Project One: Icons at 108 Fine Art – curated by RedHouse Originals
Source: Financial Times, written by Jackie Wullschlager
‘Critic’s Choice’ 20 – 21st September, 2008
Graffiti – sorry, urban art – is an eclectic subject for an exhibition in genteel Harrogate, especially at 108’s elegant Edwardian town house gallery. But that is the point: street art insistently undermines, challenges, reconfigures expectations about aesthetics, the art market, the surfaces of our cities. This exhibition crams into a sober domestic setting large-scale spray-paint work on concrete, metal, billboards and fences along with sculpture, collage, screenprints and woodblocks. Artists – few use their real names – range from godfather of stencil graffiti, Parisian Blek le Rat, who loans his mixed media on concrete pastiche of classicism Liberty Wall (1993) and a Michelangelo parody David with Kalashnikoff, and established British figures Banksy and Goldie to a lesser-known younger generation.
Among these, Space Invader, whose logos have “invaded” 36 cities worldwide as a game against the urban landscape, shows a mosaic portrait of Rubik’s Cube blocks; Paul Insect infuses Gothic Victoriana with popular culture in portraits such as Gold Dead Sid; Neverwork satirises decadent consumerism with Brand Grenade; and the collective Ezra poses ironic takes on American superhero comics reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein. The crossover of art, music and fashion is acknowledged in work old and new: reprises by Peter Blake – a 2007 version of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – and Gerald Laing (Kate Moss), Jamie Reid’s 1970s Sex Pistols punk portraits and prints depicting the Queen with swastika eyeballs and safety pin-slashed lips; James Cauty’s gas-marked monarch in 12th Class Stamp of Mass Destruction. Juxtaposed with Michael Sandle’s 1977 Mickey Mouse War Memorial is Tim Shaw’s glorious plastic-bronze Man on Fire, a hypothetical fourth plinth scrawled with graffiti protesting the Iraq war.
www.108fineart.com, from today to October 11, 2008