Design

Gallery Tour: Stolen Space, Brick Lane, London

by Couch Sessions

If you’re a street art newbie as I am, circling in on the world of graffiti, and if you’re looking for the results of aerosol-ed love bombs in London, you will soon hear the urban myths lauding East London’s Brick Lane.  Brick Lane is a street built like a long garland, the ones families keep in old boxes for decades only brought out annually, dusty old yet still firy, the mere sight of which sends that special tingle down the buzz and fuzz spine of the house… well in this case London house.  Should you follow its boa-like tatooed body, you will sooner or later hit Stolen Space gallery, located just off it, a London den that opens up from a narrow space into a massive area which redefines the city’s horizon.  Since 2 July, Stolen Space has been dressing its walls sexy with the work of some of the most notorious, glorious and up-up-climbing names in street art (although this category’s title is misleading, let us say that the inspiration for these artists emanated from the streets).  No less than 24 artists gathered for this show from Shepard Fairey, Kid Acne,Toshi, Miss Van, The London Police, SAN, D*Face to name but a few.

Stolen Space is an artists run gallery, it is free in more ways than just pecuniary, by that I mean that when I explained I wanted to share this exhibition with The Couch Session readers, I was told to snap and shoot to my heart’s content (and my camera’s ability, please note my disclaimer: any blurs and light reflections is entirely due to my camera’s swerving emotions, the author – me – is not liable).

So from London to you all, here is more than just a postcard, yep, the whole exhibition. Allons-y! Enjoy!

RIGHT WALL :

Kick ink-and-paint-starting this exhibition are two drawings in Japanese sumi ink on cotton paper titled the ‘Asia Wave’ #1 and #2 by Toshikazu Nosaka.  Can you hear Hokusai’s wave rolling and raring!  The genius is always in the details: both  waves – the one carrying the Third Eye, that is the clear vision of what is and what will come as a result, and the other carrying ghosts in its water-tips – are crossing out the frame’s natural border, launching out into the world of the viewer, do you see the frames are cracking, the Wave is soon taking over.

Paul Alexander Thornton, a self-taught UK artist, openly declared his love affair with ball pens, felt tip pens, pencils and all manners of ink-tips.  ‘Rose’, a ball point pen on paper drawing, is a superb point in case: a labyrinthine and hypnotising petalled infinity.

‘Grove House E8′ (E8 meaning London East) by UK based Ronzo, well known for his street art quirky characters and paintings, is a 3-D house front, framed in a perspex box, very much the size of a doll house front.  A vision at the daily life of this typical household in a mixed media collaged-truth and collaged-humour: can you see Roachio’s fast food joint.

‘Identity Orgy’ are two large and framed complementing drawings by the internationally reknown SAN (Daniel Munoz Rodriquez), a fascinating draughtsman from Spain.  Each characters is linked to another by an ombilical pen-ed line with no break between the two drawings even though they are physically separated onto two frames.  The details of the characters are so intricate I couldn’t resist taking a few close-ups for you to take a look.  You may not see it clearly there but on the lower left of the left wing of this ink-composition there are two fallen masques, the laughing and crying masques, symbols of Theatre.  This detail really grabbed my attention I must say.

Now the one and only Shepard Fairey!  Three silk screens on wood : Peace Woman, Peace Guard and Global Warning.  The photographs do not do them justice especially for the following Floral Vine Patterns in Red and Black.  Fairey’s work is very detailed and there is a five pointed star represented several times in each painting with a partial face in its centre: two eyes that I caught staring back at my staring on.

‘The Circle of Truth levitating over London’ by The London Police, hand drawn ink on canvas, announces to the masses the smiley cloud that shall (or did) cometh to our London midst on a dark-inked night.  Written upside down on the top right is ‘Never be scared’.

‘The cattle of Trafalgar’ by The London Police, also hand drawn ink on canvas, is a very detailed drawing, a canvas full of robots, buildings and smileys.

Ambulance by Rico.

‘The fantastic encyclopedia’ by Korzer (Alexander Korzer-Robinson) is a group of six encyclopedia’s cut opened whose pages have been carved out around a picture.  Have you ever had in hand an old, faded and yellow petalled encyclopedia that your mischievous school scissors were itching to seek its teeth into?  Korzer has and did with the result: a 3D story book full of animals, people and biology class skeleton.

French artist Miss Van was graffitying Toulouse before Fafi and her trademark poupée including this painting ‘Frenchie’, is typical of her current work, pouting and sulking à souhait.

Graffiti artist, rapper and founding member of Invisible Spies, Kid Acne has dropped here nine screen print and hard finished collages (written 5nished, you can count on Kid Acne for smart and witty).  ‘Tile 1 to 9′ illustrates on wood, comic book style, girlies in capes, sabers and masques.

LEFT WALL:

‘Wading’ by British artist James Alexander Burbidge is a look into the intimate world of a slightly dishevelled, pig tailed girl, her back to the viewer, dressed in too big a jumper, a large heart discreetly woven into the material with D.A.R.E written in large capital letters above it.  She stands in strippy tights in liquid and although I thought it was a child at first, the sense of exhaustion mixed with her firm footing in this shallow water made me think it was probably the child’s soul of an adult.  If you look closely you can see exploding bursts on her jumper, on either side of her and particularly to the left: she is getting shot at (by life?) and she is still standing.

‘Rocketeers’, oil on linen canvas, by Chloe Early.  Chloe is a painter from Dublin based in London.

‘Charged Pipette’ by Russell Maurice is cartoony and brought to my mind Popeye and the Schmurff … go figure….  Very lightly, stands written in reverse on this glass pipette the word PIMENT.

BACK WALL

‘Taking the Mickey’ by British artist Word To Mother are two prints, a four colour hand pulled screen.  Both images seem identical but the paper which supports the left hand Mickey has imbibed water and has started to tinge.

Black is the Colour by Rico.

Three superb Skateboards produced by Real Skateboard and signed by …. yes, oh yes D*Face were on show.  Allow me to go into details for these, they were excellent.  Start on the left with Purple: its top ‘BBBusenitZZZ’ hovers over a head in a helmet with a bubble saying ‘F**ck the dark side, I’m keeping it real’.  The bottom part shows a spaceship leaving and onto the second skateboard we go.  As green as aliens, or they would have you believe, an monster’s clawed hand is opened over a bandaged head.  A scan like image of a mouth, a skeleton gapping wide letting hang out a long reptile tongue leads to the bottom of the skate deck: a coffin.  Moving onto pink (not paradise I don’t think, perhaps Hell is pink) a brain is being opened in half by two human hands, releasing a puff, in the shape of several bare breasts, the eyes of that human, perhaps our spaceman wears glasses and a mickey mouse nose.  He pulls his very human tongue at the audience and his finger points at you.  Real?

And to finish, stands in the middle of the floor, on a column, a piece by D*Face titled ‘O_scar (Beauty is only skin deep)’ .  It is a cold poured metal & resin statue, gold dusted & hand painted with enamel.  With its size 33x23cm, it could be an Oscar statue, all be it skeletal in parts and decaying.

I hope you enjoyed the tour, which one grabbed you?