The ongoing economic crisis and the rise of all kinds of populism in Europe demonstrate a dangerous backlash in 21st century history; meanwhile extreme industrialization, mass production & over consumption has led global warming to break all records. Quarrels over diminishing but vital natural resources and shrinking living space may well be the cause of future conflicts. However fucked up the situation our world is facing right now, there is still hope. To keep faith, we need to remember people’s abilities to protest and to resist. Protest is when I say this does not please me. Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me occurs no more. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement, the eastern and western worlds have both lately shown the capability to fight against establishment. Protest always starts in the streets, and so often does art. The street is a mixture of languages and a hotchpotch of voices, where the pictograms of road signs and the surreal messages written by street artists live side by side, and where the simple commercial communication runs up against the political. To the careful observer the street makes visible the underlying noise of our society.
By acknowledging the social and political unrest of our time, OPEN WALLS Gallery cordially invites you as we debut DISSIDENTS, a group show. A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. Using the urban landscape as a playground, seeking truth and raising awareness, the artists that we have chosen for this show strive for non-conformity and create work representative of both political and social opposition, making them pioneers of dissident activity.
Join us on Friday April 12th in Stattbad Berlin as we contribute to the social strife of 2013 with works by:
BR1 - By ripping off advertisements from billboards or giving a new face to Muslim women BR1 is fighting the hegemonic policing of sense imposed by late capitalism . The point is to fight hegemonic ideas and to give back the public space to the public. His aim is to give social and cultural functions to billboards which, while lacking those, are imposed to society. Portraying veiled woman in their daily life, BR1 challenges the ideological isolation of the veil.
JUST – Just’s photographic work is a journey. He studied photography in Scotland where he also worked as a picture framer while taking photos of the punk- and squatter scenes that he was part of. One scene led to another, and Just then went on to focus on the graffiti and street art cultures. American photojournalist, Martha Cooper has it: “Just’s breathtaking photos are dramatic documents of daring graffiti artists in action. Through them you can vicariously experience the danger and thrills of rooftop writing.”
ALIAS - Rather than directly dealing with war or politics, Alias is focusing on how individuals are personally affected by their environment. It is like zooming on individuals and seeing things on their scale; zooming in on children in particular and observing how they experience that world and context they live in. There is a lot of compassion in Alias’ work as he delicately infiltrates the urban environment to reveal the existence of loneliness and personal crisis behind a larger catastrophe.
EMESS - Confronting the viewer with issues that would rather be swept under the rug, Emess’ work is most often motivated by political questions, for which there are perhaps no clear answers or solutions but that need to be addressed. The use of humor and his sense of aesthetics catch the viewer off guard for a moment allowing attention to be drawn to the subject. Emess sees no difference between the street or the gallery space, his work is designed to reach an audience and adapts itself to the situation.
VERMIBUS – Berlin based artist Vermibus regularly collects advertising posters from the streets, using them in his studio as the base material for his work. There, a process of transformation begins. Using solvent, he brushes away the faces and flesh of the models appearing in the posters as well as brand logos. Once the transformation is complete, he then reintroduces the adverts back into their original context, hijacking the publicity, and its purpose.
GIACOMO SPAZIO - Pioneer of the Italian Street Art movement, Spazio’s iconography is borrowed from fanzines of the 1970s and 1980s, from punk graphics and the album covers of those years, from documents of the underground scene and artistic-musical performances, from photos taken from publications, magazines, and daily newspapers. The mind immediately races to the silk screens of Andy Warhol and Pop Art, but it is only a superficial evocation because Spazio goes well beyond, making his own the practice of incursion and theft typical of the punk who uses information and images from the media and propose them with an ironic and desecrating, cynical and subversive intention.
NEGATIVE VIBES – Self made, street taught, Negative Vibes delivers a great deal of gravity through his existentialist and symbolic imagery.
Exhibition on display: Saturday April 13th - Saturday May 11th
Opening hours: Thursdays to Saturdays, from 15:00 to 20:00
Press & Private View: by invitation only, Friday April 12th
Vernissage: Friday April 12th from 20:00 onwards
Admission: €5 Free for Gallery members & clients
Early celluloid startlets dripping with liquid opulence meet classical greek heroines draped in clinging peplos with these quietly elegant wheat-pasted pieces by French Street Artist YZ in Berlin. Bringing her vintage view of high culture to sometimes very decayed and mottled walls of neglect, the contrast creates a vibrational effect for the passerby, who might wonder how they got there. The black ink on silk paper creations are hers, but the images are archetypes from the popular imagination about women and their perceived role in society as decorative objects.
Words: Brooklyn Street Art
“The images are meant to be of alternately fatal, dreamy or provocative women that challenge our stereotypes,” says YZ, “Women are beautiful, strong, and confident. They are capable of changing the world, as they proved during the last century.”
YZ (photo © Thomas von Wittich for OPEN WALLS Gallery)
YZ (photo © Thomas von Wittich for OPEN WALLS Gallery)
YZ (photo © Thomas von Wittich for OPEN WALLS Gallery)
Alias by Thomas von Wittich © Thomas von Wittich, 2012
Pasting pieces of intimacy in the public space
Alias’ work represents mainly children, some teenagers, some adults; individuals that are alone, and dealing with situations. It is a quiet introspection, which the artist captures in black and white graphically stylised figures, to which he sometimes adds some dense red colour.
In one image, we can see a kid wounded by gunshots looking at us, as if he was telling us, “you are my witness that I have been shot”. A child is sitting on a bomb, another one is hiding his face coming back from school, or on his way to school, a girl is praying, her eyes looking at the sky, a kid is sitting on a swing with his back turned. Rather than directly dealing with war or politics, Alias is focusing on how individuals are personally affected by their environment. It is like zooming on individuals and seeing things on their scale; zooming in on children in particular and observing how they experience that world and context they live in.
There is a lot of compassion in Alias’ work as he delicately infiltrates the urban environment to reveal the existence of loneliness and personal crisis behind a larger catastrophe.
Discreetly suggesting compassion
Alias has been carefully choosing specific spots and objects in various cities for the past twelve years, where he applies his stencils where his images are going to take place. On building walls or untransformed recycled materials, Alias captures emotions that are not only his subject but also his material as much as paint or street walls may be. While a lot of street art pieces are big and highly noticeable, Alias’ stencil paintings are discreet. Both the chosen spots in the streets, and the material he finds, are an integral part of his work. He has a way of finding special spots that are going to contribute to the expression alongside the image itself. Conveying a very personal feeling he is dealing with. Those spots are as unique as what he is depicting.
By isolating people from the social background or situation they are in, Alias is triggering a direct emotional impact. All his subjects appear as little universes, neutral lands that all seem to want peace. It is the type of compassion you can find in the work of great artists like Bill Viola. It is art that makes us feel human suffering we can all relate to and that instills in us both condolence and reverence.
BR1’s new body of works is centered on sans papier immigrants in Italy and in Europe: those people that run away from africa to escape civil wars & extreme poverty. Sadly, once here their daily round is violence, exploitation and strong human rights restrictions.
This installation is 24m long, each billboard is 3 x 12m.
BR1 is an Italian artist based in Turin, his works are based and influenced by the city life. For him, art must transmit a social message and bring collective awareness. BR1 is fighting the hegemonic policing of sense imposed by late capitalism by ripping out advertising on billboards or giving a new face to Muslim women. The point is to fight hegemonic ideas and to give back the public space to the public. With his colourful images and comics-to-pop-inspired portrait, BR1 makes the city more liveable and harmonious. Yet, when pasting up a draw on billboard, ripping out bills from the billboards or playing with the message of the bill and modifying the meaning of the adds; BR1 is criticising consumerism. His aim is to give social and cultural functions to billboards which, while lacking of those, are imposed to society.
BR1 started working on the theme of veiled Muslim women, as he became more and more attracted and intrigued by the veil; « why a dress has so strong connotation of religion? This thing attracts me.” His first aim is to show that the veiled woman has the same needs and the same nature as any other occidental woman. By portraying veiled woman in the everyday life, BR1 challenges the ideological isolation of the veil. BR1 believes « in a consciousness-raising » and this idea can be seen everyday on the streets that he has been walking by.
ALIAS solo show opened last weekend in Hamburg’s Gängeviertel. The artist has spent a couple of weeks working in Hamburg, collecting reclaimed objects in the Gängeviertel and an old train-station, re-cutting his most famous stencils from the last 10 years in order to create a series of 10 new pieces of art.
The exhibition provides the viewer with an intimate view on ALIAS work. Particular attention has been taken to focus on up-cycling reclaimed material, as seen on the installation above.
Exhibition on display from 20.10. to 04.11.2012
Opening Times: Friday & Saturday 15h -19h | Sunday 13h -19h
Gängeviertel e.V. Valentinskamp, 20355 Hamburg (Galerie ist vor Ort ausgeschildert!)