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23. 9. 2011 - 30. 10. 2011

The Chemistry Gallery has the pleasure of inviting you for a long-awaited solo exhibition of one of the main figures of Czech streetart/graffiti scene - Pasta Oner. Exhibition named Peep Show will introduce new paintings and objects of this artist who is renowned for his pop art style.

Pasta Oner (*1979)

While for his peers from the generation of old-school writers, street art meant only a short trendy detour from which they soon returned to graffiti, Pasta built a first-class highway for himself from this originally side road. Graffiti, which occupies a place alongside the well-deserved classics of the style, has never completely given up, but street art in its pop openness still resonates better with its extroverted foundation, rationality, care and attention to detail. Moreover, by the time he created the first, now iconic, winged toothpaste design in 2001, he had been in graffiti for eight years, long enough for the whole familiar and tightly bounded environment to start to feel a bit tight for him.

The large-scale facade paintings and screen-printed posters that regularly flood the streets of Prague since the turn of the century adhere to a distinct, easily recognizable style in which, in addition to inspiration from Warhol, Oldenburg, Koons or the most influential Japanese visual artist of today, Takashi Murakami, we always find a fascination with advertising. However, he leaves the engaged struggle against her psychological power and stupidity to others, he himself is far too educated, rational and – let's face it – cool for that. His comments in the form of typographically precisely executed slogans do not force the viewer to guilty self-reflection on the consumerist way of life, rather they have a non-committal conversation with him. Combining text and image in fine art is nothing new, but the way Pasta does it is fresh and fun. At least in how accurately he describes the status quo of today's thirtysomething with his "claims", pragmatic enough not to put out what doesn't burn him, but at the same time still young and romantic enough not to try here and there... even if it's just a joke casually tossed around at a party. From this point of view, we can characterize his works as truly generational and worthy of attention, regardless of their aesthetic quality in the combination of pure style with a subtly ironic celebration of kitsch.

Even in his latest work, as he presents it to us at the Peep Show exhibition, Pasta still draws on street art, which, incidentally, already refers to in the title - after all, what is street art and a peep show other than fast street entertainment for anonymous passers-by? – this time, however, with a more noticeable leaning towards classical painting. Like many writers and street artists before him (from Haring to Obey to Banksy), Pasta always had the ambition to come to terms with the gallery environment, explore it and find his own way to it. The result, in the form of new, sometimes even realistically conceived images, is promising. They lack none of their former brash directness, but at the same time they fit into contemporary established art as naturally as if they had always belonged there.

text: Martina Overstreet

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