Not all of these works are particularly new, but I want to point out a series by The Wa where he’s been improving cities in subtle ways that might not be immediately apparent as art, until he brings the results of his interventions into the gallery as sculpture. These works by The Wa are reminiscent of Brad Downey‘s CCTV Takedown series, but with a more labor-intensive process and a slightly different focus on what in the city modification. At the end of the day though, both series attempt to improve the general public’s experience in cities by providing more freedom in public spaces and both series involve highlighting the work through sculptures that get displayed indoors. Which is not to say that I don’t love what The Wa is doing as much as I love Downey’s series. On an aesthetic level, I actually prefer the sculptural end product that The Wa produces.
The sculpture shown above, Skate-anti-skate, was made from metal “skate stopper” pieces that The Wa removed from the street in Berlin in 2011. If you don’t skate, you may not have noticed things like this before, or you may have thought nothing of them, but skaters know them all too well. The seemingly functionless metal studs that often break up otherwise long and smooth sections of marble or metal in public spaces are there to make those spots difficult or impossible for skateboarders to skate on. For this sculpture, The Wa removed some skate stoppers to salvage the materials and reassemble them into something that looks like a skateboard. See the GIF below for before and after shots of where he got the material from:
The Wa, OaKoAk and fra.biancoshock recently teamed up on a project across cities where all three of them made work on the theme of a “safari in the urban jungle.” The work was made in Milan, Berlin, Dusseldorf and St. Etienne. The three artists agreed on a theme, but beyond that each of them had no idea what the other two were making for their contributions to the project.
In part 3 of my series of posts about this year’s Nuart Festival (here are parts one and two), I want to highlight some of the less traditional outdoor work at the festival. While mural festivals like Nuart are known for, well, murals, three artists went a different direction for their outdoor contributions to Nuart: The Wa, Jordan Seiler and Aakash Nihalani.
Aakash Nihalani’s work was, as usual for him, tape-based. While it was 2D like a mural and could have theoretically been painted in the same spot with similar results, the tape reinforces the idea that street art is ephemeral. You couldn’t preserve one of his pieces outdoors even if you tried.
The Wa installed a series of small sculptures resembling pools of oil in one of the main squares of downtown Stavanger, with the oil leading a path from the sea (where there is a lot of oil) to the nearest ATM. Again, a temporary intervention, but also a sculptural one. Nuart has had sculptures before, but it’s still not all that common at other, similar, festivals.
Perhaps the most shocking of all were Jordan Seiler’s ad takeovers. He replaced around two dozen public advertisements (two large billboards and the rest bus-stop ads) with his own art. Like Aakash, that’s pretty much Jordan doing what he usually does, but it’s something that not many other mural programs seem likely to embrace, particularly programs like Nuart that get government funding. Nuart’s ballsiness is certainly to be commended. That said, it’s important to note that Jordan did something similar but on a much smaller scale in the early days of Living Walls. Unfortunately, only the large billboards lasted more than about 12 hours. Those bus-stop ad guys are quick.
I’ll be participating in three events at Nuart Plus, a 3-day international summit on street art taking place during the festival. Evan Pricco, Tristan Manco, Carlo McCormick and others will be speaking there too. Here’s what I’m involved in: On the 27th, Jordan Seiler and I will be giving a tour of some of the art (and ads) in Stavanger; On the 28th, Carlo McCormick and I will be at Martinique, a cafe and pub, to debate about whether or not one can truly appreciate street art on the internet; On the 29th, Evan Pricco, Tristan Manco and I will be on a panel about street art and the internet moderated by Eirik Sjåholm Knudsen. Sorry if I’m focusing a bit too much on my own stuff, but I’m really excited to be going to Nuart, especially since I’ll be speaking alongside so many of my friends and idols.
There will of course also be an indoor art component to the festival.
Nuart’s street work begins September 20th, the indoor show opens on the 29th at Tuo Scene and the panels and talks will take place on the 27th-29th.
This latest piece by The Wa was done in Stockholm, but references The Situationists in France. It’s called Sous les pavés la plage (or, Under the pavement, the beach) after this piece of Sittuationist graffiti.