I’ve always had an ambiguous and uneasy relationship with street art cum graffiti. My emotions range from rage for it’s destructive and threatening karma in public spaces to mild acknowledgment for transforming many urban wastelands into an expressive canvas. I was somewhat torn about visiting DGI-byen’s latest and ambitious photo exhibition, SURFACE, but I’m glad I did. The exhibition is an impressive collection of over 140 photographs by the renowned Danish photographer, Søren Solkær. It is not just the volume of work that impresses, but Søren’s persistence in tracking down the “night owls” or “writers” behind these portraits. The photographer devoted 3 years tracking his subjects down, like a detective on a global crime scene and convincing these normally evasive souls to pose with their works. However, the SURFACE project is foremost about a talented photographer capturing tendencies on the international street art scene.
Øksnehallen, is an excellent venue for the exhibition space, as it’s sheer volume allows each piece to express themselves. The SURFACE project is not only confined to Øksnehallen. 6 international artists have taken OUTDOOR SURFACE to the streets of Vesterbro, which has generously made available 6 gables for the project with financial support from the City of Copenhagen. The street artist, Dal East’s project in Oehlenschlægersgade 76 and ROA’s mural in Gasværksvej 34 deserve a special mention for their sheer technical and artistic expertise.
I left both SURFACE and OUTDOOR SURFACE more enlightened. Whether I left my reservations about street art in Vesterbro, remains to be seen. However, Søren Solkær’s project is a wonderful tapestry, highlighting a sub-culture thriving on a global scale.
Experience SURFACE and OUTDOOR SURFACE from the 13th. June – 29th. July.