Best known for his gestural paintings which combine Graffiti and Calligraphy, Niels Shoe Meulman has revolutionized the art of writing with his Calligraffiti movement, claiming that a word is an image and that writing is painting. The latest Niels Shoe Meulman art exhibition will soon be on view at Galerie Droste. Titled Unidenticals and Reverse Paintings, the show will feature his latest body of work that explores the issues regarding originality through reversal and repetition. The exploration of duality through the succession of identical calligraphic strokes has already been an important component of his Calligraffiti works. With his experiments within the traditional medium of paint-on-canvas, Niels Shoe Meulman continues to push the limits of Urban Contemporary.
In his diptychs titled Unindeticals, a variety of subjects are duplicated by their apparent copies. Identical to the limits of artisanal accuracy, these works delve into the ontological exploration of the attribution of the original and copy. Aware that the audience usually doesn’t take the effort to have a decent look at abstract art, Niels Shoe Meulman now invites them to give a closer look in order to search for the differences. Tackling on the philosophy of dichotomy and the notion that everything has two sides, the artist highlights the fact that one’s copy or second version emphasizes the qualities of the first. The perpetual duality within and around us is highlighted in pieces such as Real/Unreal and Observed/Unobserved, with the prefix “un” embodying this power of reversal.
Made of windscreens that allow both sides of the painting to be visible, the series Reverse Paintings further objectifies this idea of reversal. The title refers both to the two-sided objects themselves and their contextual messages. Characterized by the repetition that turns the once figurative painting in a gestural and organic one, the paintings display herbal panoramas through the glass and more genuine graffiti on the rear sides. Since the works are reminiscent of a herbarium, the artist compares graffiti to weeds, emphasizing that weeds are unwanted nature just as the graffiti is unwanted art. Both Unidenticals and Reverse Paintings demonstrate his preference for the unpigmented interference colors due to their pearly gloss effect that changes depending on the viewer’s perspective, as well as the generous use of black.
“To be self-aware is to have another version of yourself, a copy”, Shoe explains. This notion of measuring one’s self-awareness through the mirror self-recognition test is one of the themes the artist explores in his latest body of work. The exhibition Unidenticals and Reverse Paintings will be on view at Galerie Droste in Wuppertal, Germany from May 20th until July 15th, 2017.
Featured images: Niels Shoe Meulman - Big Bang, 2017 (detail); S.H.O.E; Niels Shoe Meulman; Making of Unidenticals and Reverse Paintings; Making of Big Bang Little Bang; Beijing, Bas Uterwijk. All images © Niels Shoe Meulman and art is just a four letter word UG&Co.KG, courtesy of Galerie Droste.