The city of Ostend, or Oostende in its original spelling, has welcomed The Crystal Ship, a contemporary art festival which encouraged artists to adorn the walls of this town. In comes the master of street art photography, Henrik Haven, who managed to capture the creative process and the finished product of the artists featured in this public art intervention which lasted between 26th of March and 10th of April. Over twenty renowned artists have created murals, graffiti, and installations that are now proudly occupying the walls and pavements of Ostend, and left an artistic trail to be followed by the generations of aspiring street adorners. Henrik Haven has provided a great number of images to commemorate this event, some of which you will be able to see here if you scroll down through this post. He has also put together a new website where you can see his works and read more about the Copenhagen-based photographer.
Without further ado, here are the murals and installations that marked The Crystal Ship festival and left an impact on the city of Ostend. Grab a cuppa, sit back, relax, and enjoy these street art photography pieces.
All images are ©HenrikHaven and courtesy of the artist.
The German artist 1010 (pronounced “ten ten”) has executed a trippy, optical illusion-esque mural that looks like a building has started collapsing into itself in a hallucinogenic swerve. He is famous for his op-art work, and his portal-like murals which inhabit the walls make the viewers look twice to make sure they are, in fact, sane, and that the space invaders are not here yet and they are not trying to take over our buildings and urban areas. Henrik Haven has captured this work of art in the process of creation, as well as the finished product, so go ahead and check out the images in the slider and, don’t worry, your cup of coffee was not laced with mescaline, it’s just 1010's mural.
Agostino Iacurci is a Rome-based artist who is most known for his brightly colored works, often exquisitely large in size. He has exhibited his pieces worldwide, in Europe, USA, Brazil, Russia, Australia, Japan, India, and Taiwan. Iacurci has collaborated with a number of brands and companies including Adidas, Urban Outfiters, Penguin Books, La Repubblica, Mailchimp, L’Unita, Herman Miller, Sugar Music, Cielo Tv, WALLS_Contemporary Public Art, among others. The piece he did on the Ensorinstitut building in Ostend depicts a colorful large-scale vase and stretches over the whole side of the structure. Haven has managed to provide a few photographs in which we can see the whole piece, and you can check them out in the slider above.
Biancoshock is known for his performance and installation art, and he did not disappoint at The Crystal Ship festival. He executed a series of urban activism actions that span from installation to site-specific performance, and the most fun part – furniture transformation. His performance Street Bed established him as one of the foremost urban interventionists operating in the world today. Biancoshock’s knack for capturing the ridiculousness and expressing the social commentary is what brought the Milan-based artist to exhibit, or in his case, perform and intervene in numerous countries, including, his home country – Italy, Germany, France, UK, Hungary, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain, among others. He presented his project Ephemeralism in universities across Europe, in Milan, Ljubljana, Foggia, Bratislava, and Zagreb, and at TEDx Oporto 2014.
CYRCLE is a duo made up of American artists David Torres (Rabi) and David Leavitt (Davey Detail) whose works are often oriented towards social criticism. Their latest mural executed for The Crystal Ship festival is a memorial for the recent bombing done by members of Isis in Brussels, the capital of Belgium on March 22nd, 2016. The mural conveys a message of hope, and it reminds that the beauty can be found even in the darkest of times, even in times of war, even in death. The flowers that occupy the wall are remnants of the deceased who lost their lives in the tragic Isis attack, and at the same time a symbol of an ongoing fight and will for life that we carry within.
DisorderLine were a part of the muralist intervention in Ostend along with 25 other murals in the center of the city. The 5x80 meters side of the swimming pool building was painted by DisordeLine who managed to blend their artistic vision into the environment by using the turquoise blue color. In the end, the mural looked like a four-dimensional painting, with lights and shadows that influence the overall perception of the artwork, making it pleasant for the eyes and evoking the sense of a true poolside atmosphere. The trompe l’oeil effects provide the mural with the versatile appearance, making it look different in the daylight than it does during the night.
We have recently written about Eversiempre’s mural in our latest edition of Street Update. Eversiempre created this mural for The Crystal Ship festival, and that did not escape the lens of Henrik Haven, who captured the work in process, as well as the finalized artwork. The piece titled Homage to the Past and Future is a symbol of an ongoing struggle of people who deal with the cruel reality, and the consequences of their past decisions and events that surround their everyday lives. If you haven’t already checked out this piece in our Street Update #125, go ahead and take a look at the images in the slider above.
South African-born Faith47 is an artist who uses a variety of media to create unique artworks, exhibited all over the world. She has displayed her works in Johannesburg, London, Paris, Miami, Vienna, Glasgow, Rome, Los Angeles, New York, Malaga, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, and Milan, among many others. Faith47’s new piece is the sixth work of art in her 7.83 MHz frequency series, inspired by various themes including the loneliness, human rights, post-apartheid, and feminism. The mural titled 1430-1350 BC is located in Sauna Aquarius, Peter Benoistraat 77, in the city of Ostend. Henrik Haven has produced several images of the mural, so go ahead and check them out.
Fintan Magee is an Australian street artist who is most famous for his mural work in Queensland and New South Wales. He has executed a number of works all over the world as well, including those in Indonesia, Colombia, Hong Kong, United States, Scotland, England, Ireland, Russia, Tunisia, Mexico, Germany, and Belgium. The Lismore-born artist received acclaim for his mural of Felix Baumgartner, the man who jumped from the stratosphere to Earth on the 14th of October, 2012. The Australian artist created a large-scale mural in Ostend, showing a young woman and her reflection in the water, which is a recurring theme in his artworks.
JAZ, or Franco Fasoli, is one of the most talented and most popular Argentinian street artists. The mural he produced for Ostend was inspired by James Ensor’s works, who was a famous painter of the late 19th and early 20th century and whose paintings were ahead of his time and investigated the themes of carnivals, masks, religion, and skeletons. For this mural, JAZ drew inspiration from Ensor’s prints and incorporated a couple of literal references to his paintings, such as the skeleton and the sky. The scene reminds of a Horseman of the Apocalypse and is surrounded by the raised hands of the angry mob.
Guido van Helten’s piece for The Crystal Ship festival is a depiction of a local former fisherman executed in a very detailed manner. You can clearly see the skin texture and the wrinkles that have formed on an old man’s face over time. It is the representation of human struggle and of all the thick and thin a person goes over the course of his/her life, and it symbolizes the life experience and wisdom that comes with age. The owners of the former silo upon which the mural was painted have stated that the face that looks at them from the gigantic wall represents the character of the old harbor which was once glorious but now faced with the pressures of redevelopment.
Spanish artist Isaac Cordal has produced a series of tiny installations titled Isolated In The Modern Outdoors for The Crystal Ship and curated by Nuart Festival. This series is related to his famous Cement Eclipses project, which we have previously written about in an announcement for the group exhibition at Molin Corvo Gallery. These tiny men in dapper suits are a reflection on the relationship we have with the modern outdoors nowadays. His sculptures, only 25cm in height, watch over the city from above, as they were installed high up on the walls and various niches and cords on the buildings, as well as on miniature terraces glued to the walls.
Jaune is a Belgian stencil artist who loves to paint little garbage men doing artsy stuff. This festival was no different for him, as he created a number of small-scale refuse collectors wearing hi vi vests and painting Mona Lisa, watering the plants, and playing golf with trash bags. The symbolism of Jaune’s work lies in the paradox of visible and invisible. Even though these workers wear fluorescent clothes, they are invisible to the people, as they are doing a job that many consider unworthy of their attention, yet, a job without which our lives would turn into a literal mess.
Locatelli and Smates are two Belgian artists who produce realistic works characterized by visible, graphic brushstrokes. For The Crystal Ship festival, they created a large-scale mural that depicts a big, strong, glorious lion that stares into the distance while the little vulnerable fawn is resting under the lion’s mane. The piece is as symbolic as it is beautiful, and it is for the viewers to find their own vision of this unorthodox duo of the hunter and prey sitting together peacefully. The lion has always been a symbol of a strong, fearless leader, and the king of all animals, while the fawn is the fragile, delicate, elegant being, easily scared and an easy prey for the bigger carnivores. They will, if only on this mural, stay in a friendly and protective relationship, watching over one another and inspiring the sense of togetherness amongst the people.
ROA is the muralist from Ghent whose elusive personality makes his amazing works even more interesting. The master of painting is known for his fascination with rodents and other animals. The mysterious muralist has created a myriad of animal-inspired works over the years and today we are able to enjoy his latest piece in Ostend, a pyramid of various small animals, including a rabbit, a squirrel, a hedgehog, a mole, and a mouse. Apart from Ostend, you can find his works in New York, Berlin, London, Madrid, Warsaw, Los Angeles, Moscow, Mexico City, and Paris. What is interesting about ROA is that he chooses to paint animals native to the location he is working in, so if he goes to Mexico he will paint a rooster, and if he is in a big city he will, obviously, choose to depict smaller rodents.
Robert Montgomery is a London-based poet and sculptor, best known for his site-specific installations. His works investigate the universal themes of love, power, and human kindness, and his text-based pieces are a criticism of contemporary life in the tradition of a melancholic post-Situationist manner, which is known as a 20th-century Marxist movement. His deeply moving piece for the Ostend festival is a social commentary on the today’s transient understanding of the world and of the oversaturation with the typical consumerist, capitalist ways. Robert Montgomery’s works have been exhibited a number of times in various galleries and public locations all over Europe, in Berlin, Paris, Geneva, and London, and in New York City in the United States.
Siegfried Vynck is an Ostend-born artist whose inspirations spur from the Baroque, surrealism, manga, pop art, and comic books. He is no stranger to the world of graffiti, as the majority of his works are executed with the spray can paint. He likes to produce artworks that deal with the ideas of the impossible love, salvation and redemption, often in eerie surroundings and alien worlds. His abstract constructions and landscapes carry the touch of a virtuoso, as they seem as if they were flowing peacefully to the sounds of soothing music, somewhere in the vast universe, bereft of the heaviness imposed by gravity.
Zio Ziegler is an American painter and muralist who completed the large monochrome piece which will continue to live in Ostend for years to come. His works adorn the walls of big cities around the world, including Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, Oakland, Italian cities, and the famous Mission District of San Francisco. Ziegler has collaborated with the brand Vans, for which he designed a line of sneakers. Zio has exhibited his works in a variety of galleries in Hollywood, Laguna Beach, Milan, and San Francisco. He is the founder of the clothing company Arte Sempre and has painted a number of cars for collectors worldwide.