Given its origins in illegal activity, non-conformism and interest in political and social action, street art has always had a fraught relationship with the art world. Fighting its way from unsanctioned murals into high-demand art works, street art installations do both – express the author’s social stand and help the viewer find extraordinary in mundane things.
Aakash Nihalani is a unique New York-based artist known for his 3D geometric illusions made with fluorescent tape. Nihalani places his graphics around New York City in a selective way, intending them to highlight aspects of the city itself: he uses buildings, sideways, and doorways among other objects as a vehicle to deliver his art’s message.
Using simple geometric shapes on two-dimensional surfaces, Nihalani shows the viewer how depth, perspective and color can transform an ordinary space into a living canvas. The repetition of isometric squares and rectangles conveys such complexities as movement and space by something so simple as the placement of a line.
What makes Nihalani’s bold graphics so appealing is the intentional interplay between the conventional shapes he utilizes and the unconventional means of portraying them to his audience. He even incorporates live models as an additional element into his artworks.
Barcelona-based art collective Reskate Studio creates site-specific glow-in-the-dark murals in various cities around the globe. With the help of community art centers, the team finds an appropriate message on local issues to spark conversation between the audience and the artwork. The message is then coded into a hidden lustration painted with a photo-luminescent medium that is only seen at night. According to the studio, through the use of lights, the observer becomes an active participant; interacting with the work and creating its response to those actions.
Their work Connectivity, located at a public parking lot in Shenzhen, China, features a pattern of rope knots to question the role of the social network. Hidden is the image of koi fish as a homage to the times when the community was a small fishing village, and not yet the flagship of the mobile phone industry, and when social networking was not so prevalent.
Domestication mural in Vienna, Austria, is dedicated to the community’s native dog breed, tiroler bracke, that has always been taken advantage of by humans throughout history. The silhouette of the hound known for its natural predatory instinct to hunt wild foxes hides an image of two foxes fighting one another.
The Peace of Belmonte painted in the eponymous town in Portugal symbolizes the respect and tolerance of the local residents to the Jewish community who lived in hiding during five centuries of the Portuguese inquisition.
Spanish art collective Cúmul has created a street art installation ONA, aiming to address the issue of used tires around the world. Around 80 tires were rescued from Seseña tire cemetery located between Toledo and Madrid. This black artificial landscape resembles a hopeless sea of used rubber parts.
Made with the tires from the cemetery in order to give a new sense to these lifeless objects, the ONA installation also resembles a wave. Originating out of the sea of tires, it creates new urban aesthetic experiences and generates new social spaces and interactions.