We may have recently landed on the dark side of the moon but our cosmos is still an inspiring enigma to most mortals. New York’s finest, artist and graffiti vanguard Lenny McGurr aka FUTURA 2000 has given life to a walloping conceptual exhibition, themed after the creation of the universe. “FUTURA: The 5 Elements” opens January 11 2019 at Urban Spree artistic space in Berlin, contains more than 60 original paintings and sprawls over an entire floor at their lofty location in the Friedrichshain district. You’ve got until late February, fire up the jets!
This not a retrospective, though being the North star of abstract graffiti and one of the first modern-era graffiti artists would definitely warrant a throwback show. As a kid, FUTURA found influence in the work of artists like SJK and UGA as well as science fiction. He started tagging the subway walls in the 70s age 15 as 'Future 2001', inspired by the Stanley Kubrick space classic. He later became ‘FUTURA 2000’ as his art evolved from lettering to complicated geometry and the free-flowing, inimitable form he is treasured for today. Storied history notwithstanding, this expo contains only new work made in 2018. To go deeper into the life, times and family bonds of Lenny McGurr, revisit the KNOTORYUS archive interview with FUTURA here.
“The 5 Elements” takes you from the Big Bang through the birth of the solar system to a pure interpretation of earth, wind, water and fire. Orbit the room while admiring FUTURA’s signature spray paint clouds of colour, energetic liquid splatters, geometric and atomic compositions and that coveted tag. Mostly working within a palette of greys and primary colours, these new paintings were made early last year in Lille, France during a FUTURA residency at Art-Together – a platform meant to spur the ‘development of urban contemporary arts in Europe’.
To celebrate the vernissage on January 11 in the presence of the artist, Urban Spree will oversee the release of a print set containing 4 silk screens based on the grey, red, blue and green painting series titled ‘Pure’ (‘Pure Air’, ‘Pure Water’, ‘Pure Earth’, ‘Pure Fire’). The prints will also be available for purchase online. As per usual in astronomy, there’s more than meets the eye: you’ll be able to pick up a 128-page companion book titled “Futura, Les 5 Éléments”, signed by the artist. It’s no mere catalogue but an invitation to share the creative experience of the Art-Together residency which offers scientific must-knows needed to further grasp the works.
FUTURA: THE 5 ELEMENTS
January 11 2019 – February 24 2019
Tuesday-Sunday 12 PM – 7 PM
Vernissage: Friday, January 11 2019 from 6 PM
Urban Spree Galerie
Revaler Strasse 99
Prints details: each 8-colour screen print was hand-pulled by Mother Drucker on Somerset 300g/sm archival paper, signed & numbered by FUTURA. The 50 x 50 cm prints are only sold as a limited edition of 100 sets.
Images: (c) FUTURA 2000 c/o Urban Spree