The thing about Israeli street art is that it has no history. Like the country, it's brand new. There are no great traditions or maestros, which on the one hand gives a blank canvas, and on the other leaves the 'discipline' open to a great deal of western influence at a time when many people are arguably over the whole street art thing. What Israel does have however is a wealth of angst to express. The fact that this particular collective enjoys the support of the British Council, the Israeli Embassy and the Ministry of Culture & Sport in Israel made us wonder if we'd actually get to see any of those geographically teenage tantrums, or whether this would be a polished PR attempt at showing us how cool the Middle East can be. We sent Natalie Ashett along to find out becasue she's immune to PR.
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The scrubby back streets of Shoreditch was an apt place to set up another ‘street art’ exhibition. It’s home to many an illicit wall scribble.
Crazy Eye Hotel, set up in one of the units old The Old Truman Brewery was brought to London all the way from Israel. The Broken Fingaz Crew rattled their spray cans and wooden boxes all the way from Haifa to give us London folk a series of what I suspect was supposed to be hard hitting work. The results, for me, were rather less meaty.
On some levels, there were some redeeming points. Some of the techniques used were veritably impressive. There were newspaper nudes subtly entwined into the background of more hard-hitting front line work, more suited to a comic book. Again throughout the great structure of The Pervert’s Paradise, an assortment of wooden boxes and paintings, the pervert parts were discreetly hidden away between gap-toothed monsters. It seemed that only someone with a trained eye, or in my case a pre-empted ability to zone in on sexual images, would notice the boobs and bums. Very Clever.
Israel is a country with plenty of recent history which is gritty, bloody and politically charged. As someone who is enthralled with anything that has a mildly Israeli/Palestinian type swing, I probably went along to Crazy Eye Hotel with a misconception that I would be presented with a tale of two turbulent countries. The artists involved in The Broken Fingaz Crew obviously have a passion for something but I just couldn’t put my finger on exactly what that is.
Crazy Eye Hotel is running at Shop 13, The Old Truman Brewery, E1 6QR
From Friday, April 20th, 2012 — Sunday, April 29th, 2012