Prats de Lluçanès, Manlleu, Sant Julià de Vilatorta, Sant Bartomeu del Grau, and Alpens
Here we have more examples of city meeting rural, traditional meeting Stylez, countryside meeting contemporary, local pride meeting international flavor. In part II of our report from October/November’s Osona Artimur Festival, photographer and street art/mural art expert Fer Alcalá observes that putting together a wide-spread event like this is complicated and rewarding, somewhat like managing the United Nations General Assembly every September.
“The fact is that looking for walls outside the big cities can be an alternative solution for artists and cultural managers due to the difficulties that can be found downtown Barcelona,” says Alcalá and colleague Laura Colomé in their description of the massive event. “The rules about architectural aesthetics, the shortage of legal walls and the strong rivalry make managing big events of this nature a very hard task to do.”
Nonetheless, the community spirit and lust for communicating through art-in-the-streets show in the quality and range of works. The modern world may be awash with a sense of chaos, wonder, and mystery in ways we didn’t imagine; it’s precisely why we need to be outside talking about art with each other to contemplate and process the changes in the context of our collective history.
“Rural contexts become new places for researching, innovation, and promoting art,” they tell us. “It’s fair to say that Osona Artimur festival brings new horizons to art in the countryside of Catalunya and these five pioneer villages.”
Invited artists: Zoer, Ana Barriga, Satone, Nano4814, Luogo Comune, Isaac Cordal, Rosh, Alberto Montes, Jan Vallverdú, Marta Lapeña, Eloise Gillow Artists selected by open call: Twee Muizen, Sergi Bastida, Wedo Goas Artists working on participatory processes: Daniel Muñoz, Chu Doma, Alessia Innocenti, Mateu Targa, Zosen
“Every man is the son of his own works” ~ Miguel de Cervantes.
The greatest writer in the Spanish language was inspired by the character of this region and its arid but fertile elevated plateau when creating his greatest work Don Quixote, a true titan of historical literature and one of the world’s most translated books after the Bible.
His central character is a delusional would-be knight who calls himself The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. His absurdist but imaginative self-regard is echoed in the sheer scale of the grand new Titanes (Titan) mural project. Given the camaraderie among artists and organizers here you may say that the heart of Titanes is more likely aligned with the earthy wit of his sidekick Sancho Panza.
Naturally when these characters are intermingled by an imaginative multi-disciplinary artist like Okuda San Miguel you are not surprised to see the image of movie director Pedro Almodovar co-starring along with Quixote; Okuda’s silo is seated in the filmmaker’s town of Calzada de Calatrava and Almodovar’s richly drawn characters have captured a generation of Spaniards happily. As a rainbow splits the storm clouded sky behind him, it’s precisely this painters intuitive alchemy of reality and fiction that may shake a viewers’ conscience while entertaining them, revealing Titanes as an enormous vehicle of communication.
“The past and present are seen through my geometric and surrealist filters,” says Okuda, who is a principle architect of this audacious public mural project in La Mancha. In an era of perplexing social, political, and economic upheavals, it is comforting to see modern artists take on the messages of the classics, reinterpreting and re-presenting them.
15 or so more murals on silos are on the way here from top talents before the year is complete. The societal outreach is ground-breaking in its own way with an uncommon integration and engagement with the neighboring communities.
“It’s an interesting story,” says photographer Martha Cooper, who shares her images with BSA readers today. “Okuda is working with organizations who help people with disabilities like autism and Down Syndrome. The part of the mural at the base of each one of the silos was painted by a number of these participants,” she says. “And they all seemed to be having a great time.”
Startlingly original and indelibly context-specific, Titanes is a mural/public art project that resides at the intersection of social responsibility and community participation. Organizers say that the goal is not only to bring a roster of well-respected artists here to paint but to be completely inclusive of societal members who aren’t typically thought of as artists.
From now until October, a number of artists from the urban art scene will be transforming silos into art all across this region, including Bicicleta sem Freio, Daniel Muñoz, Demsky J., Equipo Plástico (comprised of Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4814 and Sixe Paredes), Fintan Magee, Hell’O, Smithe, Nychos, Ricardo Cavolo and Spok Brillor. In an unprecedented program of social inclusion through public art, 450 members of the Laborvalía association will also be working alongside the artists on various creative activities.
Already the program has proven life-changing in many ways, say participants, as perspectives and relationships are evolving during the initial painting program. “Okuda worked with one boy with autism while painting his mural,” Martha tells us. “He began to speak and interact after starting to paint – much to his parents’ delight. This part of the project gave it more weight than just the usual “artists-painting-walls” event.”
Organizers say that they hope Titanes will be an epic project that will go down in history as one of the world’s biggest events to promote social inclusion. At its core are Okuda’s own multi-faceted art agency called Ink and Movement, the Laborvalía organization, the Provincial Government of Ciudad Real, and a number of other municipalities and civic and tourism-related fields who are supporting the art and its message throughout society.
Laborvalía says in its mission statement that its principal goal is to promote the integration of people with disabilities in society and the workplace.
Titanes looks like it is the perfect project to make a big impression.
Hell’O Our idea was to mix abstract shapes and figurative elements in a colorful environment. We enjoy playing with the balance between different shapes and finding a homogeneous composition. We wanted to give it an optimistic, pop, fresh touch, something that speaks to everyone
Bicicleta sem Freio
“Os Gigantes de la Mancha” (The Giants of La Mancha) represents the
power of creativity and imagination and its indispensable role in the ability
of human beings to make sense of the world and others, especially among
children and people with disabilities.
Daniel Muñoz & Spok Brillor:
There are a number of concepts behind our intervention. First, it represents 15 years of working together as artists and friends: each medal symbolizes a story from some of the projects we’ve worked on in recent years.
It also reaffirms the building from an architectural standpoint: “decoration” in the sense of an award or honor and not just ornamentation. For us, it’s important to reaffirm the object in itself and not its political history. Finally, there’s an irony in the use of gold and its contrast with bread, a basic product produced by the silo and one that, in reality, was always represented as luminary and powerful in the imaginary of the 20th century.
Equipo Plástico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes)
“Meseta” (Plateau) is a homage to the countryside, to the intractable space surrounding these silos. The tones and patterns of the surrounding areas, their textures and shades, cover every centimetre of the wall like a blanket, giving the building a round, almost sculpted look. Ignoring the limits of the building and symbolically camouflaging it in its environment accentuates its current invisibility after years of neglect and helps lighten the weight of its history.
Demsky & Smithe
In “Parábolas del
Pensamiento” (Parabolas of Thought), we have unified our style, based on the
phases of the brain for creation and thinking: preparation, incubation, illumination
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 1Up Crew, Add Fuel, Alice Pasquini, Ben Eine, Clet, Dan Witz, Dingo, Kill It, La Tabacalera, LaNe Leal, Lelo021, Nano4841, Okuda, Ruben Sanchez, and Wolf.
You may not realize upon first glance through the series of modular white walled temporary gallery rooms, but this fine art on display all has origins in street practice.
Over the past long weekend Madrid’s Urvanity fair at The Palacio Neptuno showcased a sweeping cross-selection of crisply framed names – many of which are being identified as Street Artists en route to “Contemporary Artists”.
Hung at eye level, carefully spaced, and illuminated under tracked lighting, the studio work of nearly 70 Graffiti/Street/Urban artists went on this weekend in one of the first fairs dedicated entirely to this evermore emerging category.
With fresh works from artists like JonOne, Fin DAC, Pixelpancho, Miss Van, Jef Aérosol, Sixe Art, L Atlas, Stikki Peaches, and Ben Eine, it is a mostly Eurocentric roster of galleries you’ve come to know in the last decade or so from places like Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Zurich, London, among others, and of course Madrid. Under the direction of Sergio Sancho, an advertising professional who has worked with major global brands, the fair calls the works on display New Contemporary Art and the program includes a companion mural campaign in Madrid streets featuring Eine, Jason Woodside, L’Atlas, PREF, MESA and Mohammed Lghacham.
While receiving increasing support from serious press, museums, auctions, and festivals over the last decade and a half, it has been a great challenge for both commercial/social and historical/academic scholarship to agree on a moniker for these combined movements and makers – one that fairly encompasses the myriad motivations, styles of expression and intersecting cultures that have evolved from a half century of art on the streets.
With the inauguration of the Urvanity Mahou Talks Program during the fair, featuring again the artist Ben Eine and cultural curator Cedar Lewisohn, this topic and many more that continue to be raised can be examined and discussed in meaningful ways. At BSA we are finding that our participation in these panels, presentations, and discussions as well as being in the audience has furthered our understanding and appreciation for this natural and growing desire of scholarship.
The Urvanity program of conferences, debates and presentations here collect artists, curators and cultural managers with these purposes in mind and naturally will help collectors and fans contemplate these artists at the fair and better appreciate the bridge between the street and the fine art presented here. A strong first showing, you can expect to see Urvanity back again next year.
An outdoor mural from the Urvanity Instagram page. “We are excited to be able to be painting incredible murals in #Madrid. This one is by @oiterone on Calle de la Cebada!”
Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis
Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.
Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.
Sorry, we’re using terms interchangeably, which Schacter will correct us on. Toward that end, we are pleased today to present Mr. Schacter, an anthropologist, researcher of street art, author, and lecturer, here on BSA to share observations and experiences from his most recent project, a fascinating show at the Street Art Museum (SAM) called Crossing Borders /Crossing Boundaries. Our thanks to the artists, only a small number of whom we are able to present here, as well as to the museum for sharing their talent and resources. A full list of the participating artists is at the end of the article.
~ from Rafael Schacter
In May of this year, I spent nearly four weeks in Saint Petersburg curating a large scale exhibition at the Street Art Museum (SAM). The Museum, set in a functioning factory on the edge of the city, is a mammoth site. The first plastics factory in the Soviet Union, the site became partially abandoned in the 1990s after the collapse of communism, and has since been taken over and partly given over to this new museum. Containing huge outdoor and indoor spaces, the museum is truly a dream location to work.
For the summer exhibition this year, we decided to focus on what has been termed the Migration Crisis. Rather than tackling this head on, however, something that I feel can often be crass and exploitative, something that I feel can often be seen to be utilizing peoples’ hardships for artistic ‘gain’, I sought to provide a concept that could explore the theme from a more nuanced angle.
The title of the exhibition, Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, thus attempted to explore the differences between these two terms; words which are often used interchangeably, but are in fact quite distinct.
Utilizing the work of renowned sociologist Richard Sennett, borders were hence posited as zones of high organic interactivity and development, engaged, permeable spaces such as the zones between the land and the sea in which different species thrive, intermix and exchange. In contrast however, boundaries were understood as guarded, impenetrable locations, locations, for example, like the territorial perimeters of creatures such as lions or wolves.
Focusing on these differences, on the fertility and vibrancy of the border compared to the sterility and aridity of the boundary, we then commissioned 20 artists from around the world to produce works on this theme.
Working with artists from a background of street art as well as contemporary art, with video artists and photographers, muralists and artivists, the exhibition is thus truly multi-media and multidisciplinary. I was beyond impressed with the results, all the artists bringing an amazing set of ideas to the table and delivering them in the most fantastic of ways.
We had over 5,000 people come to our launch on May 14th, as well as a huge international conference on the topic of migration taking place in the museum on the same day. Living, working, eating and sleeping in the factory with all of the artists over the entire period of production was tough, to say the least. However the energy was unrelenting, with the artists and the whole team at SAM working without rest to deliver this incredible project.
I’m super proud of what we achieved, to both sensitively and critically explore this theme, to not just provide the traditional liberal consensus positionality but rather to challenge people’s thoughts and ideas on this topic. Who knows what effect it will have, if any. But I hope that the project can push people to think about the topic in a more nuanced rather than binary way.
Following the video are a few of the artists and their work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries
Printed banner on chimney / Acrylic paint on oil barrels / Basketball hoop and backboard on containers, acrylic paint on asphalt
SpY’s deceptively simple yet conceptually ingenious interventions focus on the upturning of spatial and societal norms. Using irony and humour to create a dialogue with the viewer, SpY attempts to impress multiple readings onto a space, re-presenting it as a “frame of endless possibilities”.
His set of works here follow this method precisely. In particular, his giant work Go Home, at first an apparently aggressive, deeply antagonistic phrase (to put it mildly), plays with the variety of meanings that this expression can contain: the very ability to go home, for example, to return back to the place of one’s family, one’s birth, one’s life, is the very thing that most immigrants desire but simply cannot undertake (whether due to war or famine, economic or ecological pressures). To be able to go home is thus a privilege that not all of us have.
As with his famous method of renegotiating the set rules of sporting activities, provoking, as he says “disorder and chaos through context and content”, SpY’s works do not simply invert or subvert their spaces but playfully distort them. They “misuse” their environments to show the latent possibilities that lie within.
Scaffold, laminate photographic prints, flags, and spray paint and acrylic on containers / Acrylic paint on wall
Fillipo’s installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries explores different border zones throughout the globe. From the sea border of North and South Korea to that of Mexico and California; from Morocco and Mauritania to Cambodia and Vietnam; from the invisible border between Northern Mali and the disputed territories of the Azawad; to abandoned NATO bunkers at the Belgian Dutch border, these images present us with some of the most politically fraught locations on the planet which, somehow, contain a strangely alluring beauty. Alongside this, Filippo presents a series of Whatsapp conversations documenting his personal struggle to gain entry into Russia for this exhibition: a series of Kafkaesque scenarios in which he was sent from location to location in a seeming test of his resistance. The installation as a whole can be seen to bring together Filippo’s joint obsession with political, industrial and internet aesthetics.
His mural, A Revolution Nobody Cares About / Nobody Cares About a Revolution speaks, quite loudly, for itself.
Kirill’s work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries arose through his correspondence with curator Rafael Schacter. Focusing on the barrier of language and the complexity of translation, the work is about the impossibility of understanding and the unwillingness to understand. As KIRILL says “I understood only a small percentage of what we discussed and so decided to make this the heart of the work”. It is thus the borders and boundaries of language that KIRILL takes aim. As he continues “there are two borders of misunderstanding: you see unfamiliar letters and you do not understand everything completely. Signifier and signified become equally incomprehensible. Or even it’s a familiar language, but still it is not clear”. Kirill’s work, although colourful and bright, is in fact the image of alienation. The image of the migratory and the incomprehensible.
Gaia and Mata Ruda have produced a monumental work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, a work which functions in the classical tradition of political muralism. Using imagery from the filmmaker Marc Silver and photographers Jonathan Hollingsworth and Alex Kurunis (both of whom show other work within the exhibition itself), Gaia and Ruda present us with an assemblage of figures and artefacts which together convey a dense narrative about contemporary migration. Including individuals and stories from the borders of the USA and Latin America as well as Africa and Europe, the artists also produced a group portrait of three Uzbekistani employees at the factory who work and live in the very site where the mural exists.
The story Gaia and Mata tell is one of inequality and injustice, a story of the imbalance of our contemporary global system. Yet within this it contains hope and strength, the strength of the individuals who strive to fight these inequities on a daily basis.
Nano4814’s half-abstract, half-figurative mural for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries demonstrates the strangely discomforting yet visually arresting style which we can now instantly recognize as his own. Frequently focusing upon the apprehension he has with his own work, Nano’s characters can often be seen to be in states of tension or strain (both literally and metaphorically), an angst reinforced by their compressed captivity within their sites. Moreover, his use of brick-walls, barriers, and wooden shards, symbols that act as leitmotifs throughout his work, play with the idea of boundaries as objects that encourage intrusion and trespass: Like masks, these borders both suggest and occlude a veiled truth, hinting whilst hiding, implying yet escaping. It is thus the very limitation that enables us to venture beyond.
Slides, DIA projector, flags, photographs, socks, coins, drawings in collaboration with Clemens Behr, SPY, Paco, and Fillipo Minelli, computer guts, digital prints, plastic, wood, plexi-glass, mounting hardware, sound installation, radio, headphones, cables, paint, chess set, soviet fabric, and industrial spools.
Double Yippie Hollow Super Power is a joint project between artists Brad Downey from the USA and Igor Ponosov from Russia. Taking inspiration from the parlor game “cadavre exquis” or “exquisite corpse” (a method by which a collection of words or images is collaboratively assembled), the pair have sought to combine the varying national symbols of their home nations into a new, exquisite set of iconic forms. The “unity of the opposites” that they have created – utilizing objects such as flags, coins, and anthems – plays with the sacrality of these national symbols, the almost divine status that they contain. Moreover, it alludes to the strangely intimate relationship that the two countries are entwined in. Whilst apparent opposites, common enemies, both locations create their identity through their connection with the other: the objects Downey and Ponosov have thus created contain both a critical and playful edge. They ridicule the stereotypes of both themselves and each other in the same moment.
2016, Korean ink on wall / Found objects, cement, and acrylic paint on wooden palletes
Jazoo Yang’s Dots series originates from her work in her native Korea, in particular within areas of the city going through the process of redevelopment. Using traditional Korean ink, and solely using her thumbprint (a marking used as a signature on important documents), Yang’s work sought to bring focus on the increasing amount of “redevelopment refugees” in the city
For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, Yang has expanded her Dots Series to incorporate the issue of refugees and migrants in Europe and further beyond. Working mainly on her own but also with immigrant workers from the factory itself, Yang discusses their stories, their histories, their existence with these individuals as they mark the wall together. These imprints act as a record of this moment whilst remaining entirely silent.
In Yang’s Painting Block Works, this theme of memory and regeneration continues. Exploring the violent so central to the contemporary city, Yang wants to ask how much we perceive our lives and make independent decisions within these oppressive environments. She aims to bring these problems to the surface through rebuilding them with the materials we so readily abandon, in Korea using objects from deserted houses and buildings, here in Russia using the detritus and ephemera of the factory itself.
The Final Frontier (Space) / Our House (In the Middle of the Street)
Laminate doors, wooden pallets, wooden battons, hinges, and acrylic paint / Acrylic and spray paint on wall
Mimicking and playing with their settings through a process of transformative deconstruction, Clemens Behr’s geometric shapes and abstract forms come to distort the viewers’ perspective, merging two and three dimensional spaces in a single plane.
His installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries acts as what he terms a “social maze”. Utilising one of the most classic example of borders/boundaries, the common doorway, the work explores the potentially empowering or inhibiting abilities of these structures: as one door opens, another closes, enabling some and disabling others in the same moment. As a participatory sculpture, its visual possibilities become endless. However conceptually it demonstrates how every decision we take effects those around us. Like many of Behr’s installations, this work was produced with what was at hand, in this case the products and detritus of the factory site itself.
Behr’s mural tackles another question however. Playing with the shadows and design of the adjacent fence, with the actuality of space (and time) versus the potentiality of painting, he questions the boundaries of art itself: Can it go beyond reflection to truly generate the new?
Acrylic paint on wall / Barbed wire, steel poles, metal fence, laminate warning signs
Eltono’s mural is a reaction to the absurd rationality of national boundaries. As opposed to the natural flow of borders (as can be seen in perhaps the world’s only natural country, Chile), the carving up of the planet’s boundaries happens at right angles: diagonal, horizontal, and vertical lines cutting up the planet into a perfectly linear patchwork.
As such, Eltono has created his own world map using a generative art technique; using a basic randomizer to choose a digit between 1 and 7, the numbers which emerge then come to define both the color of the country and its borders, indicating the direction that each color, and each boundary will thus take.
Unlike his mural, for his fence installation, Eltono presents us with the opposite of the rationality as seen within maps. Rather, he displays a perfectly irrational object, an upside-down fence. For Eltono, however, the inversion of the fence makes it something lighter, not an object that prevents our movement, but a compact object that can be upended “as if the wind had blown it upside down”. As he continues, “it’s not a massive obstacle anymore. A fence that can be flipped is a territory that can be freed.”
Merijn’s mural has a simple, yet vitally important message. His five globes show us the development from a basic binary of black and white to a densely colored, intricate, heterogeneous space. The final image thus shows us a planet in which, as Merijn says, “everything harmonizes. All the colors are there together and they all work and flow seamlessly with each other. Of course borders exist in many ways, but if we take it a step further and forget about the rules and just go with our feeling this is what I think can be understood as the ideal. That we should not be limited by the rationality of borders. Probably a bit of a cliché. But that’s how I see it and feel it”.
SUPERPROJECT, a two-man design operation spearheaded by visual artist Jasper Niens and industrial designer Thijs Ewalts, focus on computational design and digital fabrication, embracing art, architecture, engineering and technology. For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, they have created Four Zero, a space within a space, a location only accessible through four, tunnel-like entrances. Due to the curvature of the entrances, the visitor is not immediately sure where they will end up. As such, the work is about revealing and concealing, possibility and difficulty; once people enter the space they can either feel locked up and exposed or protected and safe within its embrace.
1001th Island: The Most Sustainable Island in Archipelago
2015/2016. Video, trash, fishing net and wood
Tita Salina’s 1001st Island is a work exploring the changing borders and boundaries of Jakarta. A city which is currently sinking between 2.9 and 6.7 inches per year, and which exists mainly below sea level, Jakarta is currently undertaking a huge land reclamation and producing a 32 kilometer sea wall to try and protect its boundaries, a project that will construct 17 new islands and take an estimated 30 years to complete. The installation presented here, a reproduction of an artificial island built by Salina and local fisherman using marine debris and litter, aims to highlight the negative impacts of the project, in particular the fact that the city refuses to fix the causes of its problems — namely, excessive groundwater extraction and inefficient waste management. Salina thus connects the reclamation and land issue with the human waste that plagues the ocean and the future of the traditional fishermen who live and work within this now perilous space.
ARTISTS Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries.
Alex Kurunis, Brad Downey, Igor Posonov, Clemens Behr, El Tono, Filippo Minelli, Gaia, Mata Ruda, James Bridle, Superproject ( Jasper Niens & Thijs Ewalts, Jazoo Yang, Jonathan Hollingworth, Kirill KTO, Martha Atienza, Merijn Hos, Nano4814, Rob Pinney, SpY, Tita Salina
London’s spectacular neo-classical home of arts and culture along the River Thames will play host to an all-encompassing exhibition experience mounted by the Barcelona-born graffiti artist Six Paredes in his tribute to Peruvian and Andean culture. Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering to Peru by Sixe Paredes has been inspired by the traditional and the modern, and aims to meld the two together surreally, and really.
For weeks we have been seeing the progress of a loosely banded consortium of brother street artists laying plans and constructing exhibition elements beneath the fountained public courtyard. Today the public can experience a series of walkways leading to large-scale and smaller works evoking the rich color and symbols of the region; tapestries, totem sculptures, ceramics and quipus (a system of knotted cords known as ‘talking knots’), masks and fluorescent chichas (posters).
“We are taking over three spaces at Somerset House, essentially the whole of the lower floor of the building,” explains Rafael Schacter of A(by)P, an organization that enables artists to produce events and exhibit work and who organized the installation with his partners and the Somerset House. Built and installed by a “dream team” of urban and street artists and students from University College London, where Schacter teaches, the exhibition is complemented with daily interactive events including Peruvian and Andean food, music, film, and performance.
Futurismo Ancestral is born from the travels of Sixe Paredes to Peru beginning in 2009 and his adoration of the richness he experienced in the culture compelled him to bring it back to share. One of the six street artists featured on the river façade of the Tate Modern six years ago along with Faile, JR, Blu, Os Gemeos, and Nunca for it’s pivotal street art exhibition, Six Paredes completed his most recent large scale wall just last month at the Biennale D’Art Urbain in Charleroi, Belgium. Schacter, who co-curated the Street Art expo at that Tate show and who authored The World Atlas of Street Art & Graffiti with Yale in 2013, says that this return is Paredes first major solo show in the UK .
During the preparation for this much anticipated and lively show, BSA had the opportunity to speak with both Six Paredes and Rafael Schacter about the origins, inspirations, and preparations for Futurismo Ancestral.
Brooklyn Street Art: After touring Peru and being exposed to such eye-popping color, isn’t it surprising to be in such a grey northern city like London? Sixe Paredes: It was not surprising for me to come here and find myself in a grey city because this color predominates in so many cities in Europe and so many European cities prohibit murals and even have specialized brigades set up to clean and remove color. Throughout my journey in different regions of Peru I’ve seen a lot of color but color can be found in all the different cultures of the world, when they maintain their primordial essence.
Brooklyn Street Art: Rafael, can you tell us about Futurismo Ancestral and how it came about?
Rafael Schacter: Futurismo Ancestral is all about the connection between the traditional and the contemporary, the fusion of the Peruvian visual culture and craft tradition with the visual palette so unique to Sixe Paredes himself. Since I last worked with Sixe in the UK, he has been living in between Peru and his hometown of Barcelona, he has become obsessed with the visual culture of the region and has learned the techniques of ceramic and textile production with famous artisans and artists throughout the region. This exhibition is about bringing together the deep history and heritage of Peruvian visual culture, and his love for this tradition with his unique, colorful, distinct style in an all embracing, multifaceted manner.
Brooklyn Street Art: Sixe Paredes, you have already been incorporating a certain minimalism into your aesthetics over the past ten years. Is it difficult to merge that understated quality with the vibrant enthusiasm of Peruvian and Andean folk? Sixe Paredes: My art has always been characterized by the agglomeration of shapes and colors. Throughout different periods I started introducing more elements, such as the circuits, which led my paintings towards another dimension – this dimension enhanced my painting, allowing for other interpretations of my work. In recent years I have been synthesizing some of my series. I like to play with this idea because it leaves more room for reflection and I don’t need as many elements to express myself. Some of these elements are iconic to my work, such as crests or beaks which have always been in my compositions and can be found there today.
Brooklyn Street Art: The work here is simultaneously modern and folk – with the bold colors and raw patterning and symbols combined with a certain minimalism. Rafael, can you walk us through the spaces in a way that helps translate this convivial duality in an exhibition space. Rafael Schacter: Somerset House is really an amazing location for us to be working in, we are both proud and excited to be working here! After you have exited our introductory area, our visitors will go outside into the Lighwells, an amazing outside space which has been used for films such as Sherlock Holmes among others; within this arched space, we have built a series of 3 meter high trapezoidal arches – shapes which are highly significant in Inca culture. Acting as a rite of passage, as a journey from one sacred space to another, visitors well make their way into what is called the Deadhouse, an underground catacomb which exists directly below the famous Somerset House courtyard. This space, aptly, will function as a sacred temple space, within which Sixe’s ceramics, quipus and tapestries will be housed.
Brooklyn Street Art: Not only are the color palettes from the traditional Peruvian culture warm, so too are the materials. Can you talk about the warmer, more earthen properties of wood, of yarn, and hand made masks – and how they affect your work? Sixe Paredes: Peru has had a considerable influence on my painting palette, bringing more color to it and motivating me to use new mediums, materials and techniques, some of which have endured since ancient times. I always wanted to move towards a new path, a more ancestral path, revalidating primal techniques through a contemporary perspective.
Brooklyn Street Art: You have a stellar group supporting this one week event – some of these folks have had big shows of their own so it’s good to see them supporting another artist. Rafael Schacter: One of the key things about A(by)P is that we want to be for artists by artists. We don’t want to simply get in a bunch of contractors to assist in bringing the project to life but want rather to recreate the group dynamic and energy that is so crucial to these artists’ worlds. As such, for every project, we want to bring the artist’s family together to help bring it to life; in that way, the creative juices and creative possibilities can flow in a much more organic manner. And not only that, but all these artists on the team are people who we will continue to work with in the future on solo shows of their own.
For Sixe’s show for example, we really have got a dream team working together, a group who like you say are all artists of massive acclaim themselves. Both Eltono and Nano4814 are two of my favourite artists in the world; Eltono has just had a superb solo homecoming show in Madrid at Slowtrack and Nano4814 and insane solo show at the Delimbo Gallery in Sevilla. Pablo Limon, our exhibition designer is one of the most amazing makers I have ever come across, a creative genius. And Lucas Cantu, who is working on our graphics, branding and exhibition production, is the director of the Savvy Studios as well as the founder of the Nrmal Festival in Mexico. As I said, the dream team! And then alongside this we have had amazing support from the students of University College London, who have all been absolutely incredible.
Brooklyn Street Art: Many Street Artists are bringing the animal world into their work today and sometimes artists will say they are giving the animals a voice to speak to us. How have animals been important in your compositions? Six Paredes: In my case, the animal theme has been present in my work for many years, and this partly because of the admiration I feel for them. For me, among the most fascinating creatures of the animal kingdom are birds, mainly because of the wide variety of species, thousands of colours and silhouettes – and their relationship to the celestial and to flight. In terms of my compositions, this theme is important to me because it reminds us that we are also animals within the same world.
Brooklyn Street Art: In what way do you think of your work as something that evokes the future? Six Paredes: I think my work evokes the future because it merges two different visions, the ancient and the contemporary and the bond between them which leads us to reflect about many of the things that humans have left on their way and some of them I think would be important to remember.