22 October 2011

Nuart 2011: Inside

 Nuart 2011
Streetart festival
Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway
Dan Witz (US), David Choe (US), Dolk (NO), Dvs1 (US), Escif (ES), Herakut (DE), Herbert Baglione (BR), Hyuro (ES), Lucy McLauchlan (UK), Phlegm (UK), Tellas (IT), Vhils (PO)

Artwork ranging from death to the joy of life. From claustrophobia to total freedom. 

Nuart 2011 opening

It is first now I have had the opportunity to really let the impressions of this year's Nuart festival soak in. It is again in the beer halls at Tou Scene in Stavanger, for the third time. The festival kind of belongs here, as well as in the streets of course.

The beer halls are not exactly regular gallery halls. There is darkness, moisture, cold, old rusty pipes portruding from the walls, echoing from footsteps and voices. It may seem like in some forgotten empty factory halls. This way it can be the perfect spot for street art, as long as it is not in the streets. Just as in the streets, the artists had few limitations, apart from being given a hall to work in. But the halls themselves have been challenging to some artists, as well as given freedom to others.

Dolk at Nuart

By the entrance of the halls is this large black/white stencil piece by Dolk. Just as in the streets, he delivers fast, easy and witty art. Though not in an outside context, this work sets the tone for a major part of the exhibition. Death is a popular topic this year. We see Grim Reaper himself, but with a ghettoblaster in addition to his traditional tool. The Grim Reaper becomes The Grim Rapper. How to interpret this will depend on which music is played. Strong gangsta rap or death metal could be a loud warning of the death approaching, while some ballad would soften the message of death.
Or is it the other way around, is this a rapper on his way to do some decent farmwork?

Vhils at Nuart

As usual, Vhils goes under the surface to see what is hidden there. Also he finds death there. Two men appear, but there is something sinister. They seem like zoombies. Under the sunglasses are hollows. The head are skulls with just a thin layer of facade. We all know the skull is underneath the skin, but by partly revealing this this suddenly becomes so creepy and uncomfortable. This is a Memento Mori with RayBans.

work by Herbert Baglione
Herbert Baglione

Moving on to the first of the beer halls, is the work by Herbert Baglione, the far most depressing and emotionally challenging work. In a black hall, the walls are covered in calligraphy. This could seem like a room filled with tags of hordes of graffiti writers. It is not. The names on the walls are of people not existing anymore, they are the 77 victims of the July 22th massacre in Oslo. Herbert Baglione was deeply touched by this disaster, and wanted to memorize the victims in this way. He often uses death as a topic in this work, but this seems to be a brand new path for him. His skills in spraycan calligraphy is incredible, and the elaborate name tags pay a grand hommage to the 77. The names of the victims is not written once, but several times. Entangled like their names on the wall they all had the same fate, but the different sizes and fonts mark their individuality. This single catharsis of death will hopefully make it possible to move on.

Evolution by Phlegm
Evolution by Phlegm

If you do move on, you are rewarded by the epic work of Phlegm. He decided to paint nothing less than his own version of the evolution history. In his version the single cells evolve through fish or bird to similar, but still quite different humanoids. He had invented the two different persons, and then started contemplating on how they had achieved their characteristics. The humpback had evolved from four-winged birds, with one pair of wings grown into arms, and the others into a hump. The big-eye had got his characteristics from the fishes, first hollow-eyed fishes, then big-eyed ones. Through it all is a separate evolution of plants and trees from trees via bushes and grass to root-like moving creatures.

Tellas at Nuart 2011

If Phlegm did not convince you to be optimistic on behalf on mankind and the world, Tellas will give you peace of mind. He is like a fresh breath of air from beautiful Sardinia. He prefers to paint nature out in the fresh air, and did not feel that comfortable having to paint inside the concrete hall. So as he could not bring the walls to the outside, he had to bring the nature inside. With colllaborator Roberto he painted myriads of green leaves and white pebbles covering the floor and walls. Concrete bricks are presented in small symbolic parts, but the organic nature has totally taken over. It is like you can almost hear birds sing here.

Herakut at Nuart
Herakut at Nuart

In the hall of Herakut the fun and circus starts. The hall is a festival of figures, colours, forms and stories. You spend a long time discovering all the details. The scope and the variety is incredible, knowing that they stayed in Stavanger for only a few days. They have taken full advantage of the time, material, space and resources available. Last time they were here they painted rats, now it is monkeys that are the carriers of the stories. All over there are stories about the monkeys and people blinded by beauty.

Hyuro and Escif
Hyuro + Escif

Hyuro and Escif also felt the claustrophobic of the concrete halls, but unlike Tellas they decided to increase that feeling. As they both prefer to paint outside on public walls, being inside represented limits. In their collaboration they enchanced this feeling by painting a wall on the wall. There are people present, but on the outside of the wall. Only their hands are visible, holding lines with black flags. This is not only a comment to the halls, but street art in general. Street art belongs in public space.When it is brought inside it becomes institutional, it does not talk to the public or the surroundings anymore. You need to be out there, in the public space.

David Choe + DVS1 + Herbert Baglione collaboration
David Choe + DVS1 at Nuart

David Choe + DVS1 (+ Herbert Baglione)
In the last hall the party starts for real. A representation of total freedom, celebrating art, colours and friendship. No limits, anything in any colour may be painted. Brutal, sexual, banal, beautiful, complex and childish figures all mix together. David Choe and DVS1 are painting what they are good at, but also taking big risks painting anything that slips into the mind. It never becomes too much.They also tried out the possibilities of UV-paint, creating glowing figures with secrets inside. 
It also shows the joy of sharing the art with friends. Herbert Baglione also contributed to the room. As an antidote to the super-depressive room at the other end of the halls, he here is opening up to a world where anything can happening, just enjoying the fun of painting with friends.

Showing the wonders of UV-paint, here is a gif showing the difference in UV and normal light:
how do you make gifs

Dan Witz + local kids: Floating eyeballs
Dan Witz at Tou Scene
Dan Witz

All over the place are small surprises by Dan Witz and his young diciples. Hummingbirds, floating eyeballs or secret hatches. At several places at Tou Scene, new hatches have appeared, leading to the unknown. After a workshop for kids, eyeballs have appeared on the most incredible spots, suddenly turning things into personas. 


As well as an exhibition putting together fantastic, but all quite different artists, Nuart 2011 also functions well as a curated exhibition. Somehow there is a link between all work, and the chronology works well. The journey through the exhibition is a journey through all kinds of emotions: shock, fear, sorrow, curiosity, peace, amusement, contemplation and laughter.


More pictures from the preparations and the exhibition here
There will also soon be posts about the outside work.
Link to Nuart's new webpage: http://www.nuartfestival.no