Art of the Context

With public and institutional recognition rising, many artists were able to make the streets their exhibition space. The urban environment became even more present and artists once again began to reinvent the genre.

New techniques were being implemented with some artists working to massive scale spurred on by the drive to have their artwork – their visual identities – go viral. These pieces invite the passerby to reflect on the impact of the image, as well as share it with many others through digital technology and social media.

By this point each artist had begun to develop their own style and created their own techniques and trademarks. To stand out artists relied on constantly renewing their practices while giving ever more attention to their surroundings. Each artist drew on timeless aesthetics and strong messages to make the walls speak.

Speak Cryptic (b. 1980)

Speak Cryptic
(b. 1980)

A State of Decline
Created on site at the ArtScience Museum
January 2018

Farizwan Fajari, known as Speak Cryptic, is a visual artist living and working in Singapore. Inspired by the visual language of comics and underground music, his works deals primarily with issues pertaining to the human condition. Utilising personal iconographies and a cast of characters that he has developed over several years, he applies them to various narratives inspired by his observations on current affairs and his immediate environment.

Ludo (b. 1975)

Created on site at the ArtScience Museum
January 2018

Ludo mixes organic imagery with technological elements. The artist highlights his over-sized pasted works with green. In his vegetal-robotic world, Ludo creates a unique aesthetic. With great skill and attention to detail, he combines organic and mechanical elements in order to transform them into hybrid living creatures. The artist, like his predecessors, draws energy from the streets. His inspiration is linked more to current issues, taboos, and scandals in society. Conceding nothing, he lays the debate out on the table and in doing so, questions our world.
YZ (b. 1975)

(b. 1975)

Empress Ngatini
Created on site at the ArtScience Museum
January 2018
Artist YZ – pronounced ‘eyes’ – started her career with a series of pasted works titled Open Your Eyes. She paints very large scale black and white faces, often representations of women from history. Each work references times past but also a quiet timelessness.  Painted in Indian ink, often incorporating found materials and tucked away in corners of the city, her works are meticulously prepared and sensitively installed. Of her art, YZ says “I like that the classicism is part of a very urban practice’.
JR (b. 1983)
JR (b. 1983)
The Wrinkles of the City, 2014
Black and white photographs laminated on wood
Courtesy of Magda Danys Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Stéphane Bisseuil
In 2001 JR received the TED Prize, awarded annually to a leader with a “creative, bold wish to spark global change”. In response JR created Inside Out, a participatory project which saw him transform digitally upload images into over 200,000 posters displayed in diverse communities across 130 countries. JR has been described by Fabrice Bousteau, Chief Editor of Beaux Arts magazine as "the one we already call the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century".
FAILE (Patrick McNeil b. 1975 and Patrick Miller b. 1976)
Eastern Skies, 2016
Acrylic and silkscreen on wood
Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Stéphane Bisseuil
The Brooklyn duo FAILE use a mix of references as starting points for their work. This visual blend, or sampling, taken from paintings, stenciling, pasted works, etc., lends itself to many interpretations. In the urban environment, whether on walls or storefronts, FAILE playfully engage with the viewer, yet behind this poetic display is a much deeper questioning of the world around us.