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BEOGRAD

450 x 300 cm

One of the most popular pieces in the last couple of years seems to be, for a very obvious reason, the one that says ‘Belgrade’. It was made in September of 2018 during The United Colours of Belgrade/Warm-Up event that was organized by the Paint Kartel and was supported by members of the Street Smart collective (some of whom founded the Rekonstrukcija Festival). The Paint Kartel is a group of graffiti writers who all have decades of experience in producing art in the streets. They wanted to initiate a series of projects that could allow them to organize the events in the way they found suitable, and that could potentially change the way locals look at graffiti and street art. Five pieces were painted in Višnjićeva Street and the famous ‘Welcome to Belgrade’ was made by the Paint Kartel. This piece is imagined almost like a commercial, where a light blue background holds simple block letters that welcome you to Belgrade. But what makes it so loved is the fact that the letters contain almost the full story of what makes this city so lovable. If one stands on an exact spot on Branko’s Bridge, one will see buildings on the right-hand side that represent the old Belgrade, the tramway passing under the bridge and, on the other bank, there will be New Belgrade. This spot on Branko’s Bridge is the exact spot they used in their artwork. With a bit of artistic freedom, Paint Kartel organized the seminal modernist buildings from New Belgrade in this picture in order to get the full effect. In the middle, one can see a guy with a beer and a dog, and there you have it all – the old, the new, the fun, nature and friendship – Belgrade. The Belgrade piece has an intriguing blend of what is considered to be graffiti and what is street art. If we look back at the previous Level, we can see what is understood to be the essential graffiti. This art form is more than fifty years old and it has changed, developed, been influenced by different art forms, and exerted some influence itself. It is all but natural that it is not an easy task to define what graffiti writing is today but, just for the sake of argument, we could say that graffiti are made for other graffiti writers who value, above all, a unique style and impeccable technique, the focal point is the letters and, if there are some designs or characters attached to it, they are of secondary importance. But contemporary graffiti do not necessarily fulfil all the requirements, which could be considered more as guidelines than word of law. Hiding the classical illustrations within the letters illustrates just this point. This is what could put this piece in the category of street art as well since good ideas and figurative representations are more common and are more appreciated by the general audience.

Street Art Belgrade

TAKE 3

Loving Street Art Belgrade

While there is no substitute for looking at graffiti and street art in real life, it has become evident in recent years that new technologies can add an extra dimension to these art forms. At the end of 1990s, graffiti culture had already recognized the potential of the world wide web as a platform for this global movement to intertwine and cement its reign in urban settlements. One of the pioneering web sites, ArtCrimes.com, served as a gallery where one could see the artworks from all over the world. So, in the beginning, it was the culture itself that recognized the potential of what the digital revolution could bring. Since the mid-2000s and following the rise of street art, it has become obvious that not only graffiti culture and, consequently, street art, have had the need to document and share art on the streets, but that this has also become a favourite activity of those frequenting social networks. Next to cute cats, food porn and selfies, sharing photos of graffiti and street art has become extremely popular. However sociologists or psychologists interpret this phenomenon, it shows one thing clearly – people do notice and enjoy graffiti and street art. In this exhibition, let us explore the world of the digital content and a selection of the most popular artworks among social network users. One could ask why would this selection be relevant to the art world and what can this curatorial approach bring to the viewers? Well, the answer is simple – we wish to see if the audience picks just random ‘pretty’ things or whether there are more significant processes going on. Therefore, we are going to take the photos with the biggest number of views and likes on our organisations social media and organise them in groups so that they can be put in context and analysed. The outcome will be clear at the end of this virtual presentation. So, take one Level at a time, take the ‘wisdom potions’ on each Level and at the end of the exhibition you will have gained the ‘ultimate knowledge’. Enjoy!

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