The Somerset House is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s book Utopia with a large show called UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility.
As part of this major exhibition, arts organisation A(by)P have renewed their collaboration with Somerset House ( see our previous coverage on Mapping the City and Futurismo Ancestral) with a new exhibition Venturing Beyond: Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street.
The show is exploring unsanctioned public art – or graffiti – as an intrinsically utopian practice and features specially-commissioned work of eighteen street artists from around the globe, including Antwan Horfée, Brad Downey, Eltono, Filippo Minelli, Huskmitnavn, Les Freres Ripoulain, Lucas Dillon, Mike Ballard, Misha Hollenbach, Nano4814, Petro, Revok, Russell Maurice, Saeio, Shepard Fairey, Sixe Paredes and Swoon.
Italian artist Fillipo Minelli kicked off the exhibition with his smoke performance, part of his ongoing Silence / Shapes series.
Using high visibility material, Petro (UK) enables the viewers to venture in places not normally accessible (through its ability to make the wearer invisible).
Blur Book from Les Freres Ripoulain (FR) is a version of a graffiti artist’s ‘Black Book’, but they have pixelated the content, to draw attention to the site specific context in which these works exist and to the performative doing of graffiti. NegatifX features a selection of images from their urban interventions between 2006 and 2016.
Brad Downey (US) created installation works that remain invisible at first sight using coloured wall plugs, installed directly behind other artist’s pieces.
Mike Ballard‘s series of work are inspired by the ‘urban hieroglyphics’ left by utility companies left on London Streets and explore the threshold between public and private space.
From 13 – 20 April, French artists Horfée and Russell Maurice will take up residency, providing visitors with an insight into the processes of the practice. Working in situ, they will produce a new body of work based on the utopian themes of the exhibition. This project space will then remain open for viewing alongside the main exhibition until 2 May.
In addition, A(by)P and Somerset House will be producing a wide-ranging programme of events to follow the key themes of the exhibition, including workshops, talks, films, music and performances.
View the full set of pics here
Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street.
3 March – 2 May 2016
Terrace Rooms, South Wing