Last week we had the chance to visit London for two days. Not much time, that’s true, but enough time to visit StolenSpace Gallery at 17 Osborn Street and look at the artwork from fellow Berlin resident Reka and the exhibits of Japanese urban artist TwoOne. We intended to have a quick look at the gallery space, talk with some people, examine the art and then hurry on to the next stop. Well, we decided to skip the next stop and spent quite some time at StolenSpace. The artwork on display wouldn’t let us go.
In the front space of StolenSpace TwoOne presented a collection of marvelous graphically painted and neon colored canvases that depict hunted animals. In addition to these main works for “Hunted Hunter's Head” Hiroyasu Tsuri aka TwoOne also presents small sculptures and several color studies that allow viewers insight into the creative process of the artist. TwoOne creates his paintings with bright abstract colored blocks that form the shape of the main image. This is complemented with aerosol sprays in more subtle colors on a sand colored canvas. In some cases TwoOne created multiple layers by gluing scraps of canvas to the main background. The imagery is figurative and surreal. The paintings can show a lion’s head in neon red and yellow or an owl painted in earth tones over the lower part of a human skull, which again contains neon colored elements. The effect that the paintings achieve is sophisticated and strong with a straightforward aesthetic that impresses.
Gallery 2 in the back part of StolenSpace presented the work of the Australian artist Reka. His contemporary surrealist paintings series for “Trip The Light” display females in motion. More precisely they show them dancing in the various electronic clubs that Reka’s chosen hometown Berlin has to offer. While one work is titled Berghain others carry the name Sisyphos or Kater Holzig. The artworks are segmented into geometric forms that vary in color, size and shape. Rounded brush strokes and aerosol sprays break the straight shapes. With his dynamic painting style Reka explores the excitement of music, light and the female body on a series of 10 canvases. Accompanying these large-scale artworks, is a number of small urban art pieces painted on found objects. Reka painted classical female objects like a hairbrush on old sprays cans or other miscellaneous objects from the streets of the German capital. “Trip The Light” is not only an appraisal of women but also homage to Berlin and the extraordinary life within.
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Shortly before leaving StolenSpace the gallery assistant Maria told us about the mural that Reka painted complementary to his exhibition. We had our next destination. We walked down Shoreditch High Street and found the artwork that Maria told us about. The astonishing piece is located on the corner Chance Street and Whitby Street. Reka’s mural covered up an old mural the artist had created earlier. The new mural was painted on a redbrick house but the background was entirely ground coated in black. By using his signature color palette Reka was able to paint separate objects that nonetheless formed an harmonious overall image. The mural contained small items like a chess figure and a locket as well as a fish, a human eye and a woman’s profile. The mural seemed to roundup all exhibits on display at StolenSpace, not only Reka’s works but also the pieces by TwoOne.
On the left-hand side of Reka’s mural we discovered a well-known piece by Belgian street artist ROA. The monochromatic Hedgehog was unfortunately tagged over by “Koe”, “Furce” and “Free Your Spirit” but that didn’t diminish the power a ROA piece has when seeing it live. Only a block away, on the way to our next gallery, we found an amazing piece by Ben Eine on the façade of Shoreditch House. The first part of the typographic mural read was a colorful “PRO” while the second part completed the word “PROTAGONISTS” and was held in a red and blue color palette.
Our next and final stop before we left London to fly back to Berlin was Howard Griffin Gallery on Shoreditch High Street. Arriving there we were welcomed not only by two lovely ladies and gallery owner Grif but also by George, probably the most famous dog in East-London. George and his owner John Dolan visited the gallery to take another look at the success of their exhibition that was unfortunately coming to an end.
After too short a period of HOURS petting and playing with George we went downstairs to visit Grif in his office. The gallery owner was speaking to a couple from the US that was looking to buy a rare Thierry Noir artwork but that was indecisive which one to buy. After we also engaged in the discourse about what to buy the couple made up their mind and decided on a bright yellow large-scale canvas of Noir’s signature character. The couple was happy, Grif was happy, George was wagging his tail and we took off for the airport with the deep regret we didn’t have more time and the firm determination to return to London very soon.