After an unexpected change of location, Stroke Art Fair returns in 2017 to the upgraded facility of the Zundapphalle docks in Munich, Germany, an historic venue, theater of glorious pieces left by street heroes such as Roa and Os Gemeos. The huge interior space houses dozens of artists and galleries, over a thousand paintings from all around the world, an authentic celebration of contemporary art.
The main hall welcomes visitors with a collection of 15 illustrations commissioned to several contemporary illustrators, a “pictures” train that leads to the heart of the show, alongside the bold booth promoted by Cadillac, an artistic partner for this XIII edition of Stroke Art Fair. After a pleasant new encounter with the lettering of Jan Koke, whose artistic elegance remains unchanged over the time, we come to the big ones at the stands of the 34 Fine Art Gallery. Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey, Mr. Brainwash, Space Invader and Martin Whatson.
It is not common to find them all in the space of a few meters, as if they were dating each other, and the glimpse is really remarkable. Of course we are talking about limited editions, signed and numbered by the artists; pieces purchased separately during auctions ended up so fast that they have left nothing to the late customers. At the opposite corner we find one of our favorites, Gui Denning, exhibited by Pretty Portal, a master of material painting, a triptych of the Space Punk series, and two discrete sized canvases, return art at the center of this fair. His timeless portraits continue to give voice to the Bristolian scene, echo the Burial’s underground dub, dig in silence as well as every face finds light between the overlapping textures.
A few meters away there are the indoor works of two more protagonists of the street art world, C215 and the Jana & JS duo. The portraits of Guemy, exhibited by Galerie La Boheme, have been accompanying us for a long time, SAN has dedicated several editorial spaces to his countless works, and the illustrated compendium, available through this exhibition space, well documented his work around the world.
The color is the real master, the lines that trace faces of strange surprise, are the cement bases to welcome his wind of art. And as C215 succeeds with its geometries to delineate his characters, so Jana & JS have found in the softness of lines and pastel colors the key to bring life in these illustrative mirrors. Moving away for a moment from the center of the street art exhibition, we approach standstores of pure photographic nature, and we find a wonderful example of classic revision, The Old Masters presents the portraits of Polish Sylwia Makris, two large compositions reside at the center of its corner, a white light that stands out from its dark shades of clear Rembrandtic matrix. We also look at Lou Ros’s compositions for Galerie Flash and Elizabeth Waggett’s gold-plated skulls for Galerie Barrou Planquart. Parisians have been focusing heavily on urban icons and new pop artists able to capture the attention of the massive icon revision. The Waggett’s mirror, gold-plated artistic design, is well represented by this standard of effect, almost a home ornament for extravagant contemporary furnishings.
A particular mention is for one of our favorite illustrators, Roman Klonek, always for Pretty Portal, with his multicolored compositions always takes the utmost attention, condenses in a few essential parts the illustrative motives, synthesizes in an expert way what is for others still a tortuous path. Klonek is modern illustration, is the artist that every editorialist would like to have for his magazine.
After the bright installation by the Croatian Marko Zubak, a real magnifying glass on our daily actions, in a game of mirrors of thought, a work investigating our impulses and paranoia to be constantly spied and being under examination, we come to the Inkubator section, one of the true novelties of this 13th edition of Stroke Art Fair.
The artists presented are about a fortnight, well-assorted among mini sculpture, illustration, painting and digital art. Cru: zfx plays obviously at home, and Florian Nöhbauer & Leo Slawik’s works are a joy for the eyes and for the brain, their custom toys do not really need too many words, the immediacy of the message is so obvious that you just have to enjoy the show offered.
A little further, always in the “mini” topic, there are the micro installations by Klaus Neumann, photographed with macro targets that give it all the poetic effect. It’s not the first time we meet his sculptures, we’ve already appreciated his poetic approach in other recent performances, and this time he confirms the validity of his proposal. The installation at the Allianz Arena in Munich is remarkable and impressive for sure.
We also find an old acquaintance, the Italian street artist Beast, whose artworks have already found space on these pages, and his stand, among the most visited of the whole exhibition, confirms his very sharp look on the contemporary world; with a strong impact new series he has attracted the attention and surprise of the uninterrupted flow of visitors.
Dany Klotz and Manuela Illera shared an adjacent space in the presentations of their multicolored works, we highly appreciated Klotz’s collage pieces and her endless ways in composition, while Paul Larricart was intent on refreshing a certain French Vogue that was not foreign to the world of punk extraction comics. To close this very interesting section, was Thomas Nechleba’s series provocatively called “street art”, a photographic collection of found objects placed on the streets and returned to the observer’s gaze through the disenchanted eye of the author.
This was the Stroke Art Fair 2017, to be lost in the hundreds of works proposed, following the flow of colors, leaving behind unusual captions and superstructures, enjoying an art weekend in touch with who has made art its own reason for life, offering their own personal point of view on our formatted reality.
And that’s all art should always be.