Antin Unai - Artist, copyrights Anton Unai

Anton Unai

Spain 1974

Street Art, Installation, Painting

Anton Unai
Anton Unai
July 14, 2014
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Creating the installations that are often the result of weeklong actions, Anton Unai improvised and created on-site using mostly found objects, or “golden garbage,” salvaged from the streets of Berlin. He personifies the creative philosophy represented by Joseph Beuys’ legacy: a profound belief in the sanctity of spontaneity, the poetry of chaos, and the rejection of traditional academia. Unai delivers an uninhibited glimpse at human emotions and echoes of his life with a collection of his works. A compilation of visual poetry from a self-declared poet who willfully takes risks and carries through with beautiful prose into the urban language.

Anton Unai - The Phenomenology of Mind, 2016 (left) - The Phenomenology of Spirit, 2016 (right)
Anton Unai – The Phenomenology of Mind, 2016 (left) / The Phenomenology of Spirit, 2016 (right)

Resurrecting the detritus of modern society

Born in Barcelona, he has lived in several European countries before moving to Berlin and his work has been exhibited internationally. Unai jars the soul by explaining in simple verse, how tragic life can be. The reflections and odes collected in his work are a display of the skill the author has with symbols, tradition and metaphors. Abundant imagery and symbolism are contained traditionally on works on canvas, wood, plaster, objects, words, dreams and paper. Using materials that reflect the urban landscape, ordinary detritus like rusty sheet metal or yesterday’s newspaper, Unai’s work resurrects and reinvents the discarded relics of the modern masses.

Unai uses the materials that reflect the urban landscape

Anton Unai - Exhibition at Open Walls Gallery (installation view), 2014
Anton Unai – Exhibition at Open Walls Gallery (installation view), 2014

Creating Arranged Chaos

His project Assess the Damages is set of works that combine breaking gashes, clawing extracts of damages, crashing divides, frazzles, imparities, broken incises, open injuries, surgical mutilations, street plucks, pulls of melancholy, renders of cartography, rives and runs, ruptures with scratches, sizes of desperation, sever paper aches, shredded lights, slits and snatches, split-wrenches and yank.

Unai was presenting his project The Acronyms of X at Druck Berlin, a festival orientated around silk screen print. It aims to provide a comprehensive look into everything silk screen print focused with lots of live print action, an eclectic exhibition, fully stocked print shop, individual collections by different artists and plenty of creative interactions. For this work he said: “The focus of this destruction is nominally on objects that might tempt one to sin.”

Anton Unai - Cure the Pain and Kill the Artist, 2014 (left) - Zeus Father of Gods and Men, 2014 (right)
Anton Unai – Cure the Pain and Kill the Artist, 2014 (left) / Zeus Father of Gods and Men, 2014 (right)

Transforming abandoned refuse into artwork

Unai’s art is at once rough and delicate, exposing sentimental and vulnerable humanity through violent gestures, provocative irony and messy compositions that defy traditional aesthetic boundaries. Meta-narratives, pop and subculture artifacts, religious iconography and a wide breadth of literary references are all present in his multifaceted installations, as well as allusions to art historical antecedents ranging from Basquiat’s urban poetry to Sir Howard Hodgkin’s abstract paintings as sculptural objects to Jonathan Meese’s theatrical symbolism.

Anton Unai lives and works in Berlin.

Featured image: Artist portrait, copyrights Anton Unai
All images courtesy of Open Walls Gallery

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Thorns in Roses Open Walls Gallery, BerlinSolo
2014ANTON UNAIOpen Walls Gallery, BerlinSolo
2014Paper WorksOpen Walls Gallery, BerlinSolo
2013Assess the damagesOpen Walls Gallery, BerlinSolo
2012reKOLLEKT7th Berlin Biennale, BerlinGroup
2012Garage ArtNatulis Art Temporary, BerlinGroup
2012S/T – Contemporary Art and CultureBerlinGroup
2012PhenomenonsPhenomenon, Cenon, FranceGroup
2012Nixon Art MOSHPraterinsel, MunichGroup
2012Vibrations UrbainesPessac, FranceGroup
2012Silence is a lieUrban Art Exhibition, BerlinGroup
2011The birth of TragedyShaufenster, BerlinSolo
2010LIA, Leipzig International Art ProgrammeLeipzig, GermanyGroup
2010Volta6, Art Fair BaselCircle culture Gallery, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2010EscapeInternational Exhibition of Urban Art, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2010Moniker Art FairLondon, United KingdomGroup
2009Self-PortraitsCircle culture Gallery, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009Fighting GravityCircle culture Gallery, Berlin, GermanySolo
2009Urban Affairs extendedStreet Art Festival, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009Todas las obras de arte deben empezar por el finalRojo Art Space, BarcelonaSolo
2008Urban AffairsStreet Art Festival, BerlinGroup
2008The disenchantment of the BourgeoisieCircle culture Gallery, Berlin, GermanySolo
2008The Alternative PhilosophyThe Leonard Street Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Berliner StraßeCHB, BerlinGroup
2008UltimatumOff Space, BerlinSolo
2007Me, Myself and UnaiCircle culture Gallery, Berlin, GermanySolo
2007Berliner StraßeCircle culture Gallery, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2007Unai vs Monk: Boxing Action PaintGuillotine, BerlinGroup
2006Homeless HousingStreet Aid, New YorkGroup
2006InstallationDomaine Space, New YorkSolo
2006Lies the Untold TruthCatfood Gallery, BerlinGroup