City, this means streets, squares, bridges, house walls and garage walls. Urbanity, this signifies the expression of life in between, the trace of human activity and noise. Coming from the rough, painted wall in public space, the Urban Art Scene is strongly inspired by site-specific c work as well as the reaction to and the etc on the surrounding. A group of contemporary artists under the influence of this interaction questions current orders and aesthetics of expression to create different visual worlds in painting.
In the exhibition ‚DIRTY VOYAGE‘ Theresa Volpp, Stephen Smith, Nartur Kunstgruppe, Johannes Mundinger, Clement Mancini, Adrien Ladmiral, Jenny Brosinski, David von Bahr and Christian August show the pictorial journey from the authentic image of Urban art to abstracted, technically formal processes. The origin of their work may be the same, however, the juxtaposed works achieve their own conclusions and visual languages which on the one hand display the curator’s personal taste and on the other allow an issue-specific discourse.
The exciting question arises, how painting originating from the adamant wall in public space, succeeds to persist, isolated and focused on formal expression. The canvas‘ rectangle surface is used as a natural ground in this context and gives access to the interior of the houses and galleries.
It is in these places that the new positions and images are rarely shown. The understanding of this kind of painting has yet to be established. In his compiled group exhibition artist and curator, Christian August proclaims a new movement in painting and demands its appreciation beyond the Urban Art Scene.
We asked several questions to the curator of this exhibition Christian August, besides his works are also represented at the exhibition.
How did you get the idea to organize a group exhibition? What motivated you?
Last year, the Berlin-based author and musician Jan “Yaneq” Kage asked me if I was interested in curating an exhibition with him at the Schau Fenster gallery. I thought the idea was great and thought it would challenge me as an artist to play the role of curator. At that point, we didn’t yet know which artists and what concept we’d be working with.
What criteria did you use to choose your artists?
I had a feeling that there are many young artists who are inspired by urban art and the graffiti scene and have been working for quite some time now with abstract painting.
It’s very good that there’s a platform like yours showing a wide array of these artists. But what’s missing are the exhibitions were you can actually go see the paintings. At least in Berlin. Followers are interested in seeing the real works of art, in person. Because it’s a totally different way of experiencing art.
When I created the exhibition, I found that Theresa Volpp, Stephen Smith, Nartur Kunstgruppe, Johannes Mundinger, Clement Mancini, Adrien Ladmiral, Jenny Brosinski and David von Bahr were a great combination of international and Berlin-based artists.
How did the organization of this exhibition start? As we understand it was your first time curating.
The beginning wasn’t easy. The line-up was just an idea at that point, no one knew me as a curator, and I had no budget to work with. I also couldn’t offer any big-name galleries. But I wanted an exhibition of international artists, not just artists from Berlin.
I contacted most of the artists via Instagram, told them what I was hoping to do, and slowly, they started saying yes. They all loved the concept and the group of artists we intended to show. I was able to visit the Berlin-based artists at their studios before the show and I helped pick out some of their pieces. That was a really exciting and important experience for me.
What was the most difficult and time-consuming part of this work?
The hardest part was the time constraint I had in putting it all together since my daughter was born in the middle of the planning phase. She brought with her new feelings, responsibilities and more important things than art.
The exhibition has been successful! Are you interested in curating again?
The opening was great and the exhibition has been a complete success. I have to thank all of the participating artists again for all of their work. Maybe now I’ll curate a yearly exhibition – who knows.
I think an understanding of this type of painting is still being established. With this group exhibit, I’m proclaiming as both an artist and a curator that there’s a new current in painting and I’m pushing for it to be recognized in both the urban art and graffiti scenes.