A few new painted wheat-pastes in the urban rubble from Street Artist ROBBBB in Beijing, China today, including this thoughtful, reflective and paunchy Spiderman who may not be able to scale walls quite as readily as he has in the past.
It almost looks like these superheroes are having various existential dillemas, ready to fly into a rage of frustration or simply break into hot firey tears. The whole infallibility thing is overrated anyway Spidey, we get what you are saying.
I’m trying to discuss the contradiction between the ideal and the reality from the point of view of human nature,” says ROBBBB, and that is a worthwhile pursuit. It may make you wonder why we need heroes in the first place and examine what need they are filling.
Beijing based Street Artist ROBBBB continues to bring people to the streets in his city by way of self portraits and art models. The immediacy of the selfie and photo apps has rather eclipsed the traditional methods of figurative presentation and the inclusion of cartoon characters tells you that ROBBBB is fully immersed in youth pop culture where it digital and virtual are easily intertwined with real life.
“I try to show the pain, conflict, struggle, loneliness and anxiety of Chinese young people in a absurd way,” he tells us, but many of these new images look like they depict a Millennial generation that is confident, bold, humorous, adventurous, unreserved. But that’s just on this side of the screen.
Here are three recent wheat-paste campaigns he made for abandoned Beijing buildings called “Narrow Selfie,” “Three Sisters”, and “Mr. Lee”. He gets extra points for placement, often in direct relationship to the man-made elements that are adjacent to his figures and by doing so, incorporating them into the overall composition.
Filial piety (Xiao Jing) is one of the virtues of Confucian thought (孝): a love and respect for one’s parents and ancestors. In the West we talk of filial piety in the context of fraternal love, indeed all benevolent actions.
Street Artist ROBBBB in Beijing is contemplating, as most of us do in our 20s, what his connection is to his society and his family and ancestors especially as a representative of the future as well as the past. One aspect that stays more or less the same in every culture is what our bodies look like, even if our clothing and hairstyles are in a continuous evolution. Today our bodies are changing as well thanks to plastic surgery and additive technology.
With this essential self examination ROBBB brings it up to date with his own Street Art campaign called “Selfie foreward”, a series of painted portions of his own body wheat-pasted on the streets. He segments the view of his corpus, giving a closer examination of physical details down to the follicle texture, augmented by an abstractly patterned wrapping across the surface that looks like projected light waves or an ultra-thin metal-alloy plating of decorative skin. Perhaps ROBBBB is seeing himself as a cyborg of organic and biomechatronic body parts.
“This series is about my body,” ROBBBB says, “There is an old saying China that goes “Our bodies-to every hair and bit of skin – are received from our parents.” In any case, he says, with this very original take on the relatively modern selfie, “I’ve been thinking deeply about contradictions and conflicts between youth as a social group and my place in society.”
“Cityscape” is a word that usually refers to the architecture and urban design but Robbbb refer’s to Beijing residents when he calls his ongoing series by that name. “These works reflect the real living environment of the contemporary China,” he says of these everyday people painted and pasted in unlikely/likely locations as if they are an echo of a spirit that inhabited the space only moments earlier. Exclusively for BSA, Robbbb shares these six new people, who he says are each contemplating everyday issues of contemporary Chinese society.
We like to say that the world has become more global over the last twenty years, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to you. Money, jobs, and trade are increasingly free to traverse boarders in this age of globalism, yes. Getting a visa to leave and explore and learn about another culture and come back home may still prove to be impossible, depending on where you live.
Beijing based Street Artist ROBBBB recently took a small troupe of his countrymen/women to Europe and put them on the streets of Milan, Florence, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon. He says it is a sort of cultural exchange, even if the real people in these wheat-pastes never left home.
“I put the most real and authentic Chinese people in these pieces so that they could be in a different political, social and cultural environment in Europe,” he explains of the six-city tour. “I also wonder how the Europeans will think of these Chinese subjects and what their reaction is to seeing them in these locations.”
Beijing is exploding with construction projects completed in head-spinning timelines and that can make you feel silly. Street Artist Robbbb shares exclusive pics of new works in the ruins that surround the rapid construction boom. He says he wants to draw a parallel between the attitude of the city right now and the excitement and exuberance of face-making youth.
“The rapid development of Beijing is making this ancient city appear and feel more and more young,” Robbbb says of the sort of cock-eyed optimism that comes with spurts of high-profile growth. “I pay attention to the city and at the same time also pay attention to young people,” he relates as he equates the childlike silliness that he sees in a more youthful city and how we like to act a fool. In all honesty, your grandma probably makes faces sometimes too, but we get the point.
“Through their exaggerated facial expressions,” Robbbb explains, “I’m expressing my thoughts on the city’s development and its reflection in life.”
Street Artist Robbbb has some new neighbors posted in his city of Beijing, the three thousand year old Chinese capital metropolis of 20.6 million people. By wheat-pasting these still frame figures of unromanticized men, women, and children back onto the street where they travel, Robbbb calls attention to the every day person, and by doing so, somehow exults them. It’s an ephemeral art, but it lasts a little longer than the momentary flash of a person passing by and it give Robbbb an opportunity to look at and contemplate the lives of people in his city and perhaps to give them the equivalent of a visual “shout out”.
“No matter what nationality, what identity, what gender or what age, I like depicting figures from the city,” says the artist of his work.
Workers around the world look amazingly similar, no matter the city.
Street Artist Robbbb, who we last saw in Beijing, is introducing some of the people from that city to be a part of Dubai and two of Turkeys largest cities, Istanbul and Izmir.
“This series of works from China are images of the most common people. I took them to foreign countries with an attempt to explore differences of political and social background, and to highlight their mode of existence,” he observes as he speaks about the enlarged wheat pastes he hand colored.
With this project Robbbb brings a Chinese man on a rickshaw to the a waste disposal back alley of Istanbul, a lady with a pushcart to a side lot in Izmir, and a man loaded down with bags to a small busy street in Dubai. These are all cities with workers going about their every day life and among them Robbbb wants to introduce their counterparts; images frozen and in mid-action while performing their daily chores and routines on foreign soil.
The concept is well executed as you often will see a local performing the same action while passing the wheatpast, so similar are our daily routines: Pushing a grocery cart, riding a bike to work, toiling, walking a child to school or to a friends home. With this project Robbbb shows our similarities despite differences in physical appearance, clothing, and cultural differences.
From time to time we like to spotlight an artist’s blog. In addition to having a page dedicated solely to Artists Links (hint hint look up) we also like to feature their blogs (if you are a Street Artist and don’t see yourself there, let us know and we’ll add you). Just wanted to let you know because we just added this Chinese Street Artist named ROBBB getting up in Beijing. There is not much Street Art coming out of China so it’s still pretty unusual and we’re glad to share it here.