The German artist mittenimwald is best known for his skillfully applied, multilayered stencils so fine that they look just like they were airbrushed.
One of the greats of German urban art, he has made history far beyond the country’s borders with stencils that are aesthetically sophisticated and always to the point. His latest body of work is currently on view at 30works gallery.
Titled Young, Poor and Angry, the exhibition presents his exploration of female identity through images of beautiful, self-determined, smart and confident heroines. Tackling the duality and ambivalence, the artist skillfully plays with clichés and breaks with them.
Involved in street art since 2007, mittenimwald found inspiration in aggressive advertising, provocation and punk. Working mostly on canvas and other supports, he uses a knife, spray cans, rolls of paper and wood to create extremely details, hand-cut stencils that reflect his craftsmanship and graphic expertise.
Usually depicting people and text, his imagery ranges from beautiful women and pop icons to revolutionaries and dictators, balancing his art through the references to punk and revolutionary symbolism.
Born in Northern Germany, he does not reveal much to the public about his real name and identity. Regarding his tongue-breaking moniker, the artist reflects the moment of his life when he was without a job and any plans for his future.
As he explains, he stood in the middle of the forest and couldn’t find his way. Hence his unique alias, since German translation for “the middle of the forest” is “mitten im wald”.
A woman is at the center of his latest body of work. In his pieces, these heroines are depicted as beautiful, smart and confident, but at the same time rebellious, provocative and able to resist, being stylized as self-confident Amazonians.
Focusing on women as dual beings, he presents us with an homage and reasonable demystification at the same time. His figures are laid against complexly arranged backgrounds and typographies, always providing new context and stories.
The detailing in these works are remarkable. Each hair, each eyelash, each drapery of garment is delicately worked out, captivating with liveliness and authenticity. These templates resulted from an ingenious observation, substantial compaction and craftsmanship.
Both an ode and disenchantment of the so-called “fair sex”, the latest body of work by mittenimwald is staged in an ambivalent game of stylistic exaggeration and conscious humanization. Through his artistic gesture, he frees his heroines from false idealization.
The exhibition Young, Poor and Angry is on view at 30works in Cologne from December 5th until December 30th, 2017. The laudatory speech at the opening reception was held by a vibrant personality and forensic scientist Dr Mark Benecke, well known throughout Germany and beyond.
Featured image: mittenimwald – Kandy I (detail). All images courtesy 30works.