Books in the MCL: Jürgen Große, URBAN ART PHOTOGRAPHY, 2008

  • by BLITZ EN

Today, Berlin is considered a world metropolis for graffiti, street art and urban art. While the late 1980s saw the end of the golden era in the graffiti mecca of New York, the fall of the Berlin Wall ushered in a new era in Europe. Less than ten years after motifs modeled primarily on those from overseas began to dominate the cityscape in Berlin, a new, related phenomenon began to take root. Witness and observer of the emerging Urban Art is Jürgen Große, who at that time has already been photographing art in public space for two decades. In addition to adbusting, sculptural works and often randomly appearing curiosities, he also documents the use of new stylistic tools such as stencils, stickers, posters and, above all, paint. These tools alter the formal language of the paintings, allowing them to be painted in previously inaccessible places and sometimes on a monumental scale.

The playing field of actors such as NOMAD, SWOON, BANKSY or Brad Downey are primarily the eastern districts of the capital, which offer more publicly accessible open spaces. But Große also explores construction sites, vacant buildings, “hidden places” and backyards, which are increasingly equal canvases for the work of AKIM, 6, SPAIR, ZAST, KRIPOE, LOST SOUL and IDEE. Meticulous location, month and year are added to each shot, so that even today a before and after comparison is possible.

Urban Art Photography is a unique documentation that accompanies the beginnings of an art form that is shaping the face of the city today as never before. Jürgen Große’s imagery not only captures the works, but also always depicts the context of the urban space. This contemporary testimony allows a view of a Berlin of the 2000s that, like most of the works, no longer exists today.

Photos: Steffen Köhler     Text: Sascha Blasche

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