All posts tagged: Isaac Cordal

Isaac Cordal: “Ego Monuments” Mock in Montreal Gallery Show

Isaac Cordal: “Ego Monuments” Mock in Montreal Gallery Show

The evolution of an artist’s practice is something we feel very privileged to observe over time and we revel in the successful steps forward that any artist takes, preferring to see it as an act of courage. Street Artist Isaac Cordal is currently taking a big jump forward, consolidating his strengths and doubling down on his convictions in ever more powerful ways for his new exhibition entitled “Ego Monuments”, now showing at Galerie C.O.A. in Montreal, Canada.

Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)

His vocabulary intact and increasingly sophisticated, something tells you that it is all synthesizing and gathering with the momentum of a storm. Here he is mocking the clique mentality of the politburo, presenting his company men as a block of distracted dullards, each separately miserable and indistinguishable in their groupthink.

The image of one of his hapless figures as a crucified businessman with slightly ghoulish smirk taps into the themes of self-important sacrifice and holy reverence of so-many corporate heroes, frankly flagellating the idea of either. Elsewhere soaring pedestals lift the individual so high that coming down would likely result in death.

Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)

As a disarming collection of installations in the gallery you may revel at the methods Cordal devises to communicate the collective blindness pushing us further toward oblivion, his blunt critique of consumer culture and mindless navel-gazing is a reassuring mediocrity that warms you gradually– as the water rolls toward a boil.

Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)

“We are the new version of colonialism,” Cordal says his new press release, “we are waiting for climate change by sunbathing on the beach. We live permanently exposed, controlled, leaning out to the public balcony of the social networks and Big Brother has become our flat-mate.”

As we examine our public statues and the messages of our massive free-standing art in parks, Cordal suggests that size matters in this age of the SELF. “Monuments to the ego would be so big that it was necessary to change the scale of these works to place them into the gallery.”

Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)

Elsewhere he comments on the sorrowful narcissism that permeates the culture, as expressed by his figures here: “Almost all the sculptures that are part of the exhibition have their eyes closed, immersed in their smartphones or virtual reality headsets. Blind to their own reality, they don’t want to see beyond their own perimeter. ”

Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)
Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)
Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)
Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)
Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)
Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” Galerie C.O.A. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Isaac Cordal)

Isaac Cordal, “Ego Monuments” at Galerie C.O.A. in Montreal, Canada is open to the general public until October 12th.

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BSA Film Friday: 06.14.19

BSA Film Friday: 06.14.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. NeverCrew – “Celsius”
2. Boulevard Paris 13
3. Isaac Cordal “Follow The Leaders” at Urvanity 2019 Madrid.

BSA Special Feature: NeverCrew – “Celsius”

The streets are awash with artists visions these days, but few play so well with technology as these new whales from Nevercrew. The Swiss duo often use their work on the street to call attention to the plight of our water bodies, and the bodies that live within them. In these new multi-layered street pieces water is also the great reveal.

“Thermochromic paint allows us to create an immediate transformation,” Christian Rebecci tells us, “and at the same time it provides a silent litmus paper of the actual situation.”

Splashing the water upon the majestic animals certainly gives a look inside their living situation. The guys are calling it “Celcius”, an oblique reference to temperature and the effect rising temperatures due to climate change in fact changes the equation.

Boulevard Paris 13

With Mehdi Ben Cheikh at Galerie Itinerrance and Jérôme Coumet, the Mayor of Paris’ 13th arrondissement, this neighborhood of Paris has become a top-shelf open air museum over the last decade or so. With the common critique of the illegal Street Art movement evolving into a legal mural system of business development, one may overlook the few programs that have actually gotten the quality and the balance right. De facto public art for the 2010s, this execution has proven to pack a powerful visual punch and a possibly timeless quality. This newly produced video helps put the entire project’s best foot forward.

Isaac Cordal “Follow The Leaders” at Urvanity 2019 Madrid.

Radiating the drama dread of Isaac Cordal’s springtime installation at Urvanity Madrid is no easy task, but this commercial shoe brand took the time and dedicated their observation skills to help viewers reflect on the absurdities of our human condition.

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BSA Film Friday 05.17.19

BSA Film Friday 05.17.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Evan Roth “Since You Were Born”
2. “Island” Hamburg Max Mortal and Robert Lobel
3. Isaac Cordal In-Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain.
4. ARTRIUM in Moscow

BSA Special Feature: Evan Roth “Since You Were Born”

Graffiti Research Lab co-founder Evan Roth has been hacking his way through life and art practice for the mid-2000s when he was a student at Brooklyn’s Parsons, where he was valedictorian. Now an older wiser daddy of two, he turns his attention to the saturated everyday data pileup generated from Internet browsing. The accumulated images, logos, maps, banner ads in the cache is like so much DNA of the person behind the mouse, and when it is printed to display, one becomes engulfed.

Our favorite term from his new exhibit? “An alternate form of art-making, memory-making, and storytelling”.

Project Atrium: Evan Roth

“Island” Hamburg Max Mortal and Robert Lobel

From Hamburg an animated short video by Max Mörtl & Robert Löbel explores the irresistible desire to communicate with this stop motion & 2D animation piece. Adorable exotic creatures come alive during the day to explore and seek kindred spirits.

Isaac Cordal In-Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain.

From our visit to his studio comes this silent overview of how to turn a pig into a pig-man. “Here is where you see the craftsman at work; carefully attentive, problem-solving industry in play, possibly more at peace while he is creating than when he is left to think too much. He picks up a pink pig figurine and begins the plastic surgery, the fine reconstruction; a gentle whirring, a whittling away of snout and a defining of chin-line.”

See our full interview HERE:

ARTRIUM in Moscow

When we were in Moscow last summer as curators at Artmossphere, we had the opportunity to meet the director of the new program to bring international Street Artists to paint a shopping mall.  The magnetizing force that drew artists to hit these walls is pretty strong; just ask Shepard Fairey, Felipe Pantone, Tristan Eaton, Ben Eine, PichiAvo, Okuda San Miguel, Pokras Lampas, Faith47, WK Interact, Faust, and Haculla.


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Isaac Cordal In-Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain.

Isaac Cordal In-Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain.

The endgame of vulture capitalism. The implosion of the corporate culture. The subtle differences between public housing and private jailing. The melting of the ice caps.

However you have wished to interpret the work of Spanish sculptural street artist Isaac Cordal over the last decade, you probably thought he didn’t hold much hope for our future. Or us. But he says his work is more a reflection of what he sees, and he presents it will a subtle humor.

After a recent visit to his ceramic tiled and flourescent-lit artist studio in downtown Bilbao, we realized that his public art darkness is at least as hopeful as it is critical. All around the studio he has created a variety of rehearsal spaces, vignettes, and theatrical scenarios or displays with his figures interacting with other objects that he collects along the way.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It is at least as entertaining as it is educational. His sad characters and formal scenes of concrete dystopia are also humorous in their unlikely repetition, their utter lack of comfort, their repurposing of common objects as dire ones. His critiques of consumerism, environmental degradation, militarism, corporatism merging into fascism are sometimes couched by his own understated humor and attitude of childlike play as well.

Not that people were chuckling as they encircled the austere and degrading urban jungle scene he constructed in the Spanish capital for the Urvanity 2019 showcase in the courtyard of the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid. The tribal clusters of bald men in suits were situated above, partially submerged in, or up to their chins in gravel from a bombed out lot, perhaps churned rubble created by a drone.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But did the art crowd also see the two businessmen carrying a stretcher full of wheatgrass? The absurdity is a relief. Are they rescuing a rectangular slab of nature? Possibly cultivating it for farming? Blissing out on a wheatgrass juice cleanse to counter the martinis and amphetamines?

And what about these new human-faced pigs gathered around, looking for a trough? He presents the human/animal hybrids without comment under electric lights that glitter warmly across the compound. They could be a metaphor addressing attitudes or behaviors. They may also be a glimpse into a law-free amoral future where any new life-form you conjure can be sequenced and produced.

(Click here to read our review :Urvanity 2019: Isaac Cordal’s Dire Courtyard Installation”)

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A graduate in sculpture at the University of Fine Arts near his hometown in Galicia, he also studied conservation of stone crafts and trained in London at Camberwell College. He was a founding member of a digital art community called Alg-a.org, a heavy metal guitarist in a band called Dismal, and a publisher of a fanzine called Exorcism.

As you learn these details about his life in the 90s and 2000s, you gain a greater appreciation for the powerful work of a guy who has emerged uniquely on the global street art stage with his Cement Elipses.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As hard driving electronic drums, bass, and cryptic lyric loops pounding from a radio on a shop stool, we witness the fastidious artist at work in the tidy studio area in this converted warehouse on a dead-end block. As he circles the center island in his overalls looking for the appropriate steel bit or resin mold he bobs gently to the beat, skillfully switching attachments on his drill and hand-designed vacuum device.

Here is where you see the craftsman at work; carefully attentive, problem-solving industry in play, possibly more at peace while he is creating than when he is left to think too much. He picks up a pink pig figurine and begins the plastic surgery, the fine reconstruction; a gentle whirring, a whittling away of snout and a defining of chin-line.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The result is rough and unrefined, proportions not sweet. He blazes through these final actions and presents his new hybrid man-pig, a satisfied glint flashing by as he blinks. The drill whirrs downward and he sits on the stool for a minute to flip over the figurine a few times and inspect it.

BSA: I imagine sometimes that people must think that you are walking around with a cloud over your head –  but you’re not really. You’re a happy person who thinks seriously about the world and its issues.

Isaac: It’s not that I am choosing the topics. It is something that came by default. It is my personality. Also I make this work because I do not like the kind of society that we have now. I think about all the improvements that we have from our new discoveries – and I don’t understand what the reason is that we have all of these situations and problems. We should be a smarter society and more just.

We can find water on Mars but we can’t feed people here – what’s the reason for this? Why is our only worry about how we can have more and more and more? In that sense probably in my work it is like that because I don’t understand what we are doing, or our idea of progress. I say ‘Wow, it’s incredible that we cannot work on a common welfare.’ So the work is probably a reflection of what I do not like.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Do you think your work is conceptual art?
Isaac Cordal: I don’t think so because it’s pretty direct. It’s not codified. It’s very easy to understand and with conceptual art there is a semantic idea, meanings. It’s more of a movement of art.

BSA: So you been doing this project using cement for maybe 15 years?
Isaac Cordal: I don’t know maybe the first one was in 2005. Maybe before because I have some others that I made in cement that maybe go back 1999 it’s crazy how fast time goes. Because it was in 1996 that I started to study fine arts at the university in my hometown in Galicia. I also went to stone-carving school for five years. We were like slaves there because we were working with big stones – but I learned quite a lot because I learned to do more in terms of carving and modeling clay.

It was quite an experience for me. Most of the school was nice because it was more conceptual or theoretical – and it was interesting for me to learn more about contemporary art.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: How do you feel about this time of your life as an artist?
Isaac Cordal: The future for me I think is a little uncertain because every day is like a new year. I’m laying in the bed hiding behind my covers just looking over the edge. You say, “Oh my God another day that you have to prove yourself, do your projects.”

There are different venues and situations for artists but I think it is a kind of battle, a combat that first starts inside of you and after splashes onto others – your family or maybe your girlfriend. It’s not easy. It’s quite complex. I’ve had so many friends who were studying with me and they were talented but they couldn’t live their lives in this manner. It is a little bit uncertain. People may prefer to have a proper job. For me, probably not.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Do you have a sense about how people see your art?
Issac Cordal: We have to deal with so many fears that this society is selling to us and it seems that you have to think about them. I think the people can understand my work very easily as it is very simple and representative.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: What perceptions or reactions do you think they are having when looking at the “Yard” installation, for example?
Isaac Cordal: The “Yard” is kind of a reflection of ourselves on a small scale. The topics are a little bit pessimistic but perhaps people can see it as a sort of reflection. They probably think about the topic that is suggested behind the installation.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Did you feel a sense of tension, given your worldview about politics and power and privilege and all of the societal structures we work within – your politics are so strong. How do you decide what to manifest?
Isaac Cordal: I don’t want to do real political art. I think it is quite complicated. You have to be very clean. When you do political art you cannot make mistakes. In my work I am more interested in creating a reflection of what I see through the window. Sometimes I think I’m only speaking about myself. We are a reflection of the society and the society is always growing and evolving so probably as an artist we have to grow too.

Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.17.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.17.19

Patti Smith begins the roll call for BSA Images of the Week in this portrait by Huetek. The punk term is loosely tossed around today, but it only applies to a certain number of people truthfully. In so many ways she is one. But she is also an author, poet, activist, and champion of the people – who she says have the power.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Adam Fu, Bella Phame, BK Foxx, Bobo, Deih XLF, Exist, Huetek, Isaac Cordal, Koralie, Koz Dos, Sixe Paredes, Smells, SoSa, UFO 907, Velvet, WW Crudo, and Zoer.

Huetek pays tribute to Patti Smith for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BK Foxx for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BK Foxx creates this portrait of American Rapper MacMiller, who passed away so young last September –for JMZ Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
UFO907 . Smells (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Deih XLF for Points de Vue in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Deih XLF for Points de Vue in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Zoer and Velvet in Bilbao, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SoSa (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Yo can I get a drag off your Costco membership?” Bobo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal for Points de Vue in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal for Points de Vue in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bella Phame for JMZ Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Exist in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Exist in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Adam Fu (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sixe Paredes in Bilbao, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
WW Crudo and some Keith Haring stickers? (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Koz Dos for Points de Vue in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A digital “propaganda” advertisement telling people in Madrid the cost of buffing graffiti in the city… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Koralie for Points de Vue in Bayonne, France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
We Love You! Reads this political gate written in Basque to remind the people of Bilbao of the plight of political prisoners in Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Meanwhile in Bayonne, France an old political mural informs the public about the political prisoners who were detained and disappeared during the Basque Separatist confrontation with the Federal Government of Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Sky landscape in Bilbao, Spain. March 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Film Friday: 03.08.19

BSA Film Friday: 03.08.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Isaac Cordal’s Installation at Urvanity 2019

2. Penique Productions Site Specific Installation at Urvanity Art 2019

3. Pro176 Mural for Urvanity Art 2019

4. 1010 Pedestrian Installation in Madrid

BSA Special Feature: Homemade videos at Urvanity 2019

Just in case you didn’t catch these verite recordings of some scenes in Madrid last weekend for Urvanity – here are the original captures by Jaime Rojo, seamed together.

Isaac Cordal Site Specific Installation at Urvanity 2019 Art in Madrid

Penique Productions Site Specific Installation at Urvanity Art 2019 in Madrid.

Pro176 Mural for Urvanity Art 2019 in Madrid

1010 Pedestrian Installation in Madrid for Urvanity Art 2019

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Bayonne Diary, From Alban Morlot’s Point of View

Bayonne Diary, From Alban Morlot’s Point of View

Here in Basque country you can casually drive between Bilbao (Spain) and Bayonne (France) as if you were just heading out to the shopping mall to buy new kicks. The signs of course are in multiple languages (Spanish, French, Basque) and there is much more political street art in these towns- addressing topics like fracking, racism, women’s rights and amnesty for political prisoners.

With an atmosphere that is more politically charged than other parts of the world, you can quickly forget it when you see so many rolling green hills dotted with puffy round sheep and old white farm houses along the highway.

1UP Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arriving in Bayonne we were happy to see many of the medieval small streets still boast Gothic-style cathedrals, a cloister here, the occasional castle there. It’s a walkable city with centuries of history, conservative cultural values, and a cool Street Art festival from the last few years called Points de Vue. Co-Founder Alban Morlot obliged us with a tour of the city and a multitude of murals produced over the past few years (You can read here our article of the recent 2018 edition of the festival with exclusive images from Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer).

Pantonio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here and in Lyons and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.

With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism.

Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth.

A topic close to our heart for a decade, they also began a new film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.

RNST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here, Lyons, and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.

With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism. Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth. A topic close to our heart for a decade, they have also began a film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.

RNST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As we walk through a very windy afternoon that kicks up the new construction dust that coats this neighborhood by the river, Alban talks to us about the suspicious embrace of locals and politicians of his work, the various working personalities of artists for the festival, the creation of a new currency by the Basque community, the tradition of socialist bars and political activists in the neighborhood, and his own connection to graffiti that began when he was hanging out in his hometown of Pau as a teenager with other skaters.

“We would listen to music, smoke a blunt, and skate all day. At some point graffiti became my culture,” he says of those times that formed his character and informed his aesthetic eye. “I don’t think I realized it at the time when I was a teenager but by the time I was 25 I said to myself ‘this is my culture’. I know I’m not the only one to feel this way but I knew that I wanted to share this experience and make it visible for other people in my generation.”

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Walking and riding in a car to see murals, small installations, illegal graffiti, and formally approved artworks, you may wonder how this organizer and curator looks at his position in an evolving urban art scene that has witnessed the arrival and departure of many over the last 15 years. He says that his work has always centered on the artists, and that despite the chaos and change, this may be why he perseveres.

“My job is to know the artist and learn where they want to go and what their context is,” says Alban. “Afterwards I let them express their hearts without any conditions because I want them to have the maximum pleasure to produce their art. This way you receive the best from them.”

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You may wonder where this philosophy comes from, and ask if he always felt this way.

“I think I just love artists so much,” he says. “People at Space Junk often ask me if I am an artist and I am not. I just consider artists to be very important in our lives and in society and I think we have to put artists in the middle of the system and not like they are just observers. I think artists belong in the center of society and I think people have to learn again how to listen to what they have to say. The way they present society is a very different point of view that helps us to understand who we are, who our neighbors are and help us to drive together.”

Our sincere thanks to Alban and Jérome for their work and hospitality and we hope you enjoy some of these pics from Bayonne.

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Oak Oak (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Deuz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Arepo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Veksavan Hillik (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Veksavan Hillik (photo © Jaime Rojo)
C215 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
C215 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dourone (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mantra (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Xabier Anunsibai & Sebas Velasco (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Urvanity 2019: Isaac Cordal’s Dire Courtyard Installation

Urvanity 2019: Isaac Cordal’s Dire Courtyard Installation

A large installation in the center of Urvanity by Street Artist Isaac Cordal went up and came down while we were in Madrid this past week, and we were fortunate to see how such a vision is realized in the midst of a modern school of architecture campus. We also witnessed the responses of guests who circled the ex-urban tale of with cocktails in hand, or in the case of sunny afternoons, reclining alongside it on the artificial green turf.

Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

At a commercial art fair of this caliber it was thrilling, chilling, to see this large scale courtyard installation depicting absurd and psychologically dire scenarios playing out in the wake of crises. This is the kind of discourse that gives a place gravitas, and may provide a route to go forward.

Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But Cordal doesn’t regale us with color and vividly drawn character studies that some how charm us into a Dantean vision of circles and layers of hell. His dimly illuminated and apocalyptic tale is heavy and grey and in such slow motion you may not realize it is moving.

Here finally are the Business Class, climbing as ever, now also sinking into the toxic soil they created, the world translated as one continuous privatized prison complex.

Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal. Site Specific installation.Urvanity Art 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Urvanity Madrid Diary 5: Selections From Urvanity Art Fair

Urvanity Madrid Diary 5: Selections From Urvanity Art Fair

This week BSA is in Madrid to capture some highlights on the street, in studio, and at Urvanity 2019, where we are hosting a 3 day “BSA TALKS” conference called “How Deep Is the Street?” Come with us every day to see what the Spanish capital has happening in urban and contemporary.

“Urvanity seeks to explore and thus imagine possible future scenarios for this New Contemporary Art,” they say boldly in the manifesto for this art fair/cultural platform in Madrid. A thrilling nexus is created here in this college campus of architecture where art from the streets is evolving in such ways that it is invited to come in from the street.

Isaac Cordal. SC Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whatever your perspective is on this evolution, we encourage the conversation – which usually contains elements of tribalism (various), resistance, acceptance, even euphoria. During breaks from hosting the BSA Talks this weekend we are also skipping and swerving through the crowds to look at the art that galleries have on offer.

Anthony Lister, Marion Jdanoff and Victor Ash. Urban Spree Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here we offer a very quick sample of some items that have caught our eye, looked fresh, or were indicative of larger movements in the so-called “scene”. And we use the word “scene” very loosely, because there is really not such thing as a homogeneous scene, only a constellation of them which are intersecting, coalescing, and redefining themselves. Some pieces are remarkable.

Here is the past, existing side by side with the future.

Jan Kalab. MAGMA Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Miss Van. Fousion Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Okuda. The Rainbow Mountain Installation. Detail. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Okuda in collaboration with his mother. The Rainbow Mountain Installation. Detail. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hendrik Czakainski. Urban Spree Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dmitri Aske. Ruarts Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
D*Face. Stolen Space Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz .Wunderkammern Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz .Wunderkammern Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pro176. Swinton Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sabek. Swinton Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sam3. Doppelganger Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
2501 .Wunderkammern Gallery. Urvanity Art Fair 2019. Madrid, February 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Isaac Cordal: Startling Figures Mid-Motion in Finnish Forest

Isaac Cordal: Startling Figures Mid-Motion in Finnish Forest

When your furtive and preoccupied sculptures are placed on ledges and moldings above harried pedestrian traffic in the city, we call it Street Art. When they are mounted in the soil in the woods amid deer and moose traffic we call it Land Art. Perhaps there are more erudite and academic descriptions of those distinctions available in a white paper somewhere.

Here in Lanpinjarvi, Finland where the days are short this time of year and even the marshy lands can be frozen solid, Spanish Street Artist Isaac Cordal is instead expansive, bringing a new trio of sculptures to the wild, and the difference between his urban and rural art is remarkable.

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)

“Logistically, the project was very complex as we had to deal with situations where the temperature was below freezing (the clay was freezing while we worked on it),” he says. “The days were also very short (at 3:00 pm it was night time), the distance we had to transport the material was very long.”

It is as if Cordal had been storing this energy in his work, unready to expand the spaces in between matter. His figures here have great ease, a whirring together of atomic energies that capture the action between actions.

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)

What are we, but earth and time – our elements are drawn from its elements, no more, no less? Here in the wooded area, Cordal stages a midstage, all of it amid life, ready to take it on.

Those miniature concrete businessmen that have made Cordal known in city streets, their faces and suits rough-hewn and rumpled and frozen in their existential mire, are reflected here in these life-size figures as well, but somehow these become accountable, relatable. Previously mournful, his new figures appear contemplative and rather at ease, not in need of a chiropractor – just a limb here and there.

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)

Isaac Cordal. Landart Lanpinjarvi in Finland. November 2018. (photo courtesy of Isaac Cordal)


This project was carried out for Landart Lanpinjarvi, and Isaac would like to extend his thanks to Antonio Arosa, Pete Rantapää, Henrik Lund, David Eirin and Marit Hohtokari and all the people involved in the project for making it possible.


 

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BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.

Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.

Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.

And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.


Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.

1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola

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UPEA Finland 2018, A Cross Country Installation of Quality Murals

UPEA Finland 2018, A Cross Country Installation of Quality Murals

UPEART 2018 in Finland took place during the month of September including 20 international and local artists in 12 different cities across the country.

Case Maclaim. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Today we give you a recap of some favorite scenes from the festival across many cities of Finland thanks to the vision and organizing of Jorgos Fanaris and his team who collectively direct the festival from their headquarters in a post-industrial neighborhood of Helsinki. While there is a proud graff scene and history here, and the city has areas like the Pasila Street Art District, the capital is usually known as a sparkling international city of islands and a peninsula by the Gulf of Finland facing Tallinn, Estonia across the bay.

Proudly humble, elegant and rationally romantic, the city is flanked on all sides by arts and culture, low and high, with historical art institutions like the National Museum as well as the more contemporary Kiasma and cross disciplinary Kunsthalle Helsinki. A deeper rooted cultural history is also apparent in the traditional wooden architecture, the influence of its neighbors Sweden and Russia, and its ability even today to evolve with the most modern of global design practice.

Case Maclaim. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For urban explorers like ourselves who wander the margins and explore the forgotten, neglected parts of the metropolis, it was a bit of a shock to see 8 charming Finnish cities and towns in only a few days – interspersed with millions of birch tree forests and sweeping vistas of farmland, with Russia visible at one point just across a canal.

We drove from uncongested towns surrounded by woodlands like Joensuu and Hyvinkää to midsized cities like Tampere and Espoo, using a stick shift Volkswagen and minding the speed cameras on a smooth and well maintained system of roads and highways. Usually we’re looking out for rats and broken glass and homeless drug users, not slow-moving farming tractors and wily-eyed moose who may cross your path.

Case Maclaim. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But the murals! Choosing from among some of the most accomplished painters and planners of design in the current international scene, Fanaris relies on his own history with graffiti, hip hop, and perhaps the Finnish National Opera when selecting participants to invite.

The quality is high in many instances throughout the mural program and municipalities are gifted with some works may prove timeless – until they fade. Perhaps more decorative than transgressive as a whole, these are public works made in collaboration with local tastes. Some meanings are buried beneath layers, others more obvious and on the surface. An unrealized irony of many “legit” mural programs like this one is many of these artists used to do the illegal stuff too.

As UPEART travels and evolves it will be interesting to see how it changes. Fanaris tells us that the future will include installations, sculpture, even performance as the festival becomes more integrated with communities. With a solid foundation of curation on a massive country-wide scale in these first three years, we look forward to see where UPEART moves next.

Mantra. UPEArt Finland 2018. Hyvinkää, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When I was a child I was not curious about painting,” Mantra says, “I was more curious about what I could find in the garden so that’s why I spent a lot of time studying these insects and these animals.” Later he shows us images of butterflies and other winged creatures rendered in high fidelity inside decaying factory rooms, including a large dead bird lying on its side. “I painted this because I had seen a dead bird in the garden only a week before.”

Read more: Mantra in Hyvinkää for UPEART Festival 2018 Finland – Dispatch 5

Mantra. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Hyvinkää, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Mantra)

Mantra. UPEArt Finland 2018. Hyvinkää, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Mantra)

Sainer. UPEArt Finland 2018. Helsinki, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think my work is changing recently,” he says. “I have liked to do plainer paintings – like small landscapes . I’m not really into the characters that much in the same way that I was. When I do paint characters they are in the shadow. I like the idea of making portraits where the portrait is not the most important part of the painting.”

BSA: That’s so anti-intuitive – because normally that would be the center focal point, right?

Sainer: Yes – even here the portrait is central but I am trying to play all around it just to hide it. It’s just one of the ideas that I am trying to work with these days.

Read more from our interview with Sainer here.

Sainer. UPEArt Finland 2018. Helsinki, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Waone. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Kotka, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ukrainian artist Waone, of Interesni Kazki titled his mural “Spirit of Antique Book”.

“Reading the real book in the age of technology and internet may look rare and a kind of old fashioned, but not for me,” he says. “This mural ‘Spirit of Antique Book’ I dedicated to all book lovers. It represents the wonderful way to escape from ordinary life to extraordinary worlds, and depicts that magic moment when you read the book and lose yourself between the pages.”

BSA: Does it concern you that school children today are becoming unfamiliar with reading traditional books on paper?

Waone: Hmm I didn’t think about books in schools, in Ukraine we still use “normal” books… But I’m sure normal books will become more and more rare. I don’t judge it and I’m not saying that’s good or bad. I just love the book esthetic, a strong symbol of knowledge.”

Waone. UPEArt Finland 2018. Kotka, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Natalia Rak. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Joensuu, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Natalia Rak. UPEArt Finland 2018. Joensuu, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sepe. UPEArt Finland 2018. Jyväskylä, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Jyväskylä, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano. UPEArt Finland 2018. Jyväskylä, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Jyväskylä, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Helen Bur. UPEArt Finland 2018. Kotka, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Eero Lampinen. Work in progress. UPEArt Finland 2018. Helsinki, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of his own work, he says, “It’s like a mix of fantasy with contemporary and realistic elements – kind of magic realism. I like to play around with fashion different types of characters.”

The characters are here in the evolving mural – three figures who are working the runways of the street in distinctly different styles.

“There is a night demon, a rubber-outfit person, and then an older character,” he says, “They are all walking separate ways in the streets – and it plays around with this street.”

Read more with Eero Lampinen here.

Eero Lampinen. UPEArt Finland 2018. Helsinki, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Eero Lampinen)

Pertti Jarla. UPEArt Finland 2018. Tampere, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fabio Petani. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Salo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fabio Petani. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Salo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fabio Petani. UPEArt Finland 2018. Salo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Lisalmi, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm. UPEArt Finland 2018. Lisalmi, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Leon Keer. UPEArt Finland 2018. Salo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Leon Keer. UPEArt Finland 2018. Salo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Robert Proch. Detail. UPEArt Finland 2018. Joensuu, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Robert Proch. UPEArt Finland 2018. Joensuu, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal made a number of interesting installations in Karakallio in Espoo, including a haunting series of small buildings attached on trees throughout the forest.

Read more about Isaac Cordal at UPEA Art Festival 2018 – Finland. Dispatch 3

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. UPEArt Finland 2018. Espoo, Finland. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

NOTE: No trees were damaged by installing the birdhouse sculptures on them.


All the participating artists on UPEArt 2018 are: Andrew Hem, Case Maclaim, David De La Mano, Eero Lampinen, Fabio Petani, Gummy Gue, Helen Bur, How & Nosm, Isaac Cordal, Jussi Twoseven, Kenor, Leon Keer, Mantra, Natalia Rak, Pertti Jarla, Robert Proch, Sainer, Sepe, Silja Selonen and Waone.

 

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