Saturday, April 4, 2009

MIRANDA: Post five - Graffiti

One of the most innovative graffiti/street artists of today is Blu. This little almost slightly young man is an Italian graffiti artist specializing in murals and urban design. His murals are usually massive, some even covering 5 story buildings or entire city blocks. He also has animations that are very impressive.
Blu believes that painting becomes a communal activity. Women carrying groceries stop to ask questions, games of football start, local artists from Doma TV stop by to swap ideas, the police show up but Blu relishes these interruptions. He says they are the reason he makes art in the street.
Blu is an artist on the run. Painting from sun up till sun down, running between the rooftops, stretching out on a ladder to reach a high wall or crouching on an electrical crate to reach a low wall. He does not ask permission, he simply paints. “To do something without asking permission…it’s a way of expressing yourself,” he says.
All of Blu’s pieces inspire shock, as if the wall suddenly crept up on the person instead of the other way around. Blu paints men, giants contorted into awkward poses, twisted so far in one direction that they’ve split apart. These bodies are almost formless, what seems to matter is not the figure but the moment of breakage when all the demons come spilling out.
For Blu the human body is a kind of malfunctioning machine. It excretes, regurgitates and defecates, it breaks down and it is prone to decay. This makes his work, with its tendency towards the grotesque, it is immediately recognisable. Blu paints humans who have lost control of their own bodies.
He not only understands the walls he paints on but wants us to change the way we inhabit them. In this sense his art inherits its aspirations from the modernist avant-gardes. It seizes on their notion that art might alter and reorder everyday life in the city for the better. Today you need a ticket to see the Surrealists. But Blu’s work will never get lost in the museum. His art shares the same fate as the wall; it will live and die on the street.

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