Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented the first solo exhibition by the street artist known as Anton Angel
A chance to encounter street art within the museum walls
Nearly 50 graffiti pieces denouncing universal evil or criticizing the evils of consumer society
Tongue-in-cheek takes on currently relevant subjects taken off the walls and onto paper
Street art is believed to be the most widespread form of contemporary artistic expression globally – and quite possibly the most divisive one as well. Exhibited in private galleries across Europe and the United States since the 1980s, nowadays it is often acquired for museum collections and auctioned. Nevertheless, technically street art is still an illegal practice, often considered a form of vandalism. Not infrequently politically charged and edgy, it resonates with ever growing audiences today. Bearing witness to its popularity are the allusions to it in major brands’ advertising campaigns, as well as the street art festivals endorsed by various authorities. All this hints at this art form gradually transforming into its complete opposite – something officially approved and commercially driven.
The street artist working under the moniker Anton Angel whose works are exhibited at Erarta addresses the subjects that are most likely to be of concern to everyone these days. His tongue-in-cheek graffiti either denounces universal evil or criticises the evils of consumer society. The artist deems it essential to pinpoint these, and other, relevant issues, to share his thoughts and express his concerns – all this is possible through the medium of street art described by Anton Angel as the most honest art form. It is a language that speaks to others directly. Blending vivid imagery with subversive messages, the artist seeks to ‘wake up’ the viewer – after all, the sleep of reason is known to produce monsters.
Although Anton Angel has been collaborating with a number of art galleries, ReEvolution is his first solo show. He finds this method of reaching out to the viewer interesting: the average museum visitor is looking forward to admiring ‘beauty,’ while the artist looks to get him thinking. Anton Angel’s artworks usually present a visual antinomy that takes a cue from some trending topic and fully grasps the viewer’s attention. The exhibition title, ReEvolution, alludes to the fact that despite mankind’s headlong technical progress our morals and ethics are lagging hopelessly behind. The artist maintains that contemporary humans abide by the most basic instincts, reverting to their animal ancestors, even though, instead of a stick, they are now armed with cutting-edge technology.
Many of the artworks featured in this exhibition were created in 2020 and seem to foreshadow current events. That was the year when the artist had an opportunity to devote himself to a long-planned project, taking his images off the walls and onto paper.
In spite of the fact that Anton Angel eschews taking himself and his art too seriously, he makes a point of coming to grips with the world that surrounds us, and encourages us to do the same. According to the most recent research, the process of art contemplation establishes connections between the new visual information and something long familiar, causing the viewers to literally rack their brains and see the world from a new angle.