Preview: Part2ism "New Horizons & Future Love Songs" at Red Gallery in London
Keith Hopewell aka Part2ism’s exhibition opens at Red Gallery in London on August 9th. Having started writing in 1982, he is undeniably one of the UK’s pioneering graffiti writers and a ground-breaking Hip Hop producer.
“I’ve worked with the spray can so long now that for me it is a brush itself. Plus, why hide from the fact it is independent from what you learn in art schools? This is renegade art, so let’s not shy from our revolutionary practice; it’s what differentiates us from all the other forms of art.” – Part2ism, The Real State, 2009
At the age of ten in 1982, Hip Hop music, such as Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock, began to play across the international airwaves. The new music captured his passions and swayed his focus from being obsessed with Mod music. At the time, he had been spray painting his favorite Mod band logos around his hometown, York, but he quickly switched to tagging. He actually first became interested in breaking, because he had previously been into BMX bike freestyling, and break dancing was complementary in the form and style of the movements. By 1984, though, it was the art and the music that consumed him.
After the page break, more history and photos…
Making electronic-based music and DJing developed concurrently with his interest in graffiti, but visual art is what Part2ism gained most attention for in the eighties and into the mid-nineties. While covering his hometown of York and the train lines to London with mass transit influenced art, Part2ism expanded on the grammar and vocabulary of Wildstyle until he had developed a pure maze-like abstraction. By around 1989 he discovered that he also had an innate ability to use spray paint to render the human figure in a photorealistic manner. As a result, he became well known as the first Hyperrealist aerosol artist in the UK. During this time he also formed a couple of the first UK graffiti crews, including co-founding the Ikonoklast Movement with Juice126 and RemiRough, two other pioneering members of the original graffiti movement in the UK in the early eighties. Currently, he is also associated with the Graffuturists. Part2ism is part of two big Graffuturist exhibitions coming up in London in the Blackall Studios at the end of September and in Los Angeles at the Soze Gallery in the middle of December.
During the nineties and into the new millennium, Part2ism also became a successful and ground-breaking music producer. He first gained recognition with his own hip hop crew and record label called New Flesh For Old. On their album Equilibrium, he composed beats that are electronic and ethereal, creating an environment that is sci-fi creepy and Kraftwerk funky. This tripped out music compliments the spacey intellectual lyrics which are syncopated and esoteric. He also became a music producer for Ninja Tune’s label, Big Dada. He worked with many of the critically acclaimed underground Hip Hop artists at the time (see diagram below). He released his own solo CD in 1996, Prelude to Cycle 6, on DJ Vadim’s label, Jazz Fidge. He also worked with Rammellzee on an album they released in 2002, even becoming friends over the years. When Rammellzee passed away in 2010, Part2ism even painted a memorial mural for him.
In the mid-2000s, Part2ism started a few new series on and off the streets. The conceptual Infinity Project series was the simple act of painting CMYK bars around the city streets. These square Blue, Magenta, Yellow and Black printer’s codes created a startling effect with their graphic universal abstraction acting as a visual knife through the clutter. A second powerful series, Hyper-Type, is a kind of 3-Dimensional Digital-Wildstyle installed as cardboard and wood sculptures in public places. These typographic sleight-of-hand manifestations vibrate with futuristic motion and M.C. Escher letterforms. A third series, around 2007, was the meta-realistic Tamara series, which were female nudes wearing gas masks that confronted as well as titilated. These masked figures were painted with the same “grimy” car spray paint that he’s been using for decades. The first decade of the new millennium was a fertile period for Part2ism, concurrently exploring paths in music and visual arts.
In this new show, Part2ism is exhibiting a few new series that combine his hybrid talents and aesthetic discoveries into a synaesthetic manifestation of the visual and the aural.
“As Part2ism moved into the second decade of the new millenium, his complete body of work across all disciplines began to combine and mutate again. All the past and present disciplines, categories and obsessions, conflated and recombined into a synaesthesia of sight and sound, manifested in four new series. The first, is a series of sculptural reliefs entitled Architect-Sonics. This is a form of geometric abstraction built from wood assembled in a landscape-formation of horizontal bright-colored bands that resemble patterns of sound, reminiscent of the graphic displays in audio engineering of software. The second manifestation is a letterform-based series painted with spray paint on public walls and defined as “automatic wall paintings.” These pieces resemble a passionate, atmospheric Wildstyle geometry, a misty and frenetic interpretation of the hard-edged, cool Architect-Sonics sculptures. And in the third and fourth abstract series, he explores vectors as pure line, color and depth called Mapomatix, and spatialization as points, color and surface data in the Outelligence series.
With this cross-pollination all along the continuum of his creative output, Part2ism has reached an apex of compression and connection of a lifetime of aesthetic explorations in different disciplines, utilizing everything that he has accomplished over the past twenty-eight years, in a sensurround of synaesthesia and synchronicity.” – Daniel Feral, The Resonance of Aerosol and Vibration of Form, New Horizons and Future Love Songs (exhibition catalog), 2012.
‘This is Ikonoklast’s trajectory for firing horizontally. – Ramm:Ell:Zee.
“Part2ism consistently throws audio-visual vibrations upon the operating system of mass transit art. From his epicenter in the United Kingdom and reaching out around the globe Part2ism operates like a first responder to the 21st century technotingularity, a well-armed painter and audio engineer innovatively mashing these disciplines over a quartz-century into a partfuturist synthesis: coloured planes of sonic architecture, what he calls ‘architecsonics’, 2012 horizons of tone for the skull. TIMBRE!” – Steve Pratt, New Horizons and Future Love Songs (exhibition catalog), 2012.
The above photo is of the cover of the New Horizons and Future Love Songs Exhibition Catalog, which can be ordered from Gamma Proforma.
Text: Daniel Feral
Photo: Keith Hopewell aka Part2ism