design called “technical aesthetics.”

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A photo on display for his installation from Derek Bruno “MOSCOW PO2 Escalator” for Artmossphere. Photo ©Derek Bruno

In a statement Bruno explains “Since the end of the Soviet Union, the iconic fence has become a persistent and ever present reminder of former delineations of space; while new forms of boundaries shape the digital and sociopolitical landscapes. “

REMI ROUGH

Remi Rough is known for his smartly soaring abstract geometry in painted murals and smaller scale works, and for Moscow he wanted to strip it back to the basics, approaching a white box with one undulating graphic composition.

“My idea was that Moscow’s a bit ‘over the top’,” he says, and he decided to strip back the audacity and go for simplicity, which actually takes courage.

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Remi Rough, “Fold”. photo © Jaime Rojo

“I said ‘you know what?’ – I want to do something with the cheapest materials you can possibly get. These two pieces literally cost 3000 rubles ($50). It’s made of felt, it’s like a lambs wool. I think they use it for flooring for construction.” Depending on the angle, the pink blotted material may translate as a swath of otherworldly terrain or a metaphorical bold vision with all the hot air let out.

“I wanted to do something peaceful and calming and use natural materials – something that’s different from what I usually do – but I use the folds in the fabric and the pink color – two things that I usually use a lot.”

ALEXEY LUKA

Moscow’s Alexey Luka is also challenging himself to stretch creatively by taking his wall collage installations of found wood and converting them into free-standing sculptures.

“For this biennale I tried to make something different so now I am going from the assemblages to 3-D.” The constructed media is warm and ordered, reserved but not without whimsy.

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Alexey Luka at Artmossphere Biennale 2016 photo © Jaime Rojo

“My work is made from found wood – I use it with what I found on the street and my shapes and my graphics – so it’s kind of an experiment with three dimensions,” and he confirms that most of this wood is sourced here in Moscow.

We ask him about the number of eyes that peer out from his installation. Perhaps these eyes are those of Muscovites? “They are just like observers,” he says.

MIMMO RUBINO AKA RUB KANDY

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Mimmo aka Rub Kandy at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

Torino’s Mimmo recreated the Moscow Olympic Village from the 1980 games in miniature presented as on a plainly brutalist platform. The sculpture is austere in detail on the hulking towers save for the tiny graffiti tags, throwies, rollers, extinguisher tags, and the like at the bases and on the roofs.

Curator Christian Omodeo tells us that Mimmo recreated the massive village based on his direct study of the site as it stands today; a housing project that has hundreds of families — and a hip-hop / graffiti scene as well.

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Mimmo aka Rub Kandy at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

It is striking that the scale reduces the impact of the graffiti – yet when experienced at eye-level it retains a potency. Even so, by recasting the relationship between viewer and mark-making, this graffiti actually seems “cute” because of its relative size to the viewer.

BRAD DOWNEY

Brad Downey and Alexander Petrelli hi-jacked the opening of the Biennale by circulating within the exhibit as a gallery with artworks for sale. With Downey performing as a street-huckster pushing his own art products, Mr. Patrelli showcased new Downey photo collages and drawings inside his mobile “Overcoat Gallery”

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Alexander Petrelli exhibits work by Brad Downey at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

A charming Moscow art star / gallerist / performance artist, Mr. Patrelli is also a perennial character at openings and events in the city, by one account having appeared at 460 or so events since 1992 with his flashing overcoat. The artworks also feature Patrelli, completing a self-referential meta cycle that continued to circle the guests at the exhibition.

International artists participating in the Artmossphere Biennale 2016 include: Akacorleone, Alex Senna, Brad Downey, Chu (Doma), Orilo (Doma), Claudio Ethos, Demsky, Christopher Derek Bruno, Filippo Minelli, Finok, Galo, Gola Hundun, Hot Tea, Jaz, Jessie and Katey, Johannes Mundinger, L’Atlas, LiHill, LX One, M-city, TC, Mario Mankey, Martha Cooper, Miss Van, Nespoon, Millo, Pablo Benzo, Pastel, Paulo Ito, Proembrion, Remed, Remi Rough, Rub Kandy, Run, Sepe, Sickboy, Smash 137, Sozyone Gonsales, SpY, The London Police, Trek Matthews, Wes 21.


This article is a result of a Brooklyn Street Art partnership with Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin and was originally published at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art


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Göla Finding Direction with a Deer God for Viavai Project in Italy

Göla Finding Direction with a Deer God for Viavai Project in Italy

By way of re-balancing our chakras today, we check in with Göla and his new mural of the Deer God for the Viavai Project in Salento, Italy.

Along with Street Artists like Pastel, Ozmo, Eversiempre, CT, Basic, and Tellas, the festival takes the position that art in public spaces can shift the center of gravity away from the typical hype of a “scene” and focus instead upon the experiential aspects of art as a living thing and even an emotional one.

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Göla (or Gola Hundun). Viavai Project. Racale, Salento. Italy. July 2014. (photo © Matteo Bandiello)

Göla tells us that his new piece is centered on an amiable antlered diety as a “symbol of the rebirth of nature and the cycle of the seasons studied since Paleolithic cultures, described here through vegetal elements and reflected as an oracle and a mouthpiece of behaviors.”

The name of the new piece is “Direzione” (direction) which he says, “speaks about coexistence of man and other species and creating a sustainable path forward.” Conceived as a sacred apparition, it uses symmetrical and metaphorical symbols in a way that echoes more established conventions of religious art.

While the street artist and performer describes his new work you may wonder how the allegories contained within it about resources, sharing, giving, receiving and communion with nature could ever be achieved. He admits that these are long time aspirational goals that people have had for centuries and he obviously believes that they are still worthwhile to contemplate. He speaks of the rising path in the image that is “guided by the light purple color of meditation and spirituality to a new conception of the planet that is in reality nothing more than a new-found understanding of the ancient tribal societies – married by advances current technology.”

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Gola Hundun. Viavai Project. Racale, Salento. Italy. July 2014. (photo © Matteo Bandiello)

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Gola Hundun. Detail. Viavai Project. Racale, Salento. Italy. July 2014. (photo © Vincenzo Basile)

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Gola Hundun. Detail. Viavai Project. Racale, Salento. Italy. July 2014. (photo © Vincenzo Basile)

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Gola Hundun. Detail. Viavai Project. Racale, Salento. Italy. July 2014. (photo © Vincenzo Basile)

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Gola Hundun. Viavai Project. Racale, Salento. Italy. July 2014. (photo © Vincenzo Basile)

 

Click HERE for more on the Viavai Project

Click HERE for more on Gola Hundun’s work.

 

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