Last year may not have been the most prolific for Italian street art legend Blu (previously), who besides releasing Minima Muralia, a 288-page collection of 15 years of murals, completed only two officially announced murals. His latest piece titled Capita, was recently shared on the elusive artist’s only official communication channel Blublu.org. The mural was painted in Rome’s Rebibbia neighborhood, and was realized in collaboration with Comitato Mammut, a self-managed civic organization. Painted using artist’s intricate illustrative style, the image depicts an imaginary amusement park water slide attraction as a sharp critique of the social injustices of capitalism.
The slide offers participants several colorful entry points on top with all but one ending in the same swamp-like cesspool of trash. The only slide that keeps its original color and shape, gold, is the one used by politicians, businesspersons, and religious representatives. Ending with a crystal clear pool with and cocktail table set on a lush green field, it’s a direct commentary on subdued class division present in modern societies throughout the Western world. The piece further comments on the dramatic shift in the political climate of his Italian homeland, especially in terms of immigration and the ongoing refugee crisis. Painted on an 8-story building, the work’s oceanic backdrop depicts small boats filled with people on one side with luxurious yachts floating on the other.
Earlier this year, Blu spent several days in Valencia, Spain, taking part in Sensemurs project, the first meeting of muralists whose goal is to raise awareness of the repeated abuses by the local port authority toward people living in the La Huerta (Orchard) area. For this mural he depicted port authority personnel as Egyptian pharaohs using the local community as a source of free slave labor. A few months later he began work on another large piece in Rome, painting revisited versions of the Greek Venus de Milo next to a similarly redone David by Michelangelo, as a commentary on the modern values of consumerist society. The piece is yet to be finished.
Blu remains completely focused on working with non-government organizations and groups, creating works as a gift and source of empowerment for local communities, all while trying to retain is anonymity. Exposing everyone from corrupt politicians to violent police or greedy real-estate moguls, the artist is continuously producing work that supports common people and their fight against an increasingly imbalanced economic and political system. (via Juxtapoz)
Tamara Djurovic, who goes by the artist name Hyuro (previously), is wrapping up 2018 as arguably her most prolific year. With striking, diverse, and monumental murals painted everywhere from Brazil, Italy, and Spain to Belgium and The Netherlands, her output never looked more impressive and her aesthetics more distinctive.
Growing up in Argentina, Hyuro was attracted to murals at a young age. Buenos Aires has a long tradition of culture surrounding public space, and murals have always been an essential element. “[I’m] not sure in which moment I started to love it, or if it was always there,” she tells Colossal, “I think I could have never imagined the strong impact that working on public spaces had on me.”
What started with flat, often black and white imagery of simplified feminine figures evolved into intricate, highly painterly images that cleverly play with their surroundings and architecture. Without a particular theme to work within, Hyuro’s work is regularly focused on commenting and portraying the more complex side of human beings. She explores how our inner lives affect the relationships with have with ourselves, and how they are reflected in society.
The personal aspect of her work starts with her observations and concerns, continues through reference photos she creates for each piece, and then transfers onto passersby who observe the murals and create different interpretations of them. “I’m not interested in these subjects only from a representation perspective, but as well as a way to keep understanding and knowing myself and somehow try to understand, or digest better the world where we live in,” she explains.
Spending long stretches alone on a cherry picker or scaffold, it’s the challenge of completing the work that is the most important drive for her, along with the satisfying tiredness that comes after the completion of the work. “This last year I hardly spent time in the studio,” Hyuro shares about her 2018 schedule, which was wrapped up with the piece she recently finished in Brazil. Feeling torn about being constantly “on the road” and knowing that some time off is healthy and much needed, she continues her work as it’s a way for her to deal with her most inner feelings. By painting larger than life images depicting everyday moments and nuanced emotions, Djurovic expresses the human experience in a way that both honors and explores the complexities of humanity.
The French creative company La Machine recently premiered their latest creation, a nearly 50-foot-tall robotic Minotaur, in Toulouse, France. The beast marched through the labyrinthine streets of the city’s old town accompanied by a 42-foot spider for the group’s latest production The Guardian of the Temple. The pair of machines performed an operatic interpretation of the myth of Ariadne, a Cretan princess who helped Theseus overcome the Minotaur, to live music. These impressive kinetic sculptures are La Machine’s latest project from their oeuvre of mechanical bestiary which has operating worldwide since 1999.
Bringing together artists, technicians, and show decorators, this unique group of enthusiasts and experts construct atypical show objects, and movement is the key factor for their awe-inspiring performances and creations. La Machine’s animal-like works turn the cities into dream worlds. “We always work on movement,” La Machine’s head of marketing, Frédette Lampre tells Colossal. “It’s our artistic line and we always use the fine material such as wood, leather, copper, or glass, and never use plastics.”
The mechanical spider was constructed over the course of two years by a team of around 60 people. The mythical Minotaur machine is half electric and half combustion, and moves around the city with the help of 17 operators. Although this technical beast weighs over 10,000 pounds, it still has the capacity to move smoothly and realistically between the city’s large buildings and blast steam out of its large nostrils.
The performance was organized as an introduction of the newly repurposed Toulouse Aerospace district. After presenting their creations and projects throughout Germany, Belgium, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Japan, China, and Canada, their upcoming shows are scheduled for Nantes and Calais in France. You can see a portion of the Toulouse-based performance in the video below and view past productions on La Machine’s website, Instagram, and Youtube. (via Dioniso Punk)
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Malaga-based artist Julio Anaya Cabanding paints well-known masterpieces in unsuspecting public places to create captivating trompe l’oeil interventions. The classic scenes and their ornate frames are hand-painted on unlikely backdrops such as graffiti-filled walls, crumbling buildings, and slabs of stones by the sea. These decrepit locations are chosen on purpose, as Anaya Cabanding seeks a distinct contrast to the pristine halls of traditional art museums. “These places are inhospitable, decadent, and inappropriate to receive such a valuable object,” he explains to Colossal. “Opposite of what a museum is.”
Anaya Cabanding symbolically “steals” the works of art, presenting them in locations that are abandoned, peripheral, or difficult to access. To create each work he first outlines his replica in spray paint, and then meticulously fills in the details in acrylic paint. The practice evolved from his art education at the University of Fine Arts in Malaga where he developed an interest in site-specific works and traditional trompe l’oeil. It was at the encouragement of his graffiti-writing friend Imon Boy that he first moved his work from the studio to the street. “I really liked the result and the relationship between the trompe l’oeil painting and the environment, so I decided to continue doing that,” he recounts of his initial experience.
His interventions are so meticulously rendered that people often think they are Photoshopped, or mistake them for the original paintings. “A year ago I painted two paintings by Lucian Freud… in an exhibition with colleagues from the university,” he says. “When talking to one of their mothers one week later, a colleague realized she still thought she had seen two real paintings.” Recently Anaya Cabanding participated in the Jornadas Z de Montalbán contemporary art project organized by Rafael Jiménez and Demetrio Salces, in Córdoba, Spain. You can follow the Spanish artist’s uncanny interventions on Instagram.
After almost three months of working on-site at the Mattress Factory, OSGEMEOS (previously) revealed Lyrical, one of their most intimate and complex presentations to date. The exhibition includes a vast array of the Brazilian twins’ work, including paintings, sculptures, murals, in situ interventions, audio elements, found objects, and an impressive zoetrope sculpture originally created for their 2014 Ópera da Lua exhibition in São Paulo. An entire section of the show is built with pieces from their private collection, which includes folk art they’ve acquired during their travels. These collected works are displayed alongside small-scale pieces created especially for the exhibition.
Growing up in the bustling and multicultural Cambuci neighborhood of São Paulo, the brothers were exposed to hip hop at an early age. The pair started off as breakdancers, and have also dabbled as DJs and MCs before eventually becoming graffiti writers. Through street art, OSGEMEOS discovered their city’s rich culture, which helped develop their unique universe which they continue to expand upon today. Their installations, murals, and paintings are filled with colorful characters that imitate everyday people and friends, brought together to express the rich culture of the hip hop and graffiti world. You can visit Lyrical at the Mattress Factory through August 4, 2019.
After taking a much-needed break over the summer following his successful presentation in Paris in June, Pejac is now back in his studio, developing new works for his U.S. debut in New York City and preparing a special limited edition that will be released toward the end of the year. Mixing his most recognizable techniques and mediums, he’s been sharing some of the alluring new pieces via his Instagram, including most recent drawings and works on pressed wood panels.
The Spanish artist first introduced the captivating works on wooden chipboard from the Redemption series back in January 2017, and eventually had an entire showcase focused on these pieces back in September 2017 in Venice. Known for revisiting his ideas and concepts, he recently finished this poignant new piece titled Safari. Mixing some of the previously seen imagery, such as patrolling helicopters with a spotlight, or a lonely stag, Pejac combines these visuals into a dynamic image that depicts a wild animal caught in the open by an unknown authority. Using fastidious shading and light effects, he uses the unorthodox composite wood medium to create a powerful effect of objects flying around the animal as its surrounding crumble around it. Once again putting a focus on the careless and ignorant bearing of humans towards nature, the artist constructed a gripping image utilizing an original technique he developed.
With similar thematic content, Pejac’s most recent solo exhibition on an old waterway barge on the Seine in Paris included three masterful large-scale drawings, along with other works on paper. Portraying a post-apocalyptic, surreal future, these meticulously rendered drawings mounted on thick frames were matched the quality of his paintings while depicting the hefty subject with a direct and delicate technique. Showing a lone character diving deep to retrieve a sinking lifebuoy ring in between plastic waste, or a helicopter removing a lighthouse over a desert, these images showcase Pejac’s poetic vision and his ability to pass a sharp and weighty message in the most poetic way.
A great example of such narrative is his canvas Le Bateau Ivre (The drunken boat) from 2015, titled after a poem written by Arthur Rimbaud, describing the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea in a fragmented first-person narrative saturated with vivid imagery and symbolism. Making an analogy with poem’s verbal saturation, the image shows two boys finishing from a small boat drifting through a sea densely polluted with garbage. Originally exhibited at his 2016 London solo show “Law of the Weakest,” this troubling vision from only three years ago is repeatedly becoming an alarming reality around the globe. You can see Pejac’s works in progress and stay up to date on show and print release announcements by following him on Instagram.
Italian graffiti artist Eron (previously) creates poignant spray painted interventions which speak to humanitarian and social issues. Recently he created a stunning piece titled Tower to the People in Santarcangelo, Italy which converted a simple brick tower into a monumental painting celebrating the power of non-violence. The work features a raised fist that is constructed from a mass of lush roses painted in a classical chiaroscuro technique. The contrast between the fragility of the flowers and the power of the symbol they create speaks to the combined strength of individuals when united for a common cause.
Similar to his previous creations, the artist used spray paint to create an illusion of depth. The work appears almost sculptural, as if the fist was erected with the tower itself, rather than added on as a painted detail. Columns flank either side of the fist, each with hearts near the top and bottom corners. Eron explains that the work is a tribute to “the strength of gentleness, the power of non-violence, the victory of kindness, the triumph of love over hate, the intensity of poetry, the perfection of harmony, and the desire for freedom and peace among the people all over the world.”
In 2015 Eron was included in the landmark exhibition Bridges Of Graffiti during 2015 Venice Biennale, and earlier this year he painted one of his largest street art interventions to date in Milan. In addition to the public works, Eron has also been creating smaller pieces that revive found objects through his application of ghostly imagery. At the same time, the artist is producing studio works on canvas which cleverly mix realistic and surreal imagery, creating captivating images that strongly rely on both light and shadow effects. You see more of his public and studio-based works on his website and Instagram.
It was 2003 when Banksy (previously), following a record-breaking auction result for one of his canvases, created a harsh critique of the art market widely known as the Morons image. The photograph was taken from the legendary 1987 Christie’s auction where Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (originally titled Tournesols) broke the record for the most expensive painting at auction when it sold for $39.9 million. The elusive artist replaced the painting by the Dutch master with a text saying “I can’t believe you morons actually buy this shit.” A few years later the image was released as an unsigned edition at the Banksy’s 2006 Barely Legal show in LA, and it came to life every single time a copy of the print sold at an auction.
Banksy has now become a household name, and that his work achieves strong prices at major auctions is no longer a curiosity or exception. When Sotheby’s announced that a final lot of their Contemporary Art Evening Auction on the Friday night of 2018 Frieze week in London would be a previously unseen version of Banksy’s arguably most iconic image, Girl With Balloon, the art world was ready for another exceptional result. The painting on canvas was presented in an exceptionally thick and ornate frame, and sold for 1,042,000 GBP (1,357,726 USD including premiums) which matched the artist’s previous auction record from 2008. The real sensation, however, came moments after.
As the auctioneer was rounding up the evening and saying thank you and goodbye, an alarm went off and the canvas began to slide out of the bottom of the frame in strips. It seems that the artist built a shredder inside the thick frame that would allow the painting to self-destruct when triggered. At this point, it is unclear how the auction house could have allowed such a stunt, or what legal repercussions this act might have. Once again Banksy has managed to deliver quite the statement to the art market, and all inside the heart of one of it’s strongest and most established bastions. To quote his Instagram post on the surprising incident, “Going, going, gone…”
Video via @iknowaguy.gallery