American artist KAWS is currently exhibiting at Skarstedt Gallery in Paris. TIME OFF marks the culmination of a series of paintings started in 2020, at the height of the confinement, and features a new large scale bronze sculpture.
The works on view in TIME OFF are introspective and reflect on the transient nature of time. In each painting, KAWS’s signature Michelin’s man character CHUM appears before the viewer with complex configurations of bright bands of paint acting as an additional barrier between us and the figure, with the notion of time feeling constricting or isolating.
This series depict KAWS’s interpretation on personal confinement and the passing of time and the uncertainty of events.
As KAWS continues to delve into these themes, the paintings in this series become progressively more elaborate and, at times, chaotic, which draw the parallel on the events we are experiencing.
In some works the bars break free of their architecturally rendered confines and shoot out in all directions across the canvas, causing CHUM to duck down or become shrouded by them, respectively. Other paintings reflects the uncertainty of how to navigate the space we inhabit.
Despite the persistence of doubt in these works, KAWS leaves his viewers with a palpable optimism for the future with the use of bright and vivid colours. Not all hope is lost. Despite confusing and uncertain times, the aim is to seek artistic beauty and make the most of what is around you.
Until 22 April 2023, Skarstedt Gallery, 2 Avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris
Butterfly Art News is pleased to partner with the Ville de Paris for the Exhibition ‘CAPITALE(S) – 60 ans d’art urbain’, hosted within the Hotel de Ville, Paris City Hall, and running from 15 October until 3 June 2023. Free entry, but booking is essential here
Through the creations of more than 70 artists, works from prestigious collections, archive documents, photos and videos, in situ interventions, painted walls throughout the city, CAPITALE(S) presents a wide panorama of the Urban Art Movement and the importance of the Parisian scene spanning across the past 60 years.
The exhibition starts with pioneers from the 60’s and 70’s like Jacques Villegle, Raymond Hains, Ernest Pignon-Ernest or Zlotykamien.
Then the early 80’s feature the white man figures of Jerôme Mesnager, robots by Speedy Graphito and the proliferation of stencils by Miss Tic, Blek Le Rat, Mosko, Jef Aerosol, Epsylon Point.
This period of intense urban activity allows the emergence of artists’ collectives such as VLP (Vive la Peinture) affiliated with the punk culture or the Ripoulin brothers.
French-American teenager Bando (b. in 1965) introduced graffiti in France after writing in New York, followed by the New York City Rap Tour in 1982. Graffiti writers invade the banks of the Seine and adorn the palissades of the Louvre construction site. Stalingrad, a spot found by graffiti writer Ash, becomes the Hall of Fame for the prolific graffiti scene until 1989, featuring writers like Mode2, Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulman, Lokiss, Nasty, SKKI and numerous graffiti crew. In parallel Psychose paints in the catacombs and the underground sewers system.
In 1987 Keith Haring paints the emergency staircase of the Hopital Necker to provide hopes of brightening the spirits of sick children in the world’s first pediatric hospital.
Like in the US, graffiti was severely repressed in Paris in the early 90’s. American artists like Futura, A-One or even Rammellzee gain recognition from the European artistic community and present their works in galleries and museums in Paris. JonOne will settle permanently in Paris.
In the 2000’s, urban art has become a global movement with a multitude of techniques: from graffiti to street art, paste ups, stickers, stencils, mosaics and more. International artists are coming to Paris to leave their mark: Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Banksy, Vhils.
French artists have also gained international recognition: Andre, Invader, Zevs, JR, Dran, Lek and Sowat, Seth, L’Atlas, C215, Ludo, RERO, Philippe Baudelocqueto Levalet.
Specially for CAPITALE(S), Invader has put two new aliases to be flashed for all the Flash Invaders addicts and shared a fully updated map of his invasion of the streets of Paris.
The exhibition presents also immersive and playful experiences.
Kashink, Kraken and Madame have created 3 entirely virtual works, hidden in a secret room of the exhibition: “The Fifth Wall“. A hunt for clues in Augmented Reality can be found through QR codes to be scanned under the works.
Visitors can try out graffiti with a digital spray can through GRAFFITI DIGITAL Picturae.
Artist Cristobal Diaz has created a GRAFF BOX, an immersive experience combining urban calligraphic production with playful digital devices featuring 250 artists.
While it is difficult to include the full scope of artists that have been active in Paris in the past 60 years within the City Hall, the four curators Magda Danysz, Elise Herszkowicz, Nicolas Laugero Lasserre and Marko93 have gathered following artists:
• Jacques Villeglé • Zlotykamien • Ernest Pignon-Ernest • Surface Active • Captain Fluo • Edmond Marie Rouffet • Blek le Rat • Miss.Tic • VLP • Speedy Graphito • Jean Faucheur • Mesnager • Mosko • Jef Aérosol • Bando • Ash • Jay0ne • SKKI • Keith Haring • Mambo • Nasty • Slice • Psyckoze • Lokiss • Shoe • Futura • A-One • Rammellzee • Jon0ne • André • Zevs • Dize • Invader • Shepard Fairey • JR • Vhils • Swoon • Banksy • C215 • L’Atlas • YZ • Seth • Tarek Benaoum • eL Seed • Ludo • Rero • Dran • O’Clock • Tanc • Lek • Sowat • Cristobal Diaz • Philippe Baudelocque • Levalet • Madame • Kashink • Vision • Pest • Greky • Sébastien Preschoux • Romain Froquet • Kraken • 9eme Concept • Les Francs Colleurs • Saype
There is also a prolific programme throughout the exhibition:
New murals will be painted at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin and in several Parisian districts,
A selection of pictures will be featured on the gates of the City Hall,
Workshops, conferences and screenings of films and documentaries.
A book accompanying the exhibition is available at Gallimard / Editions Alternatives
Big thanks to all the teams, artists, photographers, lenders and institutions that have participated to the exhibition, specially Clemence Demolling, as well as all the artists that have contributed to the scene over the past 60 years.
CAPITALE(S) – 60 ANS D’ART URBAIN
PARIS HOTEL DE VILLE ( Paris City Hall), 5 Rue Lobeau 75004 Paris
Perrotin and Kasmin are presenting a jointly organized exhibition of new work by American artist Mark Ryden (b. 1963, US). Running until 30 July, ‘Animal Secrets’ comprises 10 paintings and 12 works on paper that further develop the artist’s series of portraiture, featuring mysterious and mythical creatures created during lockdown.
Conceived alongside the artist’s most recent exhibition at Perrotin Tokyo, the resulting gallery of enchanted characters embodies the artist’s meticulously-realized signature blend of archetype, kitsch, and narrative mysticism.
Mark Ryden’s imaginative artistic play manifests itself through deep layers of meanings and connotations: mythology and folklore mingle in this baroque universe as if to better explain the secret order of the universe.
His interest in the subject of animals as spiritual entities was first explored in his series. For his exhibition ‘Anima Animals’ in Shanghai gallery, Mark Ryden completed his paintings in early 2020, just as the entire world went into Covid lockdown. During this time of isolation in his Pacific-Northwest studio, Mark Ryden began a new series that further explored his reverence for these animal beings that act as guides through a landscape of the unknown. The figures in these paintings are neither human nor animal, they are spiritual entities that create a bridge between the human and animal worlds in which so much disharmony exists.
The artist’s practice is an ode to craftsmanship and refined materiality, from exquisite pictorial imagery to lavishly carved and embellished frames. At the same time, the artist probes into the invisible and secret order of the universe and interprets the life of things that are filled with spiritual essence.
Mark Ryden explores intimate anxieties and archetypes with a pop surrealist vision. Aesthetics juxtaposed with a certain folkore, taste for the bizarre, his style is distinguished by a remarkable technical mastery, with intricate details and symbols.
Several works in the exhibition are presented as ‘tavolettas,’ a handheld form common in Italy between the 14th and 17th centuries for devotional instruments of consolation. The Tavoletta series’ composition resembles a full-face representation of Christ and other saints in the tradition of byzantine icons and late medieval portraiture.
A figure rendered in a symmetrical pose in the center of the picture directly looks at the viewer. This time-honored, artistic craftsmanship elevates heavily sentimentalized elements of American tradition and antiquity, collected as though for a cabinet of wonders. The laborintensive canvases deftly rework centuries of art history, combining the grandeur of Spanish and Italian religious painting with the layered richness of Old Master compositions.
Ryden’s enigmatic characters dwell in harmony with nature amidst idealized landscapes. His tranquil sceneries evoke the nostalgia of Romantic imagery with a dream of the lost Golden Age from classical antiquity to the present day. The power of this iconography is in its simplicity and balance, where an unavoidable piercing gaze of the mythical entity entices the beholder into a silent conversation. A longing for harmonious coexistence with nature, with each other, and oneself.
The friendly surroundings, pastel colours, fluffy coats, pale children with large melancholy eyes, reveal worrying signs. The perception of the half-unveiled mystery becomes a lyrical invitation to dream. The reminiscences of childhood and the mystical essence of cruel tales constitute the essence of a form of pantheistic spirituality through which, under the brush of the painter, the human being tries to reconcile with nature.
Animal Secrets become spiritual guides to connect us with the surrounding world with a sensitive, humanist philosophy.
Animal Secrets, Mark Ryden, Perrotin Matignon, 2bis avenue Matignon Paris 8.
During this period of lockdown, we look through the artistic journey of Iranian brothers Icy & Sot and their recent show ‘Fences Faces’ at Magda Gallery in Paris.
Iranian refugees now living in New York, they started their practice using stencils to highlight political and social messages. We first met them in Norway in 2014 for Nuart (covered) and again in 2015 in Berlin for Urban Nation (covered here).
For the past four years the brothers have detached themselves from stencils and moved on to experimenting with new materials which helped them sharpen and strengthen their political and social messages.
While exploring new techniques and tools, they have continued questioning and reflect on immigration, borders, refugees, social issues, women rights, freedom and capitalism.
The result is a new body of work presented earlier this year at ‘Fences Faces’ , their first solo in Paris at Magda Gallery.
The show features sculptural installations using raw material like barbed wire, iron wire, old rusty shovels or oil cans, new paintings created with a self- made cut-out steel tool, as well as photographs of previous ephemeral installations they built in different countries.
Through their unique visual language, they are delivering powerful, moving universal statements on the human condition, with poetry and fragility, while letting the door open to hope and dreams.