Another installation in the Saatchi Gallery by an artist named Rafael Gomezbarros. Made to resemble 2 human skulls bound together to form an individual ant, with sticks for legs. The ants symbolize general ill-feelings toward migrant workers which is much better visualized in the original location specific setting of public buildings. The ants are hard workers who are usually invisible to us in our world but here Gomezbarros makes them undeniably present and raises our awareness on a political standpoint.

Gomezbarros is a first and foremost a public artist and his work changes rather drastically when pulled inside of a gallery like it was at Saatchi. When viewed on the outside of a public building the first thing that draws the viewers attention is that mass of the ants together and their placement, but when viewed inside the gallery the ants take on individual personas because every detail can be seen. Though the ants are meant to look the same, they lack unity because they form cliques and stray loners. It appeals to me more visual than it does conceptually in a gallery setting.

I could say the same thing about Pure Evil’s canvases I saw in the gift shop. Because they were on display like they were a high end tj-maxx home decor item they lost a little of their power as when I saw it on the streets in Shoreditch. I have very much respect for Pure Evil, he is one of the central figures of street art in London and I admire his effort to distinguish himself as an avant garde artist.However, his ethos claims that he is opposed to seeing artists as a commodity but straying away from curators seems to make his art just that within the fine art world.

http://www.saatchiart.com/pureevil

Roa’s Show at Stolen Space, a gallery owned by graffiti artist named D*Face. The gallery had a front where they had another artist with canvases and a merchandise corner with prints on display right as you enter. Toward the back it looked like a storage space but it was actually Roa’s Projectum 06 exhibit. The installations were placed in a way which allowed it to play with the spectators perception and the gallery space with the use of mirrors, revolving doors, and interactive elements that reveal hidden objects and the internal organs of the animals. 

The work seems to have a different life inside the gallery because of the interaction with the spectator. Roa’s public art is beautifully detailed and much larger and still interacts with the environment because of the placement of the work, but there are no hidden surprises; everything you see is what you get. Perhaps he felt the need for there to be an interactive element so that that sense of the direct relationship with people does not fade away because of the appropriated space.

Roa is a Belgium artist who uses animals to communicate our relationship with urban spheres. The animals are local to the area that Roa paints and they represent a pure form of life which is intermixed with the grungy atmosphere of the city. He exposes the internal organs to the spectator because they are a vital element to our existence and they represent life even in death. Therefore, Roa paints on the subject of life, death and life after death. It could also cover the topic of environmentalism if you choose to look at it that way as well. Hence, the works are very much conceptual with a lot of symbolism and viewer interaction both physically and mentally; it is not just art for aesthetic purposes and entertainment, it has the ability to stimulate the viewers mind.

Because of the grungy look to the animals it makes me wonder what is it that appeals to viewers about Roa’s work… it also lacks much color and vibrancy usually associated with graffiti and street art. Perhaps when in public spheres the great malformation of scale creates a sense of awe when confronted with them vis-a-vis. This may be true especially because his work is photo-realistic. The animals are recognizable and are portrayed doing ordinary things, yet they have some sort of darkness which leaves a creepy after taste as you walk away from the work. The gallery work on the other hand lacks the same awe derived from scale yet there is still a sense of creepiness and wonder because of the play with perception and hidden elements. The fact that something else was hiding behind another wall made me hesitate a little before moving forward.

The gallery has a website which talks about the show and future shows as well. I am sad to say I missed the Miss Van show prior to my arrival to the UK as well as the group show with Word to Mother, C215 and other emerging artists after my leave. But the Roa show was pretty dang cool and I’m glad I got to see it for myself.

http://www.stolenspace.com/section.php?xSec=681

Saatchi Gallery artist using graffiti as a medium.
The Saatchi Gallery seems to be a pusher for graffiti and street art into the fine art realm. Their gift shop had numerous books on the subject and they were selling original canvases and other material by Pure Evil. Pure Evil actually owns a gallery as well around Shoreditch which shuns conceptual artists and curators according to his personal website, which is quite interesting in this case. The Saatchi Gallery also hired Graffiti Life at one point to do live performance on the walls of the gallery space as people came to see and interact with the artists.

Saatchi Gallery artist using graffiti as a medium.

The Saatchi Gallery seems to be a pusher for graffiti and street art into the fine art realm. Their gift shop had numerous books on the subject and they were selling original canvases and other material by Pure Evil. Pure Evil actually owns a gallery as well around Shoreditch which shuns conceptual artists and curators according to his personal website, which is quite interesting in this case. The Saatchi Gallery also hired Graffiti Life at one point to do live performance on the walls of the gallery space as people came to see and interact with the artists.