BERLIN · once upon a time there was a little boy in a country called Czechoslovakia, who wanted to be a pirate. one day he walked by a garage and stumbled upon a can of spray-paint. today the country no longer exists, but the boy, now a full-bearded man, carries his tin hook high!
Alesh One/Dissizit! #6315 is the name, urban artist but also “the umbrella” and “the bitch organizing” art shows, fueling artist collaborations and concepts, including the recurring Urban Art Clash – this year present in an open studio at PLATOON KUNSTHALLE Berlin. here urban art’s heavyweights mingle, genius collaborations take place and artistic talents discover new dimensions when they move from the streets and magazines onto canvases. “if I like it, if it transmits something I can feel and connect to, it is there,” Alesh says about the collection that includes works from artists Alexander Rodin, Bosso Fataka, Kiwie, Czarnobyl and many others. artists who are brands themselves he adds, which is one of the reasons why UAC does not collaborate with sponsors and brands, even though future and eventual ‘anonymous sponsoring’ is not necessarily out of the question.
for the first time in UAC’s 6-year-old lifetime, the word ‘exhibition’ has been added. but the lines are still not drawn the way we know it from white cube galleries and their silent, sterile atmosphere. contrary to traditional galleries’ “ta-da”- effect, Urban Art Clash offers viewers a look into works in progress and thereby artists’ intimate processes. Alesh for one is not a fan of things completed as such; instead it is the journey, the movement, and the ‘out’ that intrigues him. and even though some of the artworks are contained, their setting is still “a dirty, noisy parking lot”.
artists conquering city spaces worldwide with brushes, stencils, spray cans, sculptures, figures and stickers come together in a melting pot of nationalities and individual life stories, and clash most notably in the initiated project of same size series: 99 canvases that weave together the ‘everywhere’. the world gathers in a hybrid mosaic. also, more and more street mavericks continue to hang their artworks in galleries and museums (Alesh himself in Italy), expressing the still growing infatuation and appreciation of urban art in the public. a movement Alesh comments as simply “urban art overtaking the art scene,” proving those who thought graffiti was just a 80’s ‘ghetto thing’ wrong.
but is urban art slowly being domesticated?
things are not exactly the way they used to be: “I’m missing a lot of stuff on the streets. I remember how Berlin was a super full-painted-wall city! now, with all these new people coming to Berlin, who do not like us painting their buildings, it is different. I think, with every new hipster, a street artist dies! I would like to see buildings like they were painted before I WW, where they were painted inside and outside and this was a question of prestige. we will never reach that again, but we can still try.” while Alesh would like to have an enormous space archiving the story of the streets, he highlights the fact that they, the artists, are still on them. so no, urban art is not being domesticated as much as it still continues to domesticate space, turning non-lieux into places with faces. in this context, trains remain favourite canvases for Alesh personally: ghostlike transit-locations that he can paint flesh on, inviting the ones who pass by to see instead of look.
the romantic in him, fond of old, historical places - mainly the old Berlin and Tacheles, reflects he wants things to end the way they started, both art historically as well as ontologically. “when I was a little boy I was always building caves. I believe it is a human thing to build caves. the day I become a fucking old man, I want to live inside a cave and paint the walls till the day I die. when that day comes, you can close it up with me inside.”
at Urban Art Clash there are no traditional curators or gallery owners. there are graffiti-pirates sailing the architectonical ocean and urban cavemen. and everybody out there who would like to witness their beautiful creations are in luck: the Urban Art Clash exhibition is extended till the 14th of June. so drop by the metal cave before it grows wheels.
check here for more pictures.
Contributed by Martina Antunovic