Unlike many graffiti expositions which often lack somewhat in originality, this event was conceptually different and offered an angle which invited the viewer into the world of the modern day graffiti writer, an experience which is not often found inside the gallery space.
Inside there were tables dotted around the room which held on their surfaces a multitude of tag pens, spray cans, stickers, cameras, masks, gloves, a pair of old paint spotted Nike high-tops (one of my personal fav's), quirky toys, model trains, photographs and other such painting paraphernalia, all displayed in such a way that one could not help but be drawn in by their charms. The objects on show were in fact no different than what you might find in shops yet their presence marked the celebration of a culture that has captured millions, changing the face of the art-world to such a degree that it will be talked about by art historians for many years to come.
In the corner of the room another installation could only be observed through a white mask which hung from long curtains, obscuring the view of the installation from any other angle, giving the viewer what can be described as a 'fly on the wall' perspective and an intimate look into the studio of a working artist. Amongst the clutter in the lay much of what you might expect to find; crumpled sketches, used spray cans and hints of ideas yet to come into fruition amongst other things but what was most striking was the sense of soul, a frozen snapshot where ideas are born and thrown bravely into outside world.
Contrast to the celebrations the other half of the exposition focused on the scenes frustrations; the heavier, more sinister light smothering blanket of an otherwise blooming scene. The dark side, the laws, the fines, the illegality, the ugliness of an old and outdated world unwilling to allow its new buds to blossom. One installation was cordoned off by police tape, behind which hung a wall of fines, a grim yet intriguing sight reminding us all of the risks that artists face. And perhaps an insight into the fuel that drives them forward, the battles that they face, the battle against absurdity.
Adjacent to this was a projection flickering its images onto the wall with increasing irritation. The film that played on a loop showed a piece of graffiti being wiped off a wall infront of the Sagrada Familia. This was the last laugh I suppose, as the work that was being cleaned away was none other than Gaudis signature. The point was clear, and finished off the journey nicely.
*All photos by: Emmanuel Chamboissier