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OFF THE WALL – From Vandalism to Urban Art
Jean Michel Basquiat, Blek Le Rat, Bansky, Kendell Carter, Darkcloud, Evol/CT’INK, Richard Hambleton, Keith Haring, Lady Pink, Pisa73/CT’INK, Matt Siren, Madeline Stillwell
November 1st – December 20th, 2008
Vernissage: Saturday, November 1st 2008, 7 pm
Since its early beginnings as an art form in the 1970's, Street art,
Graffiti - or Urban Art has been considered a transgression. Graffiti
writers, who usually were not schooled in classical arts and didn't adhere
to the confines of the classical picture plane and its white cube dwellings
became visible through the cracks of a society then desperately trying
to re-define itself from the burden of modernity.
Graffiti imagery owes close proximity to "tribal art" and early
academic readings tended to bundle it with rebellious communities that
operated outside of organized society. Some even considered the works
and life styles of graffiti writers to embody urban criticism in its most
democratic form. It was an art form dressed in anonymity, created without
care for posterity, made without applying classic value systems and for
the most part presented in such a way that it became a constant reminder
of the decay of Western ideals and philosophies.
Colonization and incorporation of any rebellious activity is the inevitable response of popular culture - soaking up every transgression to feed it back to the public as mainstream culture. Early communities of graffiti writers of the 1970's and 80's were soon added to the general language of the art world. The initial euphoria of this new art form however, soon wore off and "graffiti art" was deemed a passing fad, for lack of better academic support and art-world agendas. There was simply no platform to expand for any scholarship to evoke further meaning.
Toward the end of the 1990's, a different form of urban visual expression began to be noticed on the streets of major cities. This time it was inward looking, highly individualistic and performing within a language much different to the initial "tribal" works from some decades before. It emerged from a number of artists who had been seasoned by different means of communication, mainly the growing influence of the Internet and its default openness to exchange of information. But also the artists' need to redefine visual space in the urban environment, now consolidating threats such as invasion of the personal sphere, objection to surveillance of commonly shared space and the threat to the private being in the public domain.
The show, "Off the Wall - From Vandalism to Urban Art", at WILDE Gallery aims to examine the bridge between the earlier generations of street artists and the ongoing practice of current artists dealing with urban discourse.
WILDE Gallery would like to thank the private collectors and partner
galleries who's generous contributions has made this exhibition possible.
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