All posts tagged: Magic City Dresden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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Belgian urban naturalist ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville . ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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Bordalo II (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andy K. detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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Replete (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Truly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Leon Keer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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

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

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Full list of participating artists:

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

 

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

 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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A Magic City Slowly Unfolds In Dresden : Artists Building Now

A Magic City Slowly Unfolds In Dresden : Artists Building Now

“The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions,” says curator Carlo McCormick when talking about the new show opening in Dresden, Germany this week in a former engine factory called Magic City : The Art of the Street.

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AIKO at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

Along with curator Ethel Seno and a creative team (full disclosure, BSA is part of it) McCormick is evoking an interstitial city that rises from the streets in many urban centers globally. Whether it is graffiti, Street Art, urban interventions, detournement, adbusting, or myriad cultural refinements, artists and activists are commonly, sometimes radically, altering the city and our experience of it.

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Mad C at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

By engaging some of the best visual and intellectual examples of the whole current scene with a full knowledge of our recent past, Magic City lays out a route for you to appreciate the individual and a sense of the cumulative. It’s bold and somewhat romantic move to look for magic in the Graffiti / Street Art / Urban Art scene. Some may argue that it consists of nothing less.

Over the last few weeks about 40 artists have been installing brand new pieces and environments in the long wide factory space in advance of the grand preview this weekend. Here are some process shots of the building of a Magic City.

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OLEK at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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OLEK at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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ROA at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Ernest Zacharevic at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Benuz at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Qi-Xinghua at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Replete at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Ori Carino and Benjamin Armas at work on their piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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WENU at work on their piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Jens Besser at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Leon Keer at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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SpY. Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Discovering a “Magic City” in Dresden, Germany

Discovering a “Magic City” in Dresden, Germany

A couple of weeks ago BSA was in Dresden, Germany to help lay plans for a new Street Art show opening there this fall called “Magic City” and naturally we hit the streets with bicycles three days in a row to see the city’s graffiti, Street Art, and murals whenever time would permit. The first day we had the honor of getting a tour from Jens Besser, an artist, author, lecturer, and producer of mural festivals in the city who sped ahead of us through a labyrinth of streets to show us a number of the impressive murals he and partners have brought to the city in the last decade or so.

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Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jens is also a local historian and cultural observer so whether we were talking about a graffiti tag, aerosol hand styles, the Fürstenzug mural of 23,000 porcelain tiles, the overflow of the Elbe River during a European flood in 2002 or the architectural subterfuge of a former cigarrete factory/mosque named Yenidze that escaped allied bombings in 1945, he proved a friendly, adept and educational host.

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Optic Ninja – a hand rendered wheat paste. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We did some investigating on our own later through Dresden’s more bohemian/neglected gritty neighborhoods but that first tour clued us in to some of the magic that can be found in this city that lies only two hours south of Berlin. The multitude of skills and voices on the street added additional color to the rich conversations we were invited to contribute to by sage and storied writer, critic and chief curator Carlo McCormick. Carlo generously asked us to be a part of his vision of a “Magic City”, a constructed simulacrum and somewhat surreal streetscape with 30+ artists creating new works of many disciplines and mediums inside a former plane engine factory here, and for years we have provided a platform for this form of storytelling on BSA so it’s fantastic to bring to a theater setting here.

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Optic Ninja (photo © Jaime Rojo)

McCormick has an intense affinity for the artists and the creative spirit that rivals how extensively he is versed in the antecedents, undercurrents, and greater intellectual and cultural implications of this world that is loosely described as Street Art or Urban art. We’re honored that Carlo tapped us to create a BSA Film Program to work within this newly designed city and to expand the definitions and perceptions of freewill art in the public sphere. Likewise we are grateful to the incredibly talented and ingenious Magic City team under the leadership of Christoph Scholz for inviting us on board for this project – all of which we’ll tell you more about soon.

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“Auch das Team von Brooklyn Street Art (Steven P. Harrington und Jaime Rojo) und das Kuratorenteam um Carlo McCormick und Ethel Seno freut sich, Euch als Magic Citizens ab 1. Oktober in der Magic City in der Zeitenströmung Dresden begrüßen zu dürfen. Der Vorverkauf startet am 3. August!” #MagicCityLife  (Photo © Frank Embacher)

In the meantime, here are new images from Dresden for you along with some more information about the upcoming show.

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Frm-Kid . Otecki for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in DresdenFriedrichstadt . Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Other . Saddo for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curarted by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mono Gonzalez. Dabtar . Gregor for Time for Murals. Curated by Jens Besser and Denise Ackermann. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Graphic Surgery for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JBAK. Detail. For CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ryan Spring Dooely . Moneyless for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenor . H101 for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artourette (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A day and night diptych from Jens Besser (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jens Besser. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jens Besser. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jens Besser (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No Name . No Game. – An “open source” roller tag repeated often and seen in many locations in Dresden. We found this one poignant because of the placement of a commercial real estate developer above it, effectively showcasing two uneasy players in the ongoing discussion about the role of art and artists in the gentrification of neighborhoods. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ZCKR Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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SMC . GWK . ZBG (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more check out #magiccitylife  magiccity.de

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A version of this article was also published on The Huffington Post

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