Sticker art in Berlin.
Visiting Berlin in 2013 it was virtually impossible not to notice the rich presence of street art. And bumping into a guided tour also gave a historic glimpse into the development of the genre in this city. You’ll find everything from sticker art, to stencil art, to large murals painted by hand. Most of these works are planned and prepared in advance either using computers or by handcraft. Stickers were used both to make subtle changes to signs to change or add to their meaning, and to more or less fully conceal their intended message altogether.
One of the numerous murals in Berlin.
It’s quite fascinating that the public spaces are filled with art like this, avaliable to enjoy for free. This movement seems to thrive despite for the most part being nonprofit, and despite the fact that most of these artworks will fade, dissolve, or be removed. That this is illegal most places is most likely both adding to the motivation of the artists, and shortening the lifespan of the artworks. As this genre has gradually gained more acceptance as an artform it has also found it’s way to art galleries and auctions, either by the artists contributing to the exhibitions themselves, or by speculants removing artworks from the streets to make money.
I was lucky enough to come across a street art exhibition in the Bergen School of Architecture in 2014. The basement under the huge iconic silos were filled with the works of street artists. Of course the question came to mind; When will street art stop being street art? Will street art be affected if you take it from the street sphere, and into the gallery spaces? Or has it developed such distinctive characteristics that it has become an artform defined by its unique expression rather than by which form or environment it’s presented in.
Hope. There’s nothing like hope.
The experience street artists gain from experimenting in their open air studio and playground seems to be very solid education, and they expand their repertoire to other mediums. One of the artworks from the exhibition that really caught my attention was a screenprint called “Håp” (Hope). The idea of it is based on the packaging of a popular Norwegian spread called “Hapå”. All the details from the original is kept, with the exception of the name. Of course this also changes the slogan containing the name into a rather positive message: “There’s nothing like hope”. That the details on the lid is kept adds a humourous touch, as it says “Easy to open”. If you need inspiration to make some art, you might just take a look into your fridge.
The first screen from “The Secret and the Wolf” by Myron Campbell
While browsing net-art.org this week i came across a work by Myron Campbell called “The Secret and The Wolf”. It tells the story of a wolf protecting its book of secrets. When you eventually manage to trick the wolf into losing the book, it becomes small and fragile. This artist makes interactive animations and installations, made from 2d and 3d objects. The visual narrative has an appearance that can be related to memories and dreams, and that could be the reason why the rest of the parts of this work seems even more surreal and difficult to understand.
I think many of us can somehow relate to this wolf somehow as we are selective in what we share on social media. Maybe we wear a mask as we approach this shared virtual space, and the lines blur between theater and reality. Many unknowingly engage in advanced artistry while building and painting facades to protect their privacy and facelift their appearance.
I wonder how large a gap people can make between their self and their online personality. Oh, how bad this can turn out if these two are forced to “meet” and as they are juxtaposed either nullify eachother, or collapse and develop a black hole. A lot of people make virtual online worlds a part of their real world, and some replace the real world to various degrees, to escape from reality. I wonder what could happen if the borders between these worlds blur or disappear…
In her work “Eunoia II”, Lisa Park goes the opposite way. Instead of bringing virtual worlds inside, she gives us a glimpse of her inner landscapes. She visualizes her feelings by translating brainwaves to sound, via movement, and into a visual expression in the room surrounding her. It does’t really reveal her feelings and thoughts, but still there is a translation of inner movements that can be seen and measured in the outside world. At least it’s a glimpse of what could become possible in the future, and in the end our only limitation is our imagination.