127 Green Lanes, Stoke Newington,
London N16 9DA
18 May – 8 June 2019
Anti consumerism and anti advertising has been a street art staple street art since day dot. In 2017 black and white paste ups started to appear around Shoreditch with fully formed views on these subjects and they looked awesome. The messages were clear, the imagery was clever and witty and the art and locations really ticked all the boxes.
The artist is question was Benjamin Irritant and the art employed surreal collagism to spear establishment privilege, environmental complacency and set a fresh agenda.
Paste up street artists face several challenges when their art moves indoors. Can the ideas that look so thought provoking or stimulating outdoors avoid becoming mere cartoons in a gallery. Can the artist up the production quality to give the art the longevity that simply is not required in the street art arena?
In one way, Benjamin – let’s not shorthand him as Irritant, that just wouldn’t be terribly kind – does indoors exactly what he does outdoors, lots of paste ups. The human size bunny headed characters on the gallery wall did a great job of eavesdropping on the any chin stroking art gallery conversations going on.
The Churchillian hands looked particularly effective in halftone form screen printed onto the gallery window, whether you are in the gallery or outside there is a certain “FUCK YOU” evident and who’s to say that’s not implicit in a lot of Benjamin’s art.
The Bunny rabbits bring a sense of fun and perhaps absurdity to the party. They could connect to Alice in Wonderland or you might even think a kind of Donnie Darko weirdness is afoot.
The real point of the show though is the actual framed art and the art is both fascinating in content and beautifully executed.
The cacophony of paste ups on the street reached a cacophony in the days leading up to the show and there were two particular pieces which these eyes had not observed on the streets before “We are Ungovernable” and “Social Control – Not Anymore”, which are now both available in the gallery.
Check the way the art has been assembled, we suspect the original collages are screenprinted on heavyweight paper, they appear to be mounted on board and then set into deep frames creating depth.
Graffoto has got out of the habit of publishing alcohol fuelled reviews the morning after art show private views but in sympathy with the White Rabbit “Oh dear, oh dear! I shall be too late!” is our perpetual concern. At time of writing there are 3 viewing days open before the show closes its well worth the schlep, hopefully you won’t forget you saw him.