About the Exhibition
Urban Spree Galerie presents "Concrete Reflections", the first solo show of the Finnish contemporary and graffiti artist EGS.
The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 16th, 2021 during the Berlin Art Week.
EGS’s first exhibition at Urban Spree Galerie allows the artist to revisit a familiar territory — Berlin and its concrete surfaces — decades after the artist’s first visit and in the context of a world that has changed nearly beyond recognition.
A city that once held the promise of reconciliation between divided factions continues to hold a fascination for the Finnish graffiti writer and contemporary artist, who tagged his name and the day’s date on the Berlin Wall one summer morning of 1988. His return follows many visits to central and Eastern Europe as a young graffiti artist seeking out new territories after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Much has changed, the times of rolling into a city like a juvenile delinquent flaneur, looking to get lost and to discover new underworlds, as EGS did, are long gone. The smartphone makes that kind of adventure almost impossible. Yet the role of both street artist and contemporary artist in questioning authority and ownership of urban space remains fundamental.
EGS: ”International Penpals” ink, spray paint and charcoal on canvas, ca. 160 x 200 cm, 2021
EGS’ 20 year-long preoccupation with concrete is aimed precisely at questioning, undermining and reconstructing space, both on the streets and in the officialised sphere of the contemporary art world. This interest in marking and claiming concrete space via the act of graffiti writing goes hand in hand with EGS’ exploration of cartography, drawing world maps in which the three letters of his name are merged with geography. A preoccupation that grew out of a similarity the artist observed between the abstract forms common to graffiti writing and the seemingly arbitrary forms of geographical maps. These amorphous shapes can be seen rendered in oil paint, spray paint and ink in brightly colored 2D works that point to the transience of borders.
Alongside a new series of personal world maps, paintings, drawings, and large scale installations such as "Control Da City" or "Track and Field", the exhibition also displays several hand-blown glass sculptures crafted in historic workshops in Latvia and Finland. These sculptures - always arranged in groups of three shapes and always representing the letters E, G, and S, enable the artist to play around his own tag, explore new materials, and convey a sense of impermanence & flux, complimenting the painting approach.
EGS: 'Blurred Faces 1', 2021 Hand blown glass sculptures 31 x 22 x 13 cm, 33 x 18 x 9 cm, 28 x 23 x 12 cm
‘Concrete Reflections’ has enabled the artist to revisit his love of concrete, in a city that had a formative impact on the young artist. His show at Urban Spree presents an overview of works by an artist who excels as much in formal ability as in his capacity to interpret the changing geopolitical currents of recent decades.
About the artist:
EGS (born 1974) is a Finnish visual artist who has held several exhibitions in galleries and museums and has also completed public art commissions. He is currently exhibiting at the first Helsinki Biennial and has previously held major solo shows at the Finnish Glass Museum and the Kunsthalle Helsinki. The name EGS originates from his graffiti tag, as he began his career when the first wave of graffiti hit Finland in the mid-1980s. Since then, and while still active in graffiti, the artist has transmutated his style into different directions, towards an abstrated practice of graffiti, using painting, drawing, sculpture, blown glass and installations in search of meaning, mostly in the wake of the collapse of the USSR and the recomposition of Europe, exploring ruins, concrete surfaces, and the notion of impermanence. EGS's latest book, "Writing Stories with Three Letters", retracing his breakthrough exhibition of glass sculptures at the Finnish Glass Museum (2020) is available here at Urban Spree.
The exhibition's Vernissage will take place on Thursday, September 16th, 2021 during the Berlin Art Week. The Opening is scheduled for 18:00 until 23:00 and is opened to everyone. The only requirement is to wear a mask inside the gallery. No tests, appointments or reservation required at the time of writing. Urban Spree has a large garden that can accomodate many guests in case if affluence inside the gallery.
For any questions related to the Opening or enquiries related to artworks, please get in touch with the gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org
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