Melbourne is in constant evolution with the gentrification of iconic suburbs spreading further and deeper in response to market demand. Kirpy’s latest exhibition critiques this process, asking ‘what is at stake’ and ‘what is left behind’. Empty buildings, whose tenants were pushed out by property prices, their windows pasted up with layers of old decaying posters – Kirpy documents the way that gentrification eats away at the unique culture of Melbourne’s streets. If Melbourne is known for its rich culture and the buildings that play host to it, is the architecture of gentrification unravelling Melbourne’s archetypes?
‘Kunst’ is the first solo exhibition in Melbourne from stencil artist Kirpy since he has spent the past 12 months living and painting in Berlin, drawing inspiration from a city rich in both character and history.
Whilst Kirpy has been abroad he has worked tirelessly plying his craft and experimenting with new techniques to further evolve his skills, continuing to impress with his unique blend of mediums culminating into an honest and detailed portrait of urban life. Whether it be images of streetscapes and architecture or of strangers walking by, Kirpy manages to perfectly capture the very essence of his subject through intricate detail on a wide array of canvases. Kirpy is pushing the boundaries of what we know and expect from stencil art by producing photorealistic pieces that challenge the audience into understanding the methods behind its production.
An all new body of work, ‘Kunst’ is an authentic and truthful depiction of the city of Berlin and the impression it has left on the artist. The exhibition captures the unique aesthetics of a city so rich in history, with a strong reference to the massive Cultural Revolution that occurred in Berlin in the early 1990’s after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
‘Raw Cuts’ 2014
Melbourne stencil artist ‘Kirpy’, has transported his industrial and street art concepts into a gallery context, whilst holding onto his originality, and standing out without destroying the connection of the artist’s original habitat or their contemporary attitudes of the world today.
Kirpy has created an insight of the youthful viewpoint of creative urban life today! ‘Raw Cuts’ is a collection of work made by stencils and printed on printmaking paper and cardboard, depicting imagery from the Melbourne street scene, to that of Berlin, New York and San Francisco. Using raw materials such as these, Kirpy creates an authenticity to the term ‘Raw Cuts’. ‘The work holds a relatively raw element, whether it’s in the subject matter or painting technique’ Kirpy explains.
As stenciling is a very versatile medium to work with, Kirpy has transferred from the original adolescent canvas of the streets of Melbourne, to a more mature 3×3 meter mural over multiple, unfolded cardboard boxes, with highly detailed hand cut multi-layered stencils painted with spray paint. It’s the technique that allows the blurring and mixture of mediums from printmaking, photography and painting, and Kirpy has created a benchmark for young contemporary printmakers to watch.
Kirpy’s original street platform is unfamiliar to Port Jackson Press Printmakers, but as we move with modern times, PJP is embracing contemporary artists like Kirpy, who are redefining the older age printing techniques, with a modern edge and multiple disciplines, techniques and subject matter that reflects our current world today.