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The Pitiless Gaze of Hysterical Realism

  • Jimmy C
December 6, 2014

Curator Stefano S. Antonelli has invited some of the leading names in urban art for The Pitiless Gaze of Hysterical Realism exhibition, hosted by the 999 Contemporary project, a non-profit organisation with the aim to promote contemporary urban arts. Portrait painting has always been important in the art world, offering a constant narration on the development and transitions of mankind with the artist capturing the beauty and at times, the ugliness of the human form to give a sense of the spirit of the times they were created in. Observing and transforming images of people has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists down the ages, offering an insight into the subjective identity and the power of public images. For Stefano S. Antonelli, the artists selected for The Pitiless Gaze of Hysterical Realism are, he feels, solid interpreters of the spirit of our times, artists that exist in a time of endless flowing information whose work following on from the nihilism of the 90s offers some hope that that is something out there that is still worthwhile in this modern world. The artists in this exhibition offer a view on the western world that fits perfectly with what author James Wood called hysterical realism and their representations of our lives offer a pitiless gaze on this hysterical realism.

Dale Grimshaw - Portraits of War
Dale Grimshaw – Portraits of War

Artists Offering

Eighteen leading urban artists from eight different countries are showing at The Pitiless Gaze of Hysterical Realism exhibition, each selected for the way they use street art as an expressive mode and are representatives of the people, along with being artists. Most of the artists exhibiting are immediately recognisable with their images, such as the strong figure work of Guy Denning, the self-taught English painter based in France and founder of the Neomodern group and a regular part of the urban art scene in Bristol, UK. The stunning work of Axel Void (Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mevs) shows a clear influence of a love for classical painting and drawing that has evolved into large scale murals created with an obvious knowledge and skill of those classical techniques but now put into urban landscapes. Cane Morto (Dead Dog!) describe themselves as the worst crew ever, three Italian friends who have the attitude of a dead dog who wanted to make money but have found they are still poor and hungry. The work is infused with life, vibrant, gestural creations full of expressive creatures and humans. The drip and scribble paintings of Australian Jimmy C (James Cochran)again show the work of a true artist, merging a love of graffiti and oil painting to create poetic portraits and cityscapes. Jimmy C was pivotal in the development of the underground urban scene in Australia during the 1990’s but is now based in London. The following artists are exhibiting at The Pitiless Gaze of Hysterical Realism: Axel Void, Ben Slow, Best Ever, Cane Morto, Dale Grimshaw, David Walker, Ever, Fintan Magee, Gaia, Guy Denning, James Kalinda, Jerico, Jimmy C, Mata Ruda, Matt Small, Nanook, Philippe Baudeloque and Stinkfish.

Fintan Magee
Fintan Magee


The Pitiless Gaze of Hysterical Realism is presented by 999 contemporary, the non-profit curatorial project with SIKKENS/ATAC/BERNABEI/FLUENDO and can be found at The Popping Club, Via Baccina 84, Rome, Italy. Entrance is free but you must register in order to gain access the exhibition. The exhibition runs from 11/12/2014 until 14/02/2015.

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Stinkfish - London
Stinkfish – London
Phillipe Baudelocque - Cosmic Animals
Phillipe Baudelocque – Cosmic Animals
James Kalinda
James Kalinda
Cane Morto
Cane Morto
Guy Denning - Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter
Guy Denning – Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter
Axel Void - NOBODY
Axel Void – NOBODY