All posts tagged: Urban Spree Gallery

Paradox & CPT.OLF @ Urban Spree Gallery Berlin

Paradox & CPT.OLF @ Urban Spree Gallery Berlin

Hidden in plain sight. Fucking one system and embracing another. Seeking the limelight as he hides in the darkness of Berlin’s night. This is paradox. This is Paradox.

Detail shot of the blown-up photograph greeting the exhibition. PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin.

A Berlin Kidz alumni who has been catching tags and surfing trains with photographer CPT.OLF for a handful of years, these two have created a simple exhibition to Urban Spree gallery this month. Bringing masks, video, a new photography book, prints, and a hooded figure cuffed an on his stomach, the gallery effect is spare, crisp, ill-boding, and entertaining. One may say that this presentation looks like a graffiti star is born.

PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blending parkour with graffiti, he lowers himself south on a rope, spraying vertically cryptic symbols in primary colors down the side of a building, or steeple of a church, his aerosol style inspired by writers in places like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In many ways, this man is now claiming a mantle while in his physical prime, modeling one of his multiple horror batik masks atop a speeding yellow U-Bahn – tempting fate, testing limits, testing the viewers’ tolerance.

PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

This is more than urban exploring: This is punching it down and signing its praise simultaneously, the pulsing testosterone deafening, relentless, defiant. This is anti-hero heroicism as performance without a net below – and quite possibly it is the adrenaline rush that claims your life. Looking at these images, following the video, for one thrilling moment, you want to be there as well.

Paradoxes abound.

PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PARADOX x CPT.OLF Urban Spree Gallery, Berlin. (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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Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

EARTH, AIR, FIRE, and WATER. And FUTURA 2000.

These are the five elements.

“Hey Guys!” he bellows from the doorway and invites us in.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A non-stop full-voiced welcome fills the air of this factory loft space with stories and smoke and sports talk radio as you ascend steps from the truck-traffic cacophony of cold and rain on this Bushwick thoroughfare. For the next hour and a half, you are warmly surrounded by clothes racks and boxes and spray cans and multi-faceted anecdotes and impressions and fragments of memories that get shaken and sprayed and circled back to.

Here is a fond remembrance of something his mom or dad said from his childhood, an adroitly drawn quip about a curious gallerist, an excited discovery of new Super 8 footage of a mission with famed NYC graffiti writer Dondi in Japan to promote Wild Style. Elsewhere he recounts a meeting with Joe Strummer in a New York studio to share and record his own penned rap lyrics with The Clash, a trip to Berlin in ’85 with Keith Haring, a recent conversation with MODE2 who lives there now, a description of his personal misgivings about wearing his US military uniform into town while stationed at Yakuska Naval Base as a 20 year old.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An omnivore of ideas and initiatives and world cities, his march as a creative force of nature only gathers speed as he nears 40 years since first emerging from graffiti writing as a studio artist.

“1980 was the breakout year for us because we were all beginning to surface,” he says of the number of events that occurred that year and brought graffiti and street culture to a larger, more mainstream audience, and hopefully, a collector base. That was the year of the “Times Square Show” by Colab that introduced art and performance from the “Downtown” and “Uptown” scenes. It was also the year that Stefan Eins’ Fashion Moda gallery in the South Bronx had its first exhibition of graffiti art – Graffiti Art Success for America (GAS) – curated by artist John Matos (aka Crash), the show included work by graffiti culture artists such as Futura, Lady Pink, John Fekner, Disco 107, Fab Five Freddie, Futura, Kel 139th, Lee, Mitch 77, Nac 143, Noc 167, Stan 153, Tom McCutcheon, and Zephyr.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We were all willing to come above ground and investigate what was happening,” he says. “That was also the year I did the ‘Break Car’,” he says of the uniquely abstract whole graffiti car he painted that set him apart stylistically from the NYC graffiti writing pack and was captured famously by photographer Martha Cooper. That car and that style would proved to be the Cold War inspired rocketship that launched Futura 2000 into a forty year exploration of the Cosmos.

Fast forward to April 2018 in Lille, France, and Futura toils and emerges with a new body of work incorporating his long-held love for the interconnectedness of the galaxy, the stars, and the planet.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’ve been a child of the planet since I was a kid,” he says as he recalls the impact of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and how it tapped into his innate desire for exploration. “Every nation had a pavilion,” he says, and suddenly you see his collection of miniature architectural wonders from around the world, all grouped together for an idealized cityscape.

“I’ve got Berlin, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, Roma, Peru (Easter Island), the Blue Mosque in Turkey, Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi,” he says. “I don’t have Taj Mahal, but I’ve been to it. I need that.”

“The 5 Elements” is the exhibition that opens this week at Urban Spree in Berlin and of course refers as well to the so-called “Five Elements of Hip-Hop”, of which graffiti is one. But he reserves this reference to a greater sweep, expressed in about an expansive show. “There’s a whole series on water, air, on fire,” he says, “It’s all at some point color coated for each element.” He also creates a series of circular canvasses hung in relation to each other to evoke the planetary system.

“I think they’re like 70 pieces, in terms of that I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this extensive,” he says.

But “The 5 Elements” is not a retrospective show, says Urban Spree founder and curator Pascal Feucher, who has been preparing the show with co-host Art Together. “On the contrary,” he writes, “Futura worked specifically on a large museum-style conceptual exhibition, tackling the ambitious theme of the Creation of the Universe, confronting himself to the cosmos, the planets, the infinitely small, the Big Bang and the fundamental elements, producing a corpus of works that becomes a path to the exploration of the universe as well as providing a backdoor into Futura’s internal galaxy.”

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coinciding with the show will be the release of a 128-page companion book titled “Futura, les 5 éléments” – certain to be sought after.

For the ever expansive graphic designer, clothing designer, wordsmith, musician, sneaker head, graffiti writer, abstract painter, photographer, the dots are all connected – and it always also connects to his roots.

“I like it when it’s a degree removed, yet connected – when you realize that the whole school – at least the whole New York City school, is vast,” he says. “It has touched a lot of people.”

Rather like Futura 2000.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura sharing a picture of Lee Quinones on a moped in Roma (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Below are images of the 4 screen prints that will be released at the opening of “The 5 Elements”, based on the painting series “Pure”. Each 8-color screen print is hand-pulled by Dolly Demoratti (Mother Drucker/Urban Spree Studio), signed and numbered by Futura. The 50 x 50 cm prints are only sold as a limited edition of 100 sets.

Futura. Pure Earth. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Air. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Water. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Fire. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anthony Lister Confronts Picasso At Urban Spree in Berlin

Anthony Lister Confronts Picasso At Urban Spree in Berlin

After three weeks of willfully thoughtful sprawling scrawling figural historical allegorical and emotional channeling, the cannon spray of creative expression that is Lister smashed across canvasses, sculpture, media art, and the highest profile wall in the crumbling Urban Spree compound.

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Australian Street Artist/fine artist completed his residency in his own tumultuous style – and took it seriously; perhaps because he posits an action-packed new confrontation with cubism that lurches at the master, and perhaps because director Pascal Feucher has the scholarly depth and street/graffiti/urban art cred to organize an environment that contains and liberates simultaneously.

Education and experience may prepare you to contemplate Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and “Guernica” re-addressed, but Lister brings additional friends to the party with raging erections, water ballooned bosoms, superhero costumery, Damian Hirst’s shark and of course a pregnant aboriginal transwoman playing a didgeridoo fashioned from Coca-Cola cans.

As you do.

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The surreal is an open manifestation, a lense to view the struggles and signifiers that pilot this vessel, whether it slides smoothly ashore or breaks apart on cubist jetties. No matter the angle it’s an exciting violently smashing sensual ride ripe with skullduggery, masquerade and skewed perspective.

While the early 20th century movements of cubism and surrealism have been present in his work previously, these direct references to Picasso have come to fore with force only recently, even since his New York solo show at Allouche this spring, which is a more classical “Pop” Lister with some urban references, says Feucher.

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“There is a clear transition in the last six months, and maybe this exhibition shows it for the first time, between his traditional presentation of superheroes and ballerinas and references to pop art to something that references more either idols of contemporary Art or classic painters in masters of the 20th century,” he says as we walk through this spare open gallery planted inside an urban playground for graffiti writers, rock climbers, pyromania displays, beer stein swigging and late night chain-link fence pissing.

“The need to confront oneself with Picasso is something that a lot of painters do – because you have to, I guess, strangle the master. So it has to be the right time for that. You don’t show paintings of you referencing Picasso that clearly if you’re not super confident about achieving something,” say Feucher.  “And I think he did something very important and it is very strong fight – and somehow out of the Street Art universe. There’s no self-reference here that leads into street art and that is maybe a good step forward for him as a painter.”

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Based on the numerous rawly stylized “Lister” tags on the street we witnessed over the last few days in Berlin, he’s not abandoning the street just yet. But borrowing a fire extinguisher from the 1UP crew to tag across his own works in this temporary studio and stepping across/upon multiple works spread on the floor – it’s definitely a hybrid of practices and references that coalesce.

The artist himself at times prefers the costume and the character, perhaps a clever subterfuge that protects his privacy from prying invasions, or annoying distraction. In the end as always, the work speaks for itself and these newest works are heralding a street hero fusion future we’re excited to witness as it permutates in the mind of Mr. Lister.

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Urban Spree. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


Anthony Lister’s “Sneaky But In” at Urban Spree Gallery  in Berlin is open to the public until October 20, 2018. Click HERE for more information about this exhibition.

 

 

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BSA HOT LIST: Books For Your Gift Giving 2017

BSA HOT LIST: Books For Your Gift Giving 2017

Documenting the Street Art scene has always been important to BSA and we know it is important to many of our readers as well. This year BSA brought you a number of reviews of Street Art related books that we have run across during the year. It’s not an exhaustive list but now that it is Christmas / Hannukah / Kwaanza / Solstice / New Year time we thought you would like our brief roundup of some of the best books of 2017. Enjoy!


“Street Art World”, Alison Young.

From BSA:

Alison Young Examines and Presents the “Street Art World”

Contested space is a term accurately describing the Street Artists’ relationship with the world outside your door; a place where the aesthetics are up for grabs, autonomously determined, willfully exploited.

Drawing upon twenty years of empirical observation, scholarly study, and interviews with artists and experts throughout a constellation of cities where this art-making has flourished, “Street Art World” by Alison Young examines this contested space from every angle to present a balanced assessment for understanding our moment.

A professor of criminology at University of Melbourne, Young delivers her fourth volume on the topic of Street Art with a confidence and unique perspective that few can claim thanks to extensive travel and periodic, repeated and ongoing tracking of an evolving family of practice.

Alison Young Street Art World was published by Reaktion Books Ltd. London, UK. 2016. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Shoe Is My Middle Name”, Niels Shoe Meulman

From BSA:

“Shoe” is His Middle Name: New Book by Niels Shoe Meulman

Carlo McCormick writes in his essay, “We honor Shoe as the great cross-pollinator who came to New York City as a kid to meet the graffiti master Dondi and brought Wild Style back to Europe, but his strength remains just how far he can still can carry this immoderate load.” Based on his path and his evolution, we’ll consider this beautiful monster to be in a mid-career retrospective and some of his most masterful work is yet to come.

Niels Shoe Meulman “Shoe Is My Middle Name” was published by Lebowski Publishers / Overamstel. Amsterdam, 2016. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Time Traveller Artist Man”, Giacomo Bufarini AKA RUN

From BSA:

RUN: “Time Traveller Artist Man” Tells All With His Hands

The founder of analytical psychology would have looked at the hands of RUN and perhaps understood more about his lifelong psychological process than the average intellect, and yet seeing RUN’s carefully formed people on the street captivates your imagination as well.

These are the dreams he creates with his expressive hands, conscious or unconscious features that over time have developed into archetypes to be combined, adorned, alone, and recombined. Not surprisingly, his people often have a grasp, a hold, a flair for the five fingered gesture as well.

RUN Time Traveller Artist Man is published by Unicorn Publishing Group. London, UK. 2016. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Street Art”, Ed Bartlett

From BSA:

“Street Art” by Ed Bartlett: A Quick Primer for the World Traveler

Since the early 70s Lonely Planet publishing has made guidebooks for travelers of the world, enabling people to gain a greater understanding and to appreciate localities, cultures, and histories. Ed Bartlett now adds to this vast compendium of understanding a concise and varied survey of Street Art from his vantage point as an avid bicyclist, traveler, and expert on Street Art.

Ed Bartlett’s “Street Art” Was published by Lonely Planet Publishers. UK, April 2017.  Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Happily Ever After”, Jeremy Fish

From BSA:

Jeremy Fish and “Happily Ever After”

It’s unusual to see his work in New York (or in this case New Jersey) since after leaving Upstate New York nearly two decades ago this fine artist/commercial illustrator has been dancing in the arms of San Francisco. You think we’re being poetic about his West Coast cred, but he literally illustrated 100 drawings in SF City Hall over 100 days, was awarded with his own “Jeremy Fish” day by the city, might have the record for the most shows at Upper Playground Gallery, and has even collaborated with a cannabis company to create a branded oil and vape pen.

Jeremy Fish “Happily Ever After: The Artwork of Jeremy Fish”. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“The Art Of Writing Your Name”, Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark

From BSA:

“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

Born of many late night talks and collaborative painting sessions together, merging Christian’s abstract graphics and collage with Patrick’s calligraphy and tagging, the two slowly discovered a mutual collection of writers and artists whose work they both admired, a book slowly taking form in their minds. “Our late night sessions also implied long conversations about the evolution of Graffiti to Street Art to urban calligraphy,” the authors say in their preface.

The Art Of Writing Your Name: Contemporary Urban Calligraphy and Beyond by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags – und Handels GmbH & Co. KG. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Saturday Mornings”, Jerkface

From BSA:

Jerkface: “Saturday Mornings” Deconstructed, Reconstructed, Repeated

A direct link to his childhood and the televised cartoons of Saturday morning, where the majority of cartoons were relegated to appear in the 1970s and 1980s, Street Artist Jerkface recreates and multiplies his associations of happy times full of adventure, mysteries easily solved, crimes categorically punished.

His new book “Saturday Morning” collects the recognizable works of other artists and removes the emotional expressions found in facial features, recombining their other characteristics and playing with their associated resonance.

Jerface “Saturday Morning”. Published by Over The Influence. December 2016. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Street Art In Sicilia”, Mauro Filippi, Marco Mondino & Luisa Tuttolomondo

From BSA:

“Street Art In Sicilia” Tours You Through 31 Cities and 200 Artists

A serious undertaking that documents 31 urban centers that vary widely in distinctive personality, more than two hundred artists are captured and carefully, succinctly described for a wide audience of tourists, Street Art fans, students, even academics. With three authors who collectively have studied architecture, semiotics, sociology and photography, you get a mapping that reveals not only physical location but a describes a cultural one as well.

Street Art in Sicilia – Guida ai luoghi e alle opere
Mauro Filippi, Marco Mondino, Luisa Tuttolomondo
Dario Flaccovio Editore, 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.

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“Metamorphosis”, Tavar Zawacki

From BSA:

Tavar Zawacki: Being Fearless and “Metamorphosis” with Urban Spree

“The whole thing is a metaphor,” he says at one point when describing a particular piece, but you realize that the statement applies to the show as well. A metaphor for the evolutions that an artist must go through to keep alive; a recreation, a metamorphosis, however bold or subtle, that can push him or her into a new direction.

He sits on a window sill and pulls back the sleeve of his t-shirt to reveal a tattooed sleeve that moves from densely inked pattern to bare skin. The finespun graduated marking is repeated on the books’ cover, designed by Kelly Jewell.
“I’m really interested in gradients as well because it’s a slow transition – when you can see the tattoo and the cover of the book; it’s like with each circle, if you look at it compared to the neighboring one, you won’t see a big difference. But over time and with effort you can keep going forward, day by day.”

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Published by Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.

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Tavar Zawacki: Being Fearless and “Metamorphosis” with Urban Spree

Tavar Zawacki: Being Fearless and “Metamorphosis” with Urban Spree

Globally entire societies are undergoing metamorphoses at a quickening pace today – for a variety of reasons depending on who you talk to; The failures of capitalism and neoliberalism, the rapid development of technology, dwindling natural resources, a widening wealth gap, greater communications – all amidst a cross-cultural consciousness that is revealing truths at an unprecedented rate – even while disinformation does its best to cloud the view.

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whatever form these metamorphoses eventually will take is open to all manner of expert conjecture and prophetic analysis but one thing everyone agrees on is that metamorphosis can include a painful, revelatory, liberating process.

Amidst this continuous sea change Street Artist/ visual artist Tavar Zawacki has chosen to embrace his personal and professional metamorphosis. He’s even published his second monograph and had an exhibition with the name.

“Metamorphosis”

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For years you have seen the upward pointing arrow; on stickers, canvasses, screen prints, even mobiles hanging. That is why the name “ABOVE” was appropriate. But for the artist, it became a limitation stylistically and the anonymity of remaining hidden in the shadows behind a street tag increasingly felt uncomfortable, not true to the artist he was becoming. Initially, the tag, or street surname that many graffiti and Street Artists adopt, was perhaps a good way to evade the police, or to simply obscure his identity to others who might be overly critical of his work.

Two decades later, he’s ready to liberate himself and tell you his real name: Tavar Zawacki.

“It’s been 20 years that I’ve been really insecure about myself and my work and I was looking for outward approval and I was really insecure about leaning forward with what I really wanted to do,” he says of the personal journey. “I needed to change my mindset to have the confidence to know that if I am painting these the best I can – that’s all that really matters.”

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the new show with museum-size canvasses at Urban Spree, who also published the new168 page hardcover, you can see examples of his earlier work and the new directions that he is experimenting in. “There’s four different bodies of work,” he says as he walks around the perimeter with you.

On one wall you find the classic ABOVE canvasses: many optimistic pastel hues and tints overlapping in the geometrics of the ever-present arrow. Another features pieces of zoomed-in portions of geometric shapes that highlights negative and positive space, some recalling the op-art of the 1960s and 1970s. “These pieces focus on the areas of geometry that I really like the most,” he says.

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Newer works begin to bend and curve the patterned plane, adding dimension and shadow, recalling the crack-and-peel stickers he used for so many years to brand himself as ABOVE prolifically across possibly 100 cities. A centerpiece canvas combines all of these movements, peeling off selected graphic elements and forming new shapes in the air with a sophisticated palette and subtle shading – perhaps the most seamless move into contemporary.

“And with shadow it’s about bending it – it was about having a new shape and I can manipulate this to make it look totally different,” he says. “That is something I feel like personally I am going through as well – I am transitioning to another stage of my life.”

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The whole thing is a metaphor,” he says at one point when describing a particular piece, but you realize that the statement applies to the show as well. A metaphor for the evolutions that an artist must go through to keep alive; a recreation, a metamorphosis, however bold or subtle, that can push him or her into a new direction.

He sits on a window sill and pulls back the sleeve of his t-shirt to reveal a tattooed sleeve that moves from densely inked pattern to bare skin. The finespun graduated marking is repeated on the books’ cover, designed by Kelly Jewell.
“I’m really interested in gradients as well because it’s a slow transition – when you can see the tattoo and the cover of the book; it’s like with each circle, if you look at it compared to the neighboring one, you won’t see a big difference. But over time and with effort you can keep going forward, day by day.”

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We talk about the new color dimensions, the zoomed in geometry, the intensity of the new color palette and he says that the change is about “being fearless.”

And perhaps, you think, that is what it takes to face change and embrace a metamorphosis. Being fearless.

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tavar Zawacki. “Metamorphosis” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Metamorphosis” the book, published by Urban Spree Books is available for purchase at the Urban Spree Gallery book store.

Published by Urban Spree Books in September 2017, First Edition

Book Design by Kelly Jewell, Texts & Design by Tavar Zawacki

168 pages, Hardcover, 24 x 32 cm (9,5″ x 12,5″)

Silver Foil Cover

www.tavarzawacki.com

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Rylsee Plays With Letters, Show Opens at Urban Spree

Rylsee Plays With Letters, Show Opens at Urban Spree

“How to Play with Letters” is the new monograph, “Other Inbox” is the show. Both are by RYLSEE, the visual artist from Geneva who now lives in Berlin and has been a member of Urban Spree for five years.

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué)

The new body of work at “Other Inbox” combines his fascination for the letter form and his discontent with the confusion of our current digital communications with each other and the Internet.

“Punctuality is dead, fears of missing out seem to be a common worry while there’s still no app allowing us to be in two places simultaneously,” says RYSLEE as he prepares for the new show opening Friday night August 4th at Urban Spree.

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué)

A rather nebulous set of conditions and facts that are difficult to grasp and describe verbally for many, the modern afflictions of this fragmented digital life are here visually represented – through the prism of letterform love. Letters are warped, over warmed, sliced, slid, and glitched in ways that seem perfectly normal today, even though we know that they are not normal at all.

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué)

The monograph is even moreso, as it were – an orderly attempt at ordering an artists aesthetic and personal chaos; a collection of his obsessions. Here you see his typography, design and mural painting, his love affair with word and hand-drawn type compositions. It’s good that RYSLEE is taking the time and effort to preserve a moment in this fluid time. Future us, in retrospect, may understand better what we are going through right now in a furcated, distorted time.

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué)

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué)

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué)

Rylsee “Other Inbox” Urban Spree Gallery. Berlin. (photo © Gabriel Balagué) and poster design by Rommy González, @RommyGon


Rylsee’s “Other Inbox” opens on August 4th at Urban Spree Gallery in Berlin. Click HERE for details on the show. We wish to thank photographer Gabriel Balagué, @Gabee_photography for sharing his work with BSA readers.

https://www.rylsee.com


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