The vast number of street artists is inspired by social and political environments around them. The word “inspired” may not describe adequately the influence the social issues have on the works by graffiti and/or street and urban artists. Works of those artist influenced by social issues are just the reflection of the dominant political climate, and the message they are sending represents an act of rebellion, a method to express discontent, the articulation of the “voice of the street”. Although the art of Wolfgang Krell is not connected directly with this street art movement, and his work is not perceived as social engaged art at first sight, his street art works, graffiti and paintings on canvas are deeply connected with these issues, no matter what the main motif of the composition is. In the last couple of years, Krell has been very productive, and the Pretty Portal Gallery in Düsseldorf prepares a show of the latest paintings by this amazing artist.
The Art of Wolfgang Krell
Wolfgang Krell began his career as graffiti artist, producing his first works of art in 1983, in his native Dortmund. In the 2000s, he has begun to paint in canvas as well; however Krell is still recognized as a street artist. When he started to do graffiti, he was heavily influenced by the American graffiti style from the early 1980s. Krell’s mainly used spray paint, and he decisively influenced the street and urban art movement in Germany. He has never given up spray can and graffiti art, not even after he began to use other techniques. In 2005, Krell starts realistic painting. He has experimented with a mixture of stencils and spray paint, acrylic and pencil. As the artist himself stated, the main inspiration for his work is in the things that surround us, the stories of ordinary people that seek an artistic interpretation. Krell underlines the important role aesthetics has in all types of art, and he emphases the decorative element as a crucial part in the process of art creation. Yet, he isn’t completely devoted to realism, since he uses his own imagination and fantasy as decoration in the final compositions.
Wummenizer – Women and Weapons
The show at the Pretty Portal Gallery is entitled Wummenizer. This unusual word describes best what’s the main topics of the Krell’s works that will be exhibited. The word contains the German slang expression for guns – Wumme that alludes to the English word Womanizer. Therefore, two major subjects of the works to be exhibited are announced in a single title – women and weapons. These themes (women and weapons) are completely different, yet the artist manages to combine them under one singe denominator. The threating nature of weapons is dissolved by the combination of dynamic Tag styles, color splashes and stencils with elements of contemporary painting. On the other hand, his woman portraits satirize the strictness of facial expression and mimics of Beauty Photography by punky, colorful hair. Krell’s approach to the subject-matters (both to women and weapons) is positive and colorful, and with this approach both the negative semantic content of the weapons and the inherent seriousness of the beauty portraits are dispelled. However the subjects of these new works may be seen distant from the social and political connotations, the artist remains loyal to his graffiti roots, and the upcoming Wolfgang Krell exhibition will certainly provoke perceptions connected with social context of contemporary era.
Wolfgang Krell Exhibition at Pretty Portal
Wolfgang Krell has exhibited widely throughout his career, and this is not the first time the Pretty Portal Gallery and Krell collaborate. Entitled Wummenizer, Wolfgang Krell exhibition begins on March 7th in the Pretty Portal Gallery in Düsseldorf. The show will be on view until April 10th.
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Featured Image: Wolfgang Krell – Uzi Obermaier (detail), Acryilc, pencil and spray paint on canvas
All Images Courtesy of Pretty Portal Gallery.