Nuart Festival 2015 Highlights
Nuart Festival continues to grow beautifully celebrating its 15th anniversary this year together with leading artists and practitioners in the field of street art and adjacent disciplines, with a special focus on the theme of Situationism and Play, which has multiple facets and twists to explore, also taking into consideration the various social, political and economic current issues, that have been approached by many of the 2015 guests.
Ella & Pitr
After completing the world’s largest outdoor mural to date in Klepp, Norway, entitled ‘Lilith and Olaf’, artists Ella & Pitr had several street art interventions in Stavanger. The murals show an elderly woman, fallen asleep in a gesture of embrace perhaps missing someone dear, and an old man tired and troubled by his thoughts. The grey, red and black palette defining the signature of the two artists recreates the characters as a memory revives the moments without capturing the whole picture, but the shades of emotions we shared at some point. The French duo also collaborated with Isaac Cordal for an indoor installation, painting a colossal character in contrast to the small figure of Isaac Cordal, positioned on a red chair. Their is an interesting tension manifesting in this particular work due to this contrast in proportions, with the giant hand either trying to play with its tiny new friend and possibly ending up in harming the businessman like sculpture, while on the other hand it may reflect a clever and humorous switch of power between the two and even the promise of salvation.
Photos © Ella&Pitr
The places and situations Isaac Cordal chooses to expose his small figures reminding of leaders and corporations representatives reveal the intended confrontation with social, environmental and political issues, turning the tables in favor of those affected by today’s continuous problems and depicting the ones in power in desperate conditions, drowning in misery as a result of their own misguided decisions.
According to Brooklyn Street Art, when referring to his works, “Cordal says they are meant to symbolize many things – one of them being the corrupt wolves in business suits who are running much of the world today, and you immediately know of whom he speaks. Comedic in placement, dastardly in deed, you want them to fall, or jump, but somehow it is better that they are frozen in the midst of their drama, frozen with fright and fear.”
Photos © Isaac Cordal
Icy and Sot
We already announced the solo show ‘CUTitALISM’ by Icy and Sot, hosted by Reed Projects Gallery. The Iranian artists, who were also guests of the 2014 Nuart Festival edition, return this year to Stavanger to reflect the ongoing crisis of refugees, homeless people and children struggling to survive in a society concerned only with economic objectives and money driven growth, while their indoor installation, on view at Tou Scene in Norway through October 11th, 2015, consists of a tree with plastic bags instead of leaves, bringing into discussion in a striking manner our responsibility regarding the alarming environmental degradation and pollution threat we face today.
Icy and Sot – ‘Voyage’ / Photo by the artists
Pixel Pancho presents an interesting perspective on the relationship between man-made ‘life’ and organic existence, at the crossroads between technology and nature, where communion and not only destruction may be possible. The yet unknown future finds the enormous robot silently waiting for something or someone. There is such emotion in this moment of solitude and emptiness, the experience being amplified by the placement of Bordalo II’s work in the following room, as if we are challenged to first encounter the effect and then the cause of what we see and where we are.
With his pieces for Nuart, Ernest Zacharevic presents the tragic situations children are forced to experience nowadays due to social and political contexts. According to WideWalls, the first mural is inspired by “the cold climate of Norway and their tradition of wooden houses and is showing a cross stitched image of a house on fire.” Fire is an element you wouldn’t expect in a piece that at a first glance seems to evoke a peaceful scenery. Is the fire a result of natural causes or is it intended? A similar question rises when seeing the mural inspired by the statue in Stavanger showing the children book characters Johanna and Broremann, that the artist chooses to separate through a barb wired door, becoming unable to hold hands as in the statue. Finally, the installation of Ernest Zacharevic depicts children floating in a paper boat in the middle of the dangerous ocean that might not bring them to safety, a reference to the faith of refugee children.
Photos via Ernest Zacharevic
For the 15th anniversary of Nuart, Spanish conceptual street painter Pejac created a tribute to Expressionism through the reinterpretation of the iconic work “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. Re-titled “Drift”, the piece is in this version a result of child’s play through the tire marks left behind by a toy race car.
Pejac / Photos courtesy of Nuart Festival
Nuart 2015 – Indoor & Outdoor
Joining the 2015 anniversary edition of Nuart Festival was Martha Cooper, who not only documented the artistic interventions, including a dedicated special improvisation by Fra.Biancoshock, but also had a selection of photographs showcased in the Nuart exhibition, of children playing, sometimes using improvised objects instead of toys.
Bordalo II drives attention towards the consequences of an oil based economy and how irresponsibility and ignorance may cause pollution leading to the destruction of our environment and other species. Also part of the Tou Scene exhibition, Bortusk Leer invaded the space and Stavanger’s walls with his army of insanely colorful and bizarre monsters.
Futura’s intervention was documented by Brooklyn Street Art, we saw a new collaboration between Sandra Chevrier and Martin Whatson and an unexpected abstract approach by Norway’s DOLK. DOT DOT DOT, who was also a guest of Nuart 2014, painted a portrait of Johnny Rotten, lead singer of the punk rock band Sex Pistols, wearing a Norwegian trapper hat, while Jamie Reid encouraged the viewers to demand the impossible through a punk visual manifesto.
Nuart also hosted a special performance conceived by Harmen de Hoop, entitled ‘Permanent Education’, a cooperation between the conceptual artist and Jan Ubøe, Mathematics and Statistics Professor, Norwegian School Of Economics, who gave a 30-minute lecture on the streets of Stavanger on the subject of option pricing. According to Arrested Motion, “the complex topic was chosen because of its relevance to the recent global financial crisis. During his lecture, Professor Ubøe used a building as his impromptu chalkboard on which he presented the mathematical explanation of how banks lost so much money so fast. When finished, the equations and graphs created during the talk were left behind as a mural. With the piece, de Hoop is commenting specifically on the lack of public knowledge on the financial crisis and on how banks operate, and generally on the dearth of interest in ‘knowledge’ or ‘complexity’ in the public domain.”
Martin Whatson / Photo © John Rodger courtesy of Nuart Festival
Bortusk Leer / Photo © John Roger courtesy of Nuart
DOLK / Photo courtesy of Nuart Festival
The Aftenblad Wall
A new public art initiative by Nuart Festival is The Aftenblad Wall, created in partnership with Aftenblad newspaper, inviting artists to create works on a large-scale billboard in the heart of Stavanger. The Aftenblad Wall’s inaugural artist is Canadian painter Sandra Chevrier, and Nuart will extend invitations to four artists per year, whose work will stand for three months before being pasted over in the same way as commercial billboards.
According to Nuart organizers, the piece created by Sandra Chevrier is part of the Super Hero Cages series, in which the artist depicts female subjects encased in masks of comic book imagery, as a reflection of the daily struggles that women face in meeting society’s unrealistic and limiting standards and expectations of beauty and femininity.
Nuart Festival Founder and Director, Martyn Reed says: “Working directly on the streets is liberating and allows artists to circumnavigate the traditional routes into and through the art world. At the same time, through adopting the medium of advertisers – in this case a large scale billboard – artists are addressing the question of who has the power to create messages and meaning in our public spaces.”
Sandra Chevrier / Photo © Sasha Bogojev courtesy of Nuart Festival
Sandra Chevrier / Photo © John Rodger courtesy of Nuart Festival