Somber and sorrowful, this distance in between. Distance between people geographically, politically, ideologically. Distance between dreams and reality, between what is possible and what we achieve. Yet, we’ve seen that each of these distances can be bridged.
That allegory is plain and obvious in the new exhibition curated by Sasha
Bogojev at Berlin’s BC gallery called “The Distance Between”.
Perhaps because of their personal backgrounds, or in spite of it, three Street Art talents of today (one of them a duo) address a series of politically charged and ultimately human crises that play out on an international stage today. Because of their own nationalities, one may surmise their points of view quickly, but in arts’ expression we can find greater complexities, gradations, and subtleties.
Iranian brothers Icy & Sot, Israeli Addam Yekutieli (aka Know Hope), and Italian aerosol artist Eron each come to the global migration crisis from distinct perspectives, each willing to explore the human cost of war, dislocation, grief, longing.
Unconventional pairings perhaps, these makers of metaphor and poetry and gesture, yet in their nexus lies a certain possible common understanding. In the minds of some these collaborations could be unthinkable, so their work product is charged with socio-politics by its mere existence. The understated presentation in the gallery setting is suitably serious and somewhat cramped, with room for the cracked smile of irony, and disgust.
“The Distance Between” is currently on view at the BC Gallery located at Libauerstraße 14 10245 Berlin
You can see the rupture, the built-up cells of swollen tissue around it, the soreness festering, never quite healing.
Hope is in BedStuy studying the internal topography of external scars, and
gathering materials to map it in an atlas.
relationship between physical scars and geopolitical ones are obvious once he
lays out the similarities for you.
I will be doing is eventually finding scars that resemble the shapes of borders
and creating a re-imagined map of The Israeli/Palestinian region and it
includes its participants – the only criterion is that they need to be people
who are living in the region.”
An Israeli Street Artist with an appreciable international collectors record for his illustrative metaphors of brokenness and healing, the artist is embarking on perhaps his most significant new body of work – and not surprisingly it is about the body, and the body politic that is intimately familiar with pain.
a project called “A Human Atlas” which focuses on the
analogy between human scars and national borders,” he says as he illustrates on
a tilted wooden desktop and signals toward the small works pinned to the wall.
“So I have been collecting and documenting testimonials about scars and people
sharing the stories behind them; with different anecdotes and personal
reflections on them.”
Here in Brooklyn, one is far away from the Israeli/Palestinian rupture, yet often cheek-to-jowl with it. One owns the deli on the corner, the hat store across the street is owned by the other. In a city where 800 languages are spoken, the strife between just two factions is mollified inside a world collection of cultures and the daily roar of all these voices.
The sensitivity necessary to become an artist can be both a blessing and a curse, and often you can see it personified. A man of letters, his work on brick street walls and billboards has often been literary, if necessary, reflexively cryptic – coming from a part of the world so gripped by a continuous war that the air itself can feel thick with hostility. Intentionally or not, the wounds and the scars are always on display.
With the air conditioner rumbling as a low thunder around your conversation in this BedStuy brownstone, he tells you how the project is materializing as he studies the scars of others, perhaps comparing them to his own.
“I’ve been documenting and photographing the scars of people and collecting the stories. I still haven’t gotten around to figuring out how the artworks will actually be…” There are raised reliefs and pencil sketches floating beneath the text on the wall here at the BedStuy Residency. There are the tight and precise monochromatic illustrations using his now-familiar nomenclature of severed limbs, bodies contorted in a singular dance, white flags and doves and non-sequitorial glimpses of prose.
made a conscious decision not to decide on what I wanted the project to be. I
just started by meeting people, which is still going on,” he says as he
describes the organic process that he is taking, letting the end game reveal
itself to him.
“With time I realize that it needs to be a book,” he says. “The information that is usually written in an atlas will be comprised
of the stories that they share. And there will be maps and different mediums.”
It occurs to you that just as Street Art is an external expression that reflects the psychological, emotional state of the society back to itself, the mapping of cities is a tour of our common internalities. Know Hope appears to be looking for a physical way to trace the ruptures in his region with a desire that in the process, he can bring common healing. But first, he is studying the topography of the region and the nature of the wounds.
BSA: Before you told me about this project, minutes ago, I was talking to you about how you have arranged the furniture and your art materials in this residency space and how this place was conceivably tracing a map inside your head and consciously or not you have arranged things because they matched the map. You were saying that you moved the table in a certain direction and distance because it “felt better”. You can’t quantify it. So when I think about the scars in the maps – scars or something that we want to be healed and maybe the process of tracing them – it’s like you are saying if that person could walk along that fissure, that wound, that rupture it might help heal, I don’t know.
Know Hope: Yeah and I think that there is something about wanting to take these separate scars and separate individual experiences and mend them together to create something collectively.
BSA: To have the common shared experience…
Know Hope: The idea is – the spark that is the initial metaphor – is that scars and borders share a lot of similar traits, common traits. They are both a product of circumstance – something happens to you or to a body or to the land. A war and a wound happe either by design or accident or an act of violence or through surgery.
At this moment it all comes together, this falling apart. You can see how Know Hope knows, and how the Atlas will become an important reference for our time.
kind of develop this long-term relationship with the scar or the wound that
ends up becoming the scar.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Calligrafreaks Project – A New Era of Writing 2. Who Is My Brother? 3. Graffiti Hunting In NYC – Beyond The Streets 2019 Via Migz Tatz 4. Gray Mountain, Green Room 5. CARDI B Interviews Bernie Sanders
BSA Special Feature: Calligrafreaks Project – A New Era of Writing
In a collaborative gallery space or at a barbecue on Devil’s Mountain, Berlin’s calligraffiti writers and artists are showing off the attitude and exactitude of the city as well as the evolution of this artform.
Hosted by Theosone at the “Scriptorium Berlin” and
curated by Makearte, a small selection
of scientists artists are convened at the Letters Temple where artists create
an exhibition with lucid and ornate letter skillz. Later on Devil’s Mountain
(Tefelsberg) they paint together for the first time.
The sound and editing are sharply done by Abstract Monollog with a certain finesse as well.
Who Is My Brother? A Film about artist Ben Farleigh by his brother Jacob Perlmutter
Those kooky middle class artists, making crafty art and movies about each other. Simply loveable aren’t they?
Graffiti Hunting In NYC – Beyond The Streets 2019 Via Migz Tatz
Migz Tatz takes people on graffiti hunting escapades on the regular. Here is his hand-made trip to the Beyond the Streets exhibit in Williamsburg, Brooklyn currently on display – and now extended into late September. Not everyone can get to New York so this is one guys personal experience walking through the exhibit.
Gray Mountain, Green Room
Another homemade video tour without complete attribution to the artists, Jared Amiljo-Wardie wanders along U.S. HWY89 in Arizona. He happens upon a collection of illegal artworks from Gray Mountain that BSA published years ago. It is good to see that an arid climate preserves many of these works – even if he doesn’t know who they are by – because he thinks of them as part of his film making expression. He also describes his adventure with a poetic cadence.
“The earth has begun to reclaim most of the parking lots in Gray Mountain and with time the buildings too but for now it remains in the early stages of decay. As I sweat through perfecting a gimble shot a group of people stop to inspect the apocalyptic scene; an abandoned hotel and gas station. While I do my fourth take I hear windows begin to break. “
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Fra Biancoshock: “Digital Vandalism vs Vandalism on Digital”
2. CANEMORTO: TOYS
3. Dont Fret and Edwin – London/Chicago Wall Texts
4. Know Hope: “Parallels”
Fra Biancoshock: “Digital Vandalism vs Vandalism on Digital”
Real, Digital, Virtual. These three ways of experiencing the world remain distinct, for now.
With his small experiment captured here on video, Street Artist Fra Biancoshock is examining the ‘looking glass’ – that thin gossamer veil that separates our experience of the world and is trying to puncture it.
“Digital tools allow you to change reality; today an act of protest, vandalism or art can be done sitting comfortably in front of your PC,” he tells BSA.
It’s a conundrum – how much of what you see digitally is real. And if you are pre-disposed to expect never to witness the graffiti or Street Art in person, does it even matter whether it actually existed to begin with?
Fra. is not going to give you that answer directly. “The value of an action (be it a protest, an artwork or a provocation) is in the act, whether it is actually done, and how it is introduced to a virtual audience.”
Canemorto are back with tales of their exploits as hard running graffiti kings with blunt instruments, namely their heads. With the wink-wink of a comedy troupe, the three are airing their disgust with the various hypocrisies and poseurs that surround them in the street and in the wider Street Art world that would seek to commodify and capitalize on an organic grass-roots culture. And then there are the conservators…
Aside from the entertainment and the dope rhymes, somehow the brutalist long-pole roller characters that Canemorto create supercede the storyline, rising above and frankly mocking the world with a dead-dog stare. Imposters are many – and very possibly there is a scenario where we’re all a bunch of TOYS.
Dont Fret and Edwin – London/Chicago Wall Texts
Graffiti pen pals Don’t Fret and Edwin have been telecommunicating their thoughts and passages and humorous non-sequitors to one another from Chicago and London via TEXTING. Text-based graffiti writing seems like a natural analogue to this digital transmission and this video bears witness to the experience of sharing – with your buddy as a live aerosol printer of your ideas on a wall thousands of miles away.
“It has been an interesting sort of “graffiti pen pals” project,” Dont Fret tells us, “and with the Brexit vote and our Presidential election madness, our project kind of transformed into 2 artists trying to relate and understand what is happening across each others Atlantic.”
Know Hope: “Parallels”
There are certain parallels between geopolitical situations in different regions, and the Israeli Street Artist/fine artist KNOW HOPE likes to lead you up to that dividing line and leave you there.
“This is an abbreviated version of video diptychs from the installation ‘Parallels’ presented as part of ‘Wall Drawings – Icônes Urbaines’ commissioned by and currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon.
For this installation, a series of outdoor interventions were created during the artists stay in Lyon.
The documentation of these interventions in-situ were later juxtaposed with other representations of borders or the meeting point of two separate realities, allowing a correspondence and reflection on the notions of territory, identity and our emotional structures.”
This year represents a high-water mark for current Street Artists being represented at the New York fairs if what we have just seen over the last couple of days is any indication. For those who have been following the trajectory of the new kids we’ve been talking about for the last decade, the room is rather getting a lot more crowded. Only a handful of years ago names that produced blank stares at your forehead and a little sniff of dismissal are garnering an extra lingering moment near the canvas and snap of the cellphone pic, complimentary champagne flute in hand.
With the gusts of wind provided by a couple of recent auctions, optimism about an up-turning economy, and even the Banksy one-month residency, it is not hard to imagine that we have some “overnight” stars in the midst of this constellation, but it is really anyone’s guess.
While we are certainly aware of it, we don’t dedicate too much ink to the commercial aspect of the Street Art scene, preferring to learn the lingua franca of these artists who have developed their narrative and visual style before our eyes, to celebrate experimentation, the creative spirit, and to give a pedestrian view of the street without being pedestrian.
But just as neighborhoods like Bushwick in Brooklyn, El Raval in Barcelona, LA’s downtown Arts District, and parts of London, Berlin, and Paris have been transforming by gentrification, we would be remiss if we didn’t note the more frequent raising of commercial eyebrows all around us when the topic turns to Street Art. It’s not a fever pitch, but can it be far off? There is already a solid first tier that everyone can name – and the stratification is taking shape below it.
Buffeted by blossoming sales of works by early 2000s Street Artists and the burgeoning of lifestyle companies now appropriating this cultural wealth and transforming it into “content” that helpfully couriers all manner of merch from spirits to soda, sneakers, and electronic smoking devices, we are looking for our seat belts as there a major shift in popular acceptance and critical embracing of 21st century Street Artists up ahead.
As for the streets, the flood is going to continue. Street Art is Dead? Yes, we’ve been hearing this since 2002…
Here’s a brief non-specific and uneven survey of only some work showing this weekend by current or former Street Artists and graffiti writers – perhaps a third of what you can see in the New York fairs and satellite galleries.
Not quite spring, the Art Fairs are arriving in New York ahead of the tulips. We strolled the impossibly long aisles and peered into the booths to find the folks who have at other times been called “Street Artists”. This weekend they’ll be fine artists, and the list is quite a bit longer than years past as the professionalization of the street continues.
Shows like the Armory, Scope, Volta, and Fountain are good testing venues to see the commercial viability for many of these artists and some have foregone representation – preferring to foot the bill on their own. Since walking the streets to see their work requires multiple layers and hats and gloves – traipsing through the fairs can be far preferable than dirty old Brooklyn streets. It’s also nice to see how some of these folks look in a tie or a blouse – or even just hit a comb. Here below we include some possible gems for you to hunt down.
Today we jump right in to the warm Honolulu waters for a swim before padding barefoot up to the painted walls of Pow! Wow! where photographer Martha Cooper is waiting camera in hand and looking for a fly swatter to smack down a camera drone that is buzzing around her head and getting in the way of her shots.
Here’s part deux of some of Ms. Cooper’s pics from PW 2014, beginning with an aquatic version of the sort of poker-playing canines popularized by illustrationist and painter Cassius Marcellus Coolidge about a hundred years ago that still persist in the offices of law firms and investment banks today. This large scale variation is by street humorist Ron English.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: Augustine Kofie in Paris with TRBDSGN, C215 is “Dreaming In The Back of The Classroom”, Ben Slow with Jim McElvaney and Best Ever in London, and Know Hope prepares for “The Abstract And The Very Real”.
BSA Special Feature: Augustine Kofie
in Paris with TRBDSGN
Kofie, Hobz and Honda address the wall schematically and with precision; an integrated and collaborative conversation with cans, tape, diffusers, an improvised protracter, and cell phones of course. It’s an unassuming record of a dedicated trio working together while kids fly by on transportation methods that are similarly time-tested as well as improvised.
C215 is Dreaming In The Back of The Classroom
For his recent TED Talk Christian Guémy reveals his philosophical approach to his creativity on the street, the impact of his personal relationships and his life path on his work. It is instructive to see the profound effect of a persons’ biography on the selection of work and even how it is expressed on the street.
(Turn the CAPTIONS button on lower right corner for subtitles)
Ben Slow, Jim McElvaney and Best Ever in London
Four guys on Old Street in London take on the challenge of a huge wall together at The White Collar Factory by Fifth Wall.
Know Hope prepares for “The Abstract And The Very Real”
The weight of the world, patriotism, and his place in the street. Living in Israel, Street Artist/fine artist Know Hope understands well the personal, the political, the historical – and how a continuously charged environment affects the art he creates. For his new gallery show at Lazarides, the artist reflects on his poetic approach to abstract realities. While examining walls, borders, and fences Know Hope pursues avenues to show how the bonds between emotional perceptions and political ones are inseparable.
The artists are having breakfast at the Goat Farm, and Georgie is yelping in his cage. The year old beagle wants to get out and jump on everybody’s lap and help clean off their plates with his pink tongue and but for right now Emily is looking at the weather channel on her laptop and transfixed by the forecasted rain that could hit tonight’s block party in Edgewood and Know Hope is debating a second helping of scrambled eggs. Somebody plows through the screened door with fresh copies of the local arts newspaper that features JR on the front and the Living Walls 2013 official map inside, and assorted bearded bros are pawing through their iPhones to answer emails and catch Instagram shots of the walls that have gone up so far here in Atlanta.
The Goat Farm is the central meeting spot for the 20 or so artists in this, the 4th Living Walls festival, and you are free to wander the grounds of this 19th-century complex of industrial buildings that made cotton machinery and munitions during two of its previous iterations. Now it has a few hundred artists studios, performance spaces, and cool little places to hang out and talk about the new walls by artists like 2501, Inti, Agostino Iacurci, and many others in neighborhoods like Summer Hill and Edgewood. Naturally, you can also hang out with the goats in their penned off area or be entertained by the personality-plus chickens that walk freely around the sprawling grounds.
Last night was the kick off Movie Night party at Callenwolde Arts Center and BSA gave the room of 200+ guests an entertaining tour of about 15 Street Art videos from around the world called “Street Art in Motion”. After giving a bit of history about BSA and our involvement with the arts in general and Street Art in particular we introduced three categories that we think represent Street Art in video right now – “Explorers, Experimenters, and Anti-heroes”. Drawn from the archives of BSA Film Friday we looked at works from a group in Tel Aviv, Vhils in Brazil, Vexta in India, Conor Harrington in Norway, Creepy in the Australian outback, MOMO in Jamaica, Various and Gould in Instanbul, and Jay Shells in Brooklyn, among others.
It was great to invite special guest RJ Rushmore from Vandalog introduce a video from Evan Roth and we ended the hour and half presentation with the most popular video of the year so far, “Infinite” featuring Sofles slaying wall after wall in a mammoth abandoned building – a perfect combining of stop action editing and low-tech special effects that pulls together all three of our themes of exploration, experimentation, and a bit of the badass anti-hero stance. By the time the drums and bass stopped pounding on the speakers we were ready for a visit to the bar and some excited talking about music, spraycans, and the city’s longest continually operating strip club, the Clermont Lounge.
Living Walls 2013 typifies the rolling feast of Street Artists, neighborhood and volunteering that can put together like-minded creators and fans in a harmonious collaborative way. With so many energetic and organized volunteers, its just a good vibe, and the work on the walls reflect a quality and a developed sense of concept that sets up Living Walls Atlanta as a standard of sorts that you may want to study. Even when your car battery goes dead and you need to find a new one to continue touring, its great to see that there is a genuine sense of that thing called southern hospitality here in the city, and we have already met some great neighbors on the street who are happy with the artists and the walls, some even honking and giving the “thumbs up” from their passing cars.
Here’s our first group from Living Walls Atlanta this year. Hope you dig.
This August, Tel Aviv-based artist Know Hope makes his solo debut at Lazarides Rathbone with a new exhibition, The Abstract and The Very Real.
Addressing the human condition and its collective social existence through a series of unique works and a site-specific installation, the exhibition questions the ubiquitous notion of the ‘”abstract and the very real”, the weight and burden of which though universally apparent is often unidentifiable to most.
Appropriating found objects, vintage frames and old papers, Know Hope will fill the exhibition with assemblages that visually embody abstract concepts of memory and temporality. Reclaimed materials will come together breaking free from the confines of canvas or frame, his archetypal character crawling from one to the next with the frames representing the empty spaces in our lives and our undying struggle to fill them.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: Bomb It 2 by Jon Reiss launches and Sampo Graffiti: Ignoto from Brazil.
BSA Special Feature: Bomb It 2
by director Jon Reiss
About to debut in August and through the fall, the sequel to the global graffiti documentary Bomb It travels to a number of far-flung cities you are vaguely aware of, much less imagine as locations of a graffiti or Street Art scene. In fact, one of the strengths of this movie is the subtle and not-so-subtle imparting of the realities of daily life elsewhere that are revealed while in the course of tracking graffiti and Street Art. Yes, Street Art makes a much heavier impression in this tale than one might expect from a movie called Bomb It 2, but don’t let terminology blind you from seeing the people behind the paint.
Using a tiny camera that jumps to the beat of the always-gyrating soundtrack, Reiss takes you to the Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank and you can feel the utterly constrictive hand around your neck while people nervously paint at night under guard. A short time later you learn the details of the brutal punishment called caning as it applies to graffiti writers in Singapore. Next you are in Thailand where painting on a wall almost feels like a spiritual practice. As much as graff writers like to generalize about the “rules” of graffiti in your city, the Bomb It movies tell you that they don’t apply universally.
Of course it doesn’t pretend to interview every single writer and Street Artist in every single city on the globe (as will be a critique no doubt), but that would require a movie that is 400 hours long. However you will witness the intensity of feelings that bombing/painting/pasting evokes in people and see the fierce devotion that some writers have, learn how it can be an art practice or an act of pure defiance, and hear at least one writer say unequivocally that graffiti saved his life.
With scenes from previously unexplored areas of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia – Bomb it 2 represents a wide range of cultures, styles and beliefs and includes interviews with Klone, Know Hope, Great Bates, Twoone, Darbotz, Killer Gerbil and Zero, Bon, Alex Face, Sloke, Husk Mit Navn, Ash, Phibs, Stormie Mills, Beejoir, Zero Cents, Vexta, MIC, and Xeme, and many more.
Here is a small trailer for you, but for the full show you still have a few days to wait.
SAMPA GRAFFITI / Ignoto
A new installment from a series that focuses on graffiti artists in São Paulo, here is a relaxed installation from Ignoto. The laidback style of his whole approach tells you he’s chilled and the action on the street is unusual because steps away from him are a handful of kids flying kites while he does his work. Click on the CC at the bottom to see a translation of Ignoto’s thoughts on graffiti and art in general.
The show is curated by Sven Davis and includes postcard-sized works by: Aaron De La Cruz
Christopher Derek Bruno
Dana Louise Kirkpatrick
Deth P Sun
Erik Mark Sandberg
Francesco Igory Deiana
How & Nosm
Jacob Magraw Mickelson
James Benjamin Franklin
Kai & Sunny
Kevin Earl Taylor
Mark Dean Veca
Mark Warren Jacques
Michael De Feo
Reginald S. Aloysius
Ryan de la Hoz
Ryan Jacob Smith