Saturday 30 May 2009

'Trespassers of the World Unite' private view- 28th May

Earlier in the week I was lucky enough to be invited to the private view of the new Toaster’s exhibition hosted by Nelly Duff Gallery in a disused space on Kingsland road. Suffice to say that the Toasters are an elusive collective of street artists who have joined forces with several other influential artists from across Europe to produce a collaborative exhibition titled ‘Trespassers of the World Unite’.

I have long been a fan of the Toasters artwork and street art, and even included their iconic Toaster symbol in a photography book I wrote called ‘Street Style; the culture, social significance, and politics of graffiti and street art’ (pictured below). Therefore as you can imagine it was a great honour for me to be invited to preview this exhibition and I was far from disappointed.
For all those unfamiliar with the Toaster’s work let me fill you in. The Toaster project started on New Year’s Eve 1998 up in Wolverhampton where a group of artistic friends came up with the idea to make a mundane everyday household object famous by subverting the image through graphic rendering. Having taken their Toaster art to the streets since 1999 they have created stickers, posters, and murals which have decorated cities around the world such as Berlin, Stockholm, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Sydney, New York, Paris and of course London town.

‘Trespassers of the World Unite’ celebrates the Toasters work over the past decade and pays tribute to their fellow artists and graffiti writers who they befriended many years ago. Exhibitors aside from the Toasters themselves include Will Baras, Bomb kid, Butch, Crackrock, Dicy, Eco, Erosie, Inflenza, Mr Jago, Late, Paris, Phet, Rabodiga, Space3 and Zime.
Amazing exhibition which made me want to run hope and get the old silk screen out so watch this space. ‘Trespassers of the World Unite’ is showing at 9 Kingsland Road, E1 until 14th June.
Invitation courtesy of the Toasters.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Cy Twombly @ The Gagosian gallery

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to have the day off from the bores of my day job on a beautifully sunny day which I spent at one of my favourite London spaces; the Gagosian Gallery on Britannia Street. Situated just a stone’s throw from where I used to live, this gallery is rather dear to me. Reminiscent of my first Gagosian experience in New York’s Chelsea in 2004, this space holds a special place as it reminds me of home and also inspires me to want to create my own art to fill its vast and immaculate white walls. What I love most about this space is the lofty feel to it with its huge iron framework, enormous glass doors and vast open plan rooms it’s so beautiful, unadulterated and inspiring that I would happily take up squatting as a profession if it meant I could call it home.

So in love with the building am I that I’m sure many wouldn’t be surprised to hear that’s why I visited; simply to stand in the centre of the space and take it all in. Much to my excitement and privilege I had another reason for visiting; the new Cy Twombly exhibition.

Exhibiting five new large scale paintings under the masthead ‘The Rose’ Twombly’s works revisit his past success of ‘Analysis of the Rose as Sentimental Despair’ (1985) and also references Warhol’s Flower series reflected by the nature of repetition in the form of his roses. For me this is what is quintessential Twombly and what I love most about his work; the practice.
Whilst still in my youth Twombly is an artist that I would describe myself as having had a long relationship with as I am such a fan of his life’s work. I’ve always been in love with the poetic nature and romanticism of his work and have often taken great delight in the musings and old literature scribbled alongside his paintings. Perhaps it was this that first lead me to him; his effortless marriage of text and image working together so flawlessly to convey his message to the masses. Perhaps it’s my obvious love of graffiti which led his work to resonate with me from a young age, all I know is that I loved the powerful punch that his work gives as it’s so strong in its ideals, execution and conviction, no matter how subtle and at times faint the work present on the canvas may be.

I remember my first real encounter with Twombly’s work face to face at the Serpentine gallery back in the summer of 2004 where he was exhibiting his ‘Four Seasons’ (1993-94) as part of the wider series ’50 Years of Works on Paper’. I was so intrigued by his rationing and use of colour and notably, the contrast between the season’s; so obvious yet so genius. It was there upon walking from room to room that I realised how much of a ground breaking artist he was to me, and how good I could be if I took elements of his work and applied them to my own style.
Whilst the new exhibition ‘The Rose’ was as enthralling as I’d hoped I think it adds to the magnificence that is his body of work and on its own I feel doesn’t possess the same depth that I see in previous works, but for Twombly I don’t believe that to be an insult. I hope this 80 year old veteran and much respected member of the establishment will continue to explore nature and time forever. I feel that his body of work is so bright and poignant that it will forever explore nature and time as there will always be a new landscape and generations to both compare and appreciate the beauty in his work.

I hoped when I was younger that I could be as great an artist as Twombly, and now that I’m older I hope that a I’m lucky enough to be as inspired and dedicated to my life’s work as he clearly is, as there is no way to emulate his success without first finding that one thing that truly inspires me to outdo myself.