Urban Nation in Berlin celebrated the 8th and, reportedly, final chapter of its “Project M” exhibition series this past weekend. Curated in collaboration with London’s StolenSpace Gallery, the exhibit revealed new murals, ten large scale panels at the nearby Urban Nation office, and a collection of new works at Urban Nation’s gallery space by 10 artists: Shepard Fairey, D*Face, Maya Hayuk, Cyrcle, Word To Mother, Miss Van, The London Police, Joram Roukes, Snik, and Evoca1. Most traveled to Berlin for the occasion, making this installment a representation of Urban Nation’s international reach through its collaborators.
German artists Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehmann, aka “Herakut,” (covered here) have traveled all over the world to paint murals and exhibit their drippy, figurative paintings. Through recent social projects, they’ve shared experiences which have provided the inspiration for their current exhibition, “Displaced Thoughts”. On view at the studio and work space of Urban Nation, the exhibition paints a picture of “displaced” individuals due to persecution, conflict, and human rights violations. Herakut sheds a light on these people and the organizations designed to help them in the Middle East, Europe and Africa with new paintings, photographs and installations.
We stopped by Urban Nation in Berlin last week to check out their latest project, M/7, in collaboration with Brooklyn Street Art. It is the 7th in a series named after Berlin’s UN haus building, which we’ve been following here over the past several months. A portraiture show in essence, curators Jamie Rojo and Steven P. Harrington invited 12 Brooklyn based street artists to create a portrait of his or her particular “Person of Interest”: Dain, Gaia, Don Rimx, Swoon, Specter, Esteban Del Valle, Chris Stain, Nohcoley, Cake, El Sol 25, Icy & Sot, Onur Dinc, Kkade, Nevercrew, Dot Dot Dot, and Anreas Engludn. This makes the exhibition a sort of cultural exhange program that brings together the artists with local residents of Berlin, and encourages them to consider their surroundings.
Hot off a mural tour that took him to Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, Shepard Fairey recently traveled to Berlin for to create a new street piece for Urban Nation’s “One Wall” project. The arts platform is behind the interdisciplinary Project M (see our coverage here and here) and recently invited Fairey, Dutch collage artist Handiedan and Irish muralists Icy & Sot to create large-scale wall works. In his typical propaganda fashion, Fairey’s mural champions creative freedom with the slogan “Make Art Not War.” Read our recent interview with Fairey here and take a look at some photos of the piece by Henrik Haven below.
In his upcoming solo exhibition at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, James Reka examines the transition in a city from winter to spring. Perhaps no other city experiences such a drastic change during this time, than does Berlin, which come April is flooded with people riding bikes, picnicking in parks and soaking up the sunshine. Earlier this year, Reka came to Berlin as the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Urban Nation Workspace in the former West Berlin neighborhood of Schöneberg. His abstract paintings of women pulse with a dynamic spirit that captures not only the city’s newfound spring life, but also Berlin’s struggles with gentrification. Working in Schöneberg, an area noted for both its upscale residences and regular prostitutes, Reka is no stranger to this paradox of imported poshness and crude authenticity.
Founded by Yasha Young of arts platform Urban Nation Berlin, Project M/ goes beyond the idea of a traditional gallery, utilizing the exterior walls, street-facing windows and building interior of the Berlin art space for murals, installations and studio artwork. For its latest incarnation, M/4, Urban Nation Berlin invited Andrew Hosner of LA gallery Thinkspace to curate the huge group show “LAX/TXL” featuring an extensive roster of big names and noteworthy up-and-comers in New Contemporary art, street art and beyond: Yoskay Yamamoto, Brett Amory, Amy Sol, Andrew Hem, Nosego and dozens more.