January 13 - February 29, 2012
FUTURA 2012 - Expansions
galerie jerome de noirmont
FUTURA 2000, Blues Brothers, 2011. Spray paint and acrylic on canvas. 274,5 x 305 cm - 108 x 120 in. (c)FUTURA 2000. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont.
FUTURA 2012 - EXPANSIONS
After their Spring 2011 exhibition Graffiti New York 80´s celebrating the historic debut of "street art" and the pioneers of this now worldwide art, the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont is pleased to present the newest work of one of the greatest figures of this movement today : FUTURA 2000. Since the early 80´s, this iconic pioneer of the urban scene has played an instrumental role in the passage of graffiti from subway walls to gallery walls.
From January 13 to February 29, 2012, FUTURA 2000 unveils his latest works, some fifteen paintings all made in 2011; urban energy frescoes where instinct and spontaneity prevail over theory in the pictorial tradition of the abstract expressionists of the New York School.
EXPANSIONS ... is the thème of the recent ARTWORK [presented] at the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont. Over the past three décades ; I have tried to define a style & technique that would separate my work, from the other artists within my subculture. the process has allowed me to explore the realm of the ABSTRACT and spontaneous.
A new successor to Pollock’s "Action Painting" and Clyfford Still’s "colorfields" , FUTURA 2000 brings up to date what art critic Harold Rosenberg wrote in 1952: One after another, the American painters began to see the canvas as an arena in which to act, rather than a space in which to reproduce, redesign, analyze or express an object, real or imagined. What was produced on the canvas was not an image but an event.
Like Jackson Pollock, it is on the ground that FUTURA’s paintings most often take shape. In this way, he can understand the media as a whole and adapt it to his "paint brush": the spray can.
A way to control the energy and impulsive creativity he projects onto his paintingsA
Born in 1955, FUTURA 2000 (whose real name is Leonard McGurr) began painting at the age of 15 in tunnels and subway cars. He was co-founder of the collective S.A. (Soul Artists) and took part in New York’s underground scene of the 70s and 80s. He is one of those rare artists who develops the styles of graffiti as an art form.
Along with Basquiat, Haring, Warhol or Rammellzee, Zephyr and Dondi White, he participates in the PS1 Contemporary Art Center’s critical exhibition , New York / New Wave in 1981. With them, he brings legitimacy to "graffiti" by taking it out from underground spaces to present it to a wider and more informed audience. This passage from wall to canvas highlights the stylistic diversity and heterogeneity of this new artistic genre.
Very soon the young artist distinguishes himself from other "writers" by developing an abstract and pictorial approach to graffiti. His abstracts - the name given to his abstract compositions - dot the number 1 and 3 lines of the New York subway and in 1981 he is the first to paint a "whole car" without lettering. His inspiration is also found in cyberpunk and science fiction films. 2001: A Space Odyssey released in 1968 was the origin of his signature: Future 2001, which became FUTURA 2000.
FUTURA takes the traditional iconography of graffiti and reinvents it. At first, his "tag" is readable, far from the wild style that was all the rage in the streets of New York in the late 70´s. But it disappears progressively behind his flat colors and abstract projections to finally evolve towards a geometrization of form.
The approach [in these new works] isn’t SCIENCE ; nor is it SCIENCE FICTION. It’s the discovery of physical boundaries in SIZE & SCALE and the methods in which an individual can EXPAND...his or her horizons ; in the pursuit of creativity ... in the name of COLOR&COMPOSITION.
Whether it’s large formats such as Blues Brothers and Panic Button or works with more intimate dimensions such as Rumors, FUTURA plays each time with our senses, our feelings of the unfinished. Color seems to take over line, but his expressive jets of spray impose an organized vision of this colorful disarray where gears, ellipses, pylons and architectural forms punctuate a lively and sensitive palette.
As art historian Paul Ardenne emphasizes in the catalog published for the exhibition, color punctuates a pictorial space that is not necessarily afraid of emptiness, where large areas serve as breathing space for the eye. It is considered in terms of its super-sensitive or even metaphysical effects; a desire for visual impact beyond the simple effect of style, and pulsing towards transcendence.
These now recurring themes in his work echo both his inspiration for new images - indexed methodically on his Flickr each day - as well as his military experience (FUTURA enlisted in the Navy in the mid 70s and worked on an aircraft carrier) and his love of cycling (he was also a bike messenger). The street, challenge and speed have thus given birth to an iconography that has now become his signature.
This same energy is still visible in all the new works exhibited at the gallery today: spontaneity, speed, transgressive freedom and wild energy come together on the canvas; street codes mingle with an abstract realism and enhance the space.
PRESS CONTACT: Emmanuelle de Noirmont / Laurène Flinois
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