The Praterinsel in Munich, Germany, provided a scenic venue for the sixth annual Stroke Urban Art Fair from Saturday, creating an alluring juxtaposition of man-made and natural beauty. Galleries and street artists congregated for the three day event, and their focus on street and urban art which made for an inspiring mix of contemporary art, graffiti, photography and conceptual pieces.
An atmosphere of paint fumes, spray cans, barbeque and beer made for an experience of street art at its most unapologetic. Over 45 booth and project spaces showcased work by individuals such as Lotte Klaver and Amanda Marie at Andenken Gallery from Holland, gallery work by street artists like Alias, Case and L.E.T., Stephen Tompkins and Satone and paintings by BR1, which addressed topics of perceptions of Muslim women. Artist Francesco Ferante curated discussions surrounding his painting of Osama Bin Laden as Christ, while Italian Gallery Prospettive d’arte from Milan presented TV Boy’s MaoDonald as well as cute penguin paintings and sculptures by Pao.
Stroke explored a variety of disciplines, including graffiti, sculpture, furniture, photography, painting and animation. Artists and collectives such as Blaqk from Greece, Four Plus, Erase and Arsek from Bulgaria, and Sony Animax from Poland amassed a maze of works in each nook, cranny and stairwell of the Isar, Stroke’s central space. An impressive sculpture reminiscent of wood spears found the right place there, as did Star Wars-inspired photography of models in lingerie and character helmets. Large scale street style graffiti was placed next to conceptual and fluorescent-coloured installations.
Interesting also was a project by YMC (Young Munich Creatives), showcasing the photography of the nine winners of a competition held in February. Young artists were asked to submit images interpreting the topic “Munich is a Big Village,” and each photographer , such as Andrea Peipe, explored different shades of the city inspired by personal experiences. The mix of art and an overall vibe of community gave Stroke a unique kind of energy which seemed to stay true to the vibe of street art inside the space of a village art fair, moving the works freely between the walls of demolished buildings and gallery spaces.
Words and images: Heike Wollenweber