It’s called Middle Fork and it’s the name of the project realized in 2014 by the American artist John Grade.
A huge hollow trunk placed horizontally and hung from the ceiling, obtained through the plaster casts of an ancient tree grown in the woods of Snoqualmie in King County, Washington. A spectacle that allows us to observe nature from new perspectives.
There is much discussion about the institutionalisation of street art and the ethical choices of gallery owners and institutions when they choose to present works that belong to an artistic expression that was born in the streets and that, according to the most nostalgic, should not move from those contexts. In some cases, this conversation poses false problems, which concern the nature of the works and the intentions of the artists themselves, who have been able to adapt their role, and already since the 1970s, by bringing this countercultural phenomenon into traditional art circuits. There are countries where street art has never entered the galleries in the way that other major museums in the world have done, for example China, which recently announced that it will host its first historical retrospective exhibition dedicated to street art and graffiti, on the occasion of Art Basel Hong Kong.
The title of the exhibition is ‘City as Studio’, representative of the mechanism that has overturned the conception of the artist and the evaluation of this type of art by galleries. A process initiated by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, both of whom are present at the exhibition. The more than 100 works, created by 30 artists, will be presented at the K11 Art Foundation and have been selected by curator Jeffrey Deitch, a figure who has contributed to the acceptance of street art in the programmes of major museums worldwide thanks to the more than 50 exhibitions he has curated around the world. “City as Studio” enters the paths of the genre by conveying to visitors the breadth of styles and geographical areas through which different generations have moved. From New York to San Francisco to Brazil, Tokyo and Paris, the exhibition will first and foremost be a historical reflection on graffiti art, thanks to the talents of names such as Fab 5 Freddy , FUTURA, Barry McGee , Mister Cartoon , KAWS and AIKO.
The landscape of crypto artists is populated, and the name we highlight today is that of OtherWorld, an artist from Los Angeles who manages to define a world that, to use his words, could be described as “psychedelic and surreal”. The surrealism of his compositions is in the choice of subjects and group scenes, taken from the long tradition of Renaissance and Romantic painting and frescoes, in which historical and religious subjects form large dynamic compositions full of pathos. The psychedelia is linked more to the style with which Other World chooses to cite these references, resorting to highlighter colours completely detached from the background landscapes.
The result that is created is that of a strong contrast both stylistic and thematic, as well as a gloominess that is often given by certain details inserted by the artist such as the destructive fire, the dark skies and the faces of the characters, black with a frightening Venom smile. To use Other World’s words again, it is “a dark but brightly coloured art”, combining a peculiar technique – a combination of collage and illustration for a digital work – and a high citationism that creates originality in the Crypto Art scene. The quotation helps the artist not to have to explain too much, not to emphasise the didactic component of the works, leaving the task to the context, the background and gestures that have become familiar thanks to art history. Play and colour are the artist’s share of freedom of interpretation, which he invites us to take, before history and before symbols that are often considered untouchable.
To start again mean to make lists and lists of good intentions and new rules that then, inevitably, end up in oblivion after a few weeks.
We think and ignore small guides who could actually save our lives, especially our emotional lives.
But, in a very ironic way, to remind us that this leads us to have very bad ideas, mediocre loves, fears and great difficulty to express our feelings, there is Johan Deckmann.
Artist, practicing psychologist and author based in Copenhagen is inspired by the self-help book typical of the 70s.
Deckmann, in fact, starts from his theoretical knowledge about the human mind and, through the use of words, analyzes its behavior and thoughts.
“I like the idea of distilling words to compress information, feelings or fantasies into an essence, a truth. The right words can be like good medicine.”
His artworks, which have been around the world since 2015, have been exhibited in several galleries with great success.
Here you can find some of his works but it’s worth seeing them all and you can find them here and here.
The world of artist Cato is full of energy and vibrations, both artistic and musical. These characteristics are evident in the works the artist creates with collage, acrylics and airbrush. His being a musician returns not only in the choice of subjects, which are often players that refer to jazz melodies, but also in the energy that always seems to accompany the actions of his works. It is difficult to imagine moments of stasis or calm, the narrative described is the result of an intention to recount a life that is fast and alive, bringing people and landscapes together. This movement is clear in Cato’s video projects, but it also returns in the superimposition of portraits and sharp cuts without necessarily respecting the proportions and harmony of the bodies.
One does not struggle to understand the situations, and the stories that the characters depicted are living, Cato’s ability is precisely that of being able to create with little effort a fascinating narrative that introduces the viewer into the author’s personal world.