The exhibition Public Domain is dedicated to street painters and the visual image each has chosen to represent them. It is about artists and the figure of the artist. The integration of the figures in the exhibition comes from the wish to see the artist's figure through the eyes of the viewer. The communication with the audience is a tool for seeing the work, and the exhibition lets us reflect on the figure and its creator. The environment inspires the image or figure, and the work's execution derives from it and the conditions of the location. The images – the artist's identifying mark – tell a story, whether taken from mythology or reality. The viewer, facing the work, conducts a dialog with the figure about his feelings and sensations.
The images are not necessarily human, and the story they tell goes beyond the figure and the place. Some artists have chosen mysterious, mythical figures, such as Dory Su (Sugar Minkx), who painted on the museum’s wall a fox sleeping on a bed of soothing colors, with a third eye. Some have chosen contemporary human figures, like Dudi Shoval (One Love), who painted the Israeli NBA player Deni Avdija. For him, the basketball player symbolizes discipline and commitment. The background is colorful, with lots of joyous
leaves, which, for the artist, represent the blossoming and development of sports culture in Israel. Others preferred to put a smile on the viewer’s lips with humorous figures and amusing messages. That is what Rami Meiri has done in recreating his famous mural, “the Scream,” which until recently had decorated a major intersection in Tel Aviv. Other artists picked the subject of the painter at work: the image of the painter facing the graffiti, holding the spray paint and the marker. So did Ruben Karapetyan (#TAG) and
Guy Bloom (Dioz), each in his unique style.
However, each figure, whether serious or humorous, tells a story: a story about loneliness or art, a story with a note of criticism, and in particular, a story related to the street.
For the artists, the street is both the platform and the means of delivering the message. The techniques are varied: graffiti, spraying, pasting, and cutting out figures. The choice of street art as a medium merges with the artists’ platform. This is not just about impressive murals. For instance, Daniel Liss (MONKEY RMG) painted a large red head on big metal doors. Some painted on wardrobes found in the street, like Guy Kaplan (ARTEZACHEN), who had used a wooden dresser as his platform, or other artists who painted on the large protective netting that covers construction sites. Street artists live and work within the city’s life, intimately connected to urbanity and what it has to offer.
Avi Tal (Spine B7), who represents Beer Sheva with genius and pride in this exhibition (and this is even expressed in his street name), combines different techniques and languages in his work. The technique of is based on spray only. He writes graffiti (rating) alongside realistic street art. A combination of the different languages is rare among street artists who usually specialize in graffiti writing or street art – few master both languages in such a creative, precise and interesting way. In the work that opens the exhibition, Spine B7 added embossing to his work – he attaches embossed parts to the wall as another element that emerges from the wall and the painting – the embossing makes the work formal, striking, three-dimensional and attention-grabbing. Avi Tal even broke a Guinness record, when he painted the longest graffiti wall in the world: a mural measuring 2,048 meters and over 2,300 spray cans
A special corner in the exhibition is dedicated to the late street artist Damian Tab (originally Tabak), who passed away in April, 2022, after struggling with cancer. Damian Tab was a 3-D animator by profession, and his figures, both in the public space and in the museum, are in constant motion. They open up to us, breaking apart and coming together again. The figures in most of his works are very dynamic, as if frozen in mid-motion.
Street art, as its title indicates, occurs mainly in the street. The artist expresses political and social criticism through it while protecting his identity with a false name, a stage name. Graffiti art was once perceived as vandalism, and the artists were considered outlaws. Today, however, they have been given a place, and their work is recognized as legitimate art. The decision to bring street artists into the museum, where attention is given to detail, and the display conditions are optimal, reveals their true identity. Now, with their real names displayed along with the street names, they receive the recognition they deserve, which has been denied them until now.
Graffiti and street art are free entry tickets into a global exhibition, ever-changing, growing, developing. Street art creates and sets in motion an artistic dialog between passersby and the city’s architecture and urban life. Sometimes street art disrupts and injures, chiseling its presence on the walls. Sometimes it awakens the public wall, allowing us a colorful, exciting peek into the artist’s private world, as well as ours as spectators. In both cases, immediate communication is created between the viewers and the message imprinted on the wall for them.
Exhibition Curator: Nirit Dahan
Curatorial consultation: Dror Hadadi, graffiti and street art blogger
Exhibition Curator: Nirit Dahan
Curatorial consultation: Dror Hadadi
Guy Bloom - DIOZ
Alon Giat - AG
Guy Kaplan - ARTEZACHEN
Ruben Karapetyan - #TAG
Daniel Liss - MONKEY RMG
Keren Missk - THE MISSK?
Igor Revelis - KLONE
Avi Tal - SPINE B7
Erez Sameach - EREZOO
Ziv Sameach - zivink
Andrew Schetter - ZERO CENTS
Dudi Shoval -ONE LOVE
Julia Shtengelov - IMAGINARY DUCK
Dory Su - SUGAR MINKX
Addam Yekutieli - KNOW HOPE
Be'er Sheva Municipality
Ministry of Culture and Sport