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23.10.2021 – 21.11.2021

During two spring days of 1959 in New York, American jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis, along with the six most acclaimed hard-bop musicians of his time, recorded the legendary album, Kind of Blue, the most influential and successful jazz record of all time, which changed music history. The visual artists Zeb One and Marek Šilpoch borrowed the name for their joint project, not only because their works are more or less connected with music, but also for other reasons. One of the reasons is the fact that there is a shade of blue in each of Zeb One's paintings, but that's not all. The fact that in their case it is not an exhibition composed of two independent lines, which "only" intertwine with the gallery, but a project in which one piece tries to respond directly to the other. Hyperbolically, it is closer to the improvisation of the base theme of jazz players of that time. This applies also to graffiti. 


Zeb One (1982) is still a respected writer who appeared on the graffz scene in the 1990s. He also co-founded the award-winning TOP crew, which was most active after the turn of the millennium, when it visually conquered the city with unprecedented energy. His pieces were not only seen very often but also in extreme places, for which he earned more respect. It was also exceptional in that it drew attention back to the streets and dominated with its force of shapes. His deviation from color and emphasis on black and chrome, visibly distinguished him from most sprayers of his generation, who favored  strong polychromatic shapes and experimentation. Although Zeb One still works outside after all of these years, it is now mostly under the banner of art festivals or prestigious galleries, such as in the case of the recent furnace in Prague's Nové Butovice, which was arranged by the GHMP. Over time, he has established himself primarily as a painter. He followed the language of geometric abstraction, but his work remained consistent because it came from the line that the Amsterdam school brought to graffiti, and the theme also remained the same as on the street - fonts. 


Marek Šilpoch (1992), on the other hand, was never one of the writers, but graffiti as part of the city's visual culture has always attracted him. He was, however, closer to the electronic music and clubbing scene. He is also associated with sprayers due to his intense interest in writing, specifically graphic design, which he devoted himself to together with the principles of visual communication during his studies at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts, in Rony Plesl's glass studio. His intermediate approach corresponds to the breadth of his scope. For several years now, his work has been characterized by prefabricated lighting objects and installations with an emphasis on an industrial look. On one hand, there is a clean purity of shapes, on the other hand, dystopia and an almost cyberpunk aesthetic and unprecedented composition in the DIY style. A well-thought-out design concept is mixed with intuition, and methods based on controlled chance and spontaneous interventions. He treats light like a color, which, however, he does not avoid and uses it in an action-like way - prints, drips, slashes. He has a weakness for neon lights and old industrial components, be it light sticks, fluorescent tubes, or factory furniture elements. The combination of these elements serves not only to effectively shape his work but, above all, to emotionally transform reality and its experience. 


It is said that one of the most eloquent ways to draw attention to a word is to constantly avoid it, to omit it, to use very obvious descriptions, synonyms, and metaphors. In a way, something similar is happening in the gallery space, because there are no classic pieces in any form. With a new series of precisely constructed compositions, Zeb One brings to the exhibition a pictorial way of thinking about writing as an abstract sign with trace elements of meaning, which deals with its anatomic defragmentation. Marek Šilpoch's work, on the other hand, recalls the drive, gesticulation, and direct requests, typical for tagging, like the sound of rat infestations, old factories with their peripheral nooks and crannies, and knowledge that graffiti is, among other things, guerrilla movement through the city. Together, through their mutual interaction they get closer to some layers of this visual sketching, which, despite its origin, has exceeded expectation. With methods bordering between precision and improvisation the result mirrors graffiti - style, echo, resonance, and energy. Flashbacks of dissected letters and street trash are reminiscent of distant jazz... 


text: Radek Wohlmuth 

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