Galerie Brugier-Rigail from Paris has organized an exhibition featuring works by one of the pioneers of the graffiti movement, John Matos, better known as CRASH. CRASH’s graffiti art played an important role in legitimizing the whole movement. During the 1980s, he was one of the main figures of the New York graffiti scene. Even during the 1980s, CRASH began exhibiting at galleries, paving the way for many other graffiti creators to start working in studios as well, and to begin exhibiting at galleries. The completely new painting series by CRASH has been exhibited at the Parisian gallery in the show titled Heroes are Forever!!!. By depicting famous superheroes, the artist is dealing with many serious problems of global contemporary society, posing a question: Has the time come for Superheroes and how can they help us?
CRASH was born in 1969, and he stands as the representative of the first generation of graffiti artists. Growing up in Bronx, the artist began creating using New York City subway wagons as canvases. He collaborated with some of the greatest names of graffiti movement of that time, such as Dondi White and Zephyr. CRASH was very young when he started exhibiting at galleries – being only 19 years old, he curated the pivotal exhibition entitled Graffiti Art Success for America at Fashion MODA in the South Bronx. That was one of the first exhibitions of graffiti art presented in a gallery. CRASH also became popular in other countries, France in particular, where he had participated at the exhibition named 5/5: Figuration Libre, France/USA at the Museum of Modern Art of Paris. His works can be found in many famous collections, such as the MoMA in New York and the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands.
The exhibition Heroes Are Forever!!! features new paintings by CRASH depicting superheroes, such as Batman, Spiderman and Green Lantern. The artist wants to transmit the message that we can also react quickly to the problems around us and that we all of us can be a superhero actually. CRASH is sending a universal message. We all live on a planet where corporate greed led to the destruction of environment, pollution and global warming. Terrible wars are being waged all around the globe, while global surveillance programs together with the expansion of social media evoke memories of the world anticipated by George Orwell in his famous work 1984. The energy we use for destruction can be used for creation. Superheroes symbolize the vital energy necessary to protect what is good and what is righteous.
All the superhero characters CRASH painted come directly from American comics. They identify the danger and reflect our will to protect and love. As every human being can be a superhero, CRASH wants to pose the question: What every one of us can do to make the world around us a better place? The show Heroes Are Forever!!! opened on September 3 and will be on view until September 27, 2016 at Galerie Brugier-Rigail in Paris.
Featured Image: CRASH - Green Lantern, detail, Spray paint on canvas, 91,5x91,5cm, 2016, signed . All Images courtesy of Galerie Brugier-Rigail