Monday, 17 December 2012

Urban Masters 2012

Right in the middle of Shoreditch, right off Curtain Rd, in a little alleyway behind Hewett St, behind doors that could perfectly belong to a backstreet car hand wash, just signalled by a handmade cardboard and white chalk: Urban Masters, organised by The Opera Gallery. Quite an interesting offset from the usual white wall gallery but in the shape and form of what street art is: something more warehouse-y, in an old Victorian Factory. 13 Hearn Street.

To warm up, a classic 80s tag in blue and green neon by Risk.

Neon Sign by Risk

One of my favourites pieces from the exhibition was actually right at the entrance. Remarkable in its bright magenta background, there it was: a portrait of Chairman Mao made out of more than 9000 plastic soldiers, by Joe Black. Brilliant.

Chairman Mao. Joe Black. Soldiers

Chairman Mao. Joe Black. Soldiers

Chairman Mao. Joe Black. Soldiers

And right next to Mao, there it was ROA, with his usual animal pieces and bit à la Gunther Von Hagens, showing the internal bits of the dog (titled Canis), and a hint of anatomy class for kids. Brilliant as usual, bone included.

Canis. ROA

Bones. ROA

Kan was also there, with his puntillistic approach to emulate Warhol's signature pieces. Made with markers.

Interesting dynamic piece by the German Mentalgassi, consisting on the parallel slates of a fence: different angles, two different pieces, or nothing, depending on the perspective. It reminded me of the very famous garage door on Curtain Road that showcases the pieces with the same concept of different angles.

Love, Crash and Burn by Zevs. It reminded me of thehuge crashed car at the Sunday Upmarket.

And yes, before anybody asks, Bansky was also invited to the party, but in my opinion, his piece did not bring much to the table. So was Blek Le Rat, but still, the Parisian is not my cup of tea anyway. Bleh, let's move on.

Banksy. Kill mom?

And the night was all about the portraits. Shall we call this piece 'Portrait of Picasso with an Oomph'? Because everything looked pretty normal from afar, but the close up look was another story. Also by Joe Black, and definitely an artist I am going to keep following.

Picasso portrait by Joe Black. Badges

Picasso portrait by Joe Black. Badges detail

Badges, definitely not suitable for work.

The brilliant Colombian Stinkfish was also there in the house to showcase his art. He just left discrete piece in wood and black ink, shy in comparison with his usual colourful pieces that we are used to see, but still terrific. Powerful. One of my favourites.

Nick Gentry, new for me, gambled for the portrait again, taken me back to childhood, given a far more functional use to the loathed floppy disks. It was quite entertaining to spot the programs on the labels. Actually a Londoner: Social art from the obsolete, that's what his biography says.

Nick Gentry. Floppy disks

Piece on wood by ZeZão.

More Graphical and sober was ---- with the use of nails and string, which by the way, reminded me of the London-based artist Perspicere, who uses a similar technique. Good stuff.

The exhibition was starting to be a retrospective thing, a return to my childhood in terms of the materials used by the artists: string, floppy disks, markers, and now painted toy trains, by Gris1.

Gris1 graffiti trains

Gris1 graffiti trains

A reinterpretation of Picasso's masterpiece Guernica by Ron English. Still dramatic, but in another different tone. Cowgirl Guernica.

Ron English. Cowgirl Guernica

David Shillinglaw. Impressive too.

The very famous around East London streets C215 didn't want to miss the opportunity to hang one of his pieces in a disused road sign.

Free, exciting and sufficient. A good wrap up for all the Street Art that has been blooming around on the last year.

We want more.

Masters indeed. This was a good lecture.

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