Graffiti Gone Gallery

Gallery Run: Oct. 2012

On The Town | Nina Prader | October 2012

Sainer’s Breakfast on the Grass hangs at the urban art gallery Inoperable (Photo: Nina Prader)

Away from viral anarchistic squiggles on the façades of buildings, street art has made it onto gallery walls. Graffiti got so hip, it has gone pop culture, as spray cans and tagging have been usurped by art institutions and fashion labels. But at the core of this art form lies freedom of expression in open spaces, a vision of the city as a body waiting to be tattooed with urban signage. Political stencils by British pranksters Banksy, Shepard Ferry’s portrait of Obama, Swoon’s wheat pastings, or collaborations by Brazilian twins, Oz Gemos are all now big names in fine art. In Vienna, this autumn is about paying tribute to the city’s urban art scene. The BLK River Festival, curated by Sydney Ogidan, hosts international street artists by invitation only. However, there is a wide spectrum of visual art with "street cred".


Inoperable: Etam Cru Mind Trip

Inoperable has invited artists Bezt and Sainer, known as "Etam Cru" from Lodz in Poland to explore their shared Mind Trip. The artists say they do not dream in colour, but their prints, paintings and wall installations are psychedelic and surrealistic. In the front room, Bezt and Sainer exhibit side-by-side with separately painted works. Together they sprayed the wall like a log cabin. Sainer’s interpretation of Manet’s Breakfast on the Grass depicts a neon pink doughnut with sprinkles. A bird holds the pastry up, dangling over a bowl of fruit surrounded by mushrooms – a kitschy and dark still life, almost an inside joke, combining traditional media and pop culture. In contrast to Sainer’s burning neons, Bezt uses more subdued colours.

Mainly inspired by people, he depicts fantastical women on nomadic journeys. In Bandit Queen, a woman with sunken eyes behind orange glasses lugs a baseball bat, trudging through water, a sinking couch, a crumbling house and murky clouds to her back. In Mind Trip, a girl sits on a truck piled high with suitcases. Etam Cru explores mystic travels, experimentation, or just a bad trip with titles like Take Drugs, Trip, Going Nowhere. They seem to warn of an aesthetic apocalypse.

Inoperable dedicates its back room to collected works by notorieties like Knarf, Miss Van and Roa, and has extended its gallery space to Westbahnstraße 42, where you can appreciate Etam Cru’s friendly reminder of what mushrooms do to your brain.


7., Burgasse 24, Tue. – Fri., 13:00 – 18:00

Sat., 13:00 – 17:00


Untergrund Gallery: Rotating Exhibition

Call in advance and Stefan Moerth, founder, owner, artist and musician will give you a private tour of the basement of the former porcelain factory turned gallery, party, music jam and art session space. The interior has an extra-terrestrial feel to it like a white wormhole. In use for about a year and a half, the space is a breath of fresh air, a haven of creativity. It is not about taking yourself too seriously but appreciating, letting go and playing with ideas. Moerth considers the place a melting pot and not just another collections of walls to channel art. No glossy PR or curator oversees the area, as music and visuals connect and artists are given free reign to be inspired. Exhibiting Brazilian-born Fefe Talevera’s funky monsters, the innovative paintings by architect Johannes Mücke of Wideshot Gmbh, or a wall mural by "a Squid called Sebastian" from the 9,000 Miles Project, the space exudes a wild energy you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Though Vienna tends to host foreigners rather than taking care of its own, Untergrund thrives on the cultural mix it takes to foster a good community. And though Vienna’s cleaning crew may condemn graffiti for dirtying the baroque façades, Untergrund believes in cleaning away emotional dirt. Stefan Moerth says, "It’s not about skill, but expression" and the space is proof that Vienna has its own urban voice. Quoting Oscar Wilde, Moerth says, "Be yourself; everyone else is taken."

Untergrund Gallery

Daily, 13:00 – 21:00

15., Reindorfgasse 18

0660 1666137


Gabriele Senn Galerie: Georg Herold, Bob and Roberta Smith - Prinzip Baustelle Men at Work

Gabriele Senn Galerie has been transformed into a crossroads. Political signage once splattered on the streets has found a home on Schleifmühlgasse, where British leftist artist Patrick Brill, known as Bob and Roberta Smith, exhibits wood assemblages with slogans in funky lettering. Serious and humorous, the bright words burn themselves into your memory.

The mantras proclaim "make art not war", or "George Michael has done more for human rights ...". The art is reminiscent of campaign signs that morph into protest signs or maybe an invisible soapbox. The theme of the exhibition is "I should be in charge" but what he means is "You should be in charge", or that we should engage with our political infrastructure collectively. A small exhibition with take-home messages that the viewer exports to the street.

Gabriele Senn Galerie

Tue. – Fri, 11:00 – 18:00

Sat., 11:00 – 15:00

4., Schleifmühlgasse 1

(01) 585 2580

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