Preview: Futurism 2.0 Opens TONIGHT in London Featuring the Graffuturists
On the 100th anniversary of the Futurist’s first show in London in 1912, Gamma Proforma has curated a large exhibition featuring the Graffuturists. Futurism 2.0 opens tonight, Thurs Sept 27, at Blackall Studios.
The similarity in the names of the different movements, as well as the synchronicity of the years 1912 and 2012, inspired the theme of this show, but this surface comparison is also validated by deeper similarities as well. The Futurists and the Graffuturists have a lot in common, but also are completely different in many ways. Similarities begin with the positive beliefs in “dynamism” and “progression” in aesthetics, science and technology, but end with the Futurists belief in divisiveness, violence and war as a means to those ends. The Futurists attack on culture was like a brutal primitive chemotherapy treatment versus the Graffuturist’s more advanced homeopathic resonance.
The most important difference is that this movement started not as a name with a theory attached, but has been organically developing over the past twenty to forty years. “Futurism” was concocted by the artist Marinetti, who named the movement and wrote the first theoretical manifesto, where as “Graffuturism” was “just meant to be the name of a website,” as the founder Poesia has stated. He says the impetus was to create a space to represent the “progressive graffiti” that he has been interested in over the years that has not gotten the exposure it deserves. Due to his singular vision and incredible work ethic, the site has been a huge success, developing and growing over the years, creating a context that allows the artists to be seen for their true value, fostering friendships between the artists and building a place for an audience to develop a connection to them.
The artist roster for this show, who have all been covered at one point or another on the Graffuturism site, is an international A-list of progressive painters, who are also graffiti writers, but over the years have compiled and combined other influences and aesthetic discoveries on top of their graffiti backgrounds. The complete list is: Augustine Kofie, Phil Ashcroft aka PhlAsh, Boris Tellegen aka Delta, James Choules aka She One, Matt W. Moore, Mark Lyken, Sat One, Christopher Derek Bruno, Teo Pirisi aka Moneyless, Duncan Jago aka Mr. Jago, Nawer, O. Two, Morten Andersen, Keith Hopewell aka Part2ism, Jaybo Monk, Divine Styler, Poesia Transcend, Derm, Jerry Inscoe aka Joker, Clemens Behr, Remi/Rough, and Carlos Rodriguez aka Mare139. For in depth biographies and artist statements, visit the Artist Features section on the Futurism 2.0 site.
Like the first Graffuturist group exhibition last year, Rudimentary Perfection, the inspiration and importance of this show is palatable to the artists and to their audience alike. Almost all the artists have made it here to London of their own accord. They also have been invited to paint walls around the city as well. The amount of posts, shares, likes, and comments resonating throughout the internet is a testament to the timeliness and cultural relevance, felt not only by the artists but also by their audience. Inspired by friends in the Rudimentary Perfection exhibition, Rob Swain, the head of Gamma Proforma, has had a huge vision for producing and curating this exhibition as well. He has created a massive website and beautiful catalog, with a book and documentary to come. There is an urgency, a visionary elation, a feeling that this is a time to be reckoned with, not to slack through, to channel the inspiring energy that is flowing through all these individuals across the board, around the world.
Another feature of the exhibition is that I redesigned the Feral Diagram: Graffiti and Street Art. One of the main impetuses that drove me to redesign it at this point in time, was that, like the synchronicity between the Futurists and the Graffuturists which demanded the comparison be made during this exhibition, so did the historical trajectory of Gothic Futurism to Abstract Graffiti to Graffuturism demand to be recognized at this important juncture. It’s a time to finally connect the dots between the aesthetics, the artists, and the audience of this movement.
Crist Espiritu, a writer for the Doze Collective blog, takes a revolutionary tone similar to the Futurists, when he makes this statement about the exhibition in a recent review of Futurism 2.0: “This is an exciting phase in aesthetic evolution unraveling right before our eyes and I for one am grateful to witness it. Graffuturism is a revolution and Futurism 2.0 is the first gunshot that will catapult that revolution at the center of the global art stage. DOZE supports this revolution. We’re backing it up a hundred percent.”
Text + Photo: Daniel Feral