During the last week of August 2012, German painter Hendrik Beikirch, created not only a stunning work but an iconic piece that stretches over 70 meters (230 ft.) high and is yet to be considered as Asia’s tallest mural. Located in South Korea‘s second largest city, Busan, this piece showcases a monochromatic mural of a fisherman, set in contrast with the Haeundae I’Park building at the background, constructed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.
The Haeundae I’Park is a residential building and is also a symbol for the rapid development and accumulated wealth in Korea, a poor country not too long ago. The mural that depicts an image of a fisherman represents a significant portion of Korea‘s population that has not been affected by the economic growth and until now, lives under very different circumstances compared to their affluent neighbors.
Responsible for this project is Public Delivery, an organization who has made waves across Asia and Europe through the promotion of contemporary art.
The artwork will be on display for an indefinite period of time.
The mural presents a local fisherman in his 60’s, staring into an intangible space with his face marked with wrinkles, still wearing long plastic gloves – a sign that there are still men and women like him at this age working for a living. This dying profession entails six to seven days of work in a week, under difficult circumstances, while just receiving a minimum amount of financial support, just enough to buy certain needs.
However, despite the story behind the portrait, the painting conveys a positive message seen in the emotion shown by the fisherman. In addition, underneath it, Beikirch added a statement in Korean letters which roughly translate to “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
Beikirch is known for his artworks set in monochromatic and detailed painting and this is no difference. Unlike other artists, he painted this mural without using a projector or a sketch on the wall. This, in its true form, is a masterful performance and a task that requires enormous routine and outstanding precision.
The painting is applied on the building of Busan‘s fisher union. It is located between Korea’s two most famous beaches, Haeundae (해운대해수욕장) and Gwangalli (광안리해수욕장), clearly visible from the latter. Over the past years, both beaches turned into excessive commercial areas and became heavy motors for the city‘s tourism, attracting mostly Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Russian travelers.
The building is also home to a fish market that provides the prosperous inhabitants of Busan, like those living in the Hyundai I’Park building, with Korean style raw fish (hoe, 회), a pricey delicacy that is similar to Japanese sashimi.
Hendrik Beikirch (b. 1974) is a German painter well known for his series of large monochromatic wall paintings that often show portraits of older people, visibly marked by life. In order to create these works, Beikirch secretly takes sketches of strangers whom he encounters on his travels, noticing them for their aura and expression between hope and struggle. This inspired the title of his on-going series “Faces of Hope and Struggle” and runs seamlessly on the canvases of Beikirch, which mostly displays the same frontal view of unfamiliar people.
He deliberately distances himself off from the polished and artificial aesthetic of advertising, which has now occupied major parts in public space.
Beikirch always works with a reduced color palette, and therefore the high recognition factor ensures that viewers now can easily find walls by him all over Europe, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Russia and other countries, all painted in the last 15 years.
This project would not have been possible without the support of The Busan Cultural Foundation, The Arts Council Korea, Busan Metropolitan City, Indie Culture Network AGIT and Suyeong Local Government.
MBC, the oldest and one of the major commercial Korean broadcasting companies, is the main media partner.
Montgomery’s billboards are poetic pieces of text and always using the strong contrasts of a white letters on a black background. He captures spots that are usually occupied by advertising, trying to create a surprising artistic situation.
In total, the project Echoes of Voices in the High Towers, organized by Neue Berliner Räume, will display 23 billboards, two illuminated poem sculptures as well as artistic interventions in several print publications like EXBERLINER, Sleek, Päng!, Um[laut] and others, as well as an exhibition of his drawings.
Echoes of Voices in the High Towers runs until October 2012.
> read more about the interesting anonymous publications / interventions of the project and the historic context here
The Hong Kong 1 July protests are a surprising sight on the often chaotic stress. This day marks the transfer of Hong Kong from the United Kingtom to China (PRC) and being a public holiday it was originally thought to be a day of celebration. However, now it is mostly known for hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets who protest for democracy, universal suffrage and a variety of other political concerns. This annual protest rally started in 1997, the year of the handover, and in 2003 brought out as much as 500.000 Hong Kongers. Only the protest in May 1989 in favor of the participants of the Tiananmen Square protests was bigger with 1.5 million participants.
This year 400.000 other citizens took part in the protest, among them Kacey Wong, one of Hong Kong’s most exciting artists. He paraded the streets, using a pink tank made out of cardboard. His artwork called The Real Culture Bureau and the Real Culture Bureau director aims to reflect the changing political and cultural situation of Hong Kong and to portray a corrupted government official which for the artist embodies money and violence often seen in mainland China. Kacey Wong threw fake money ($100 million dollars bill, see below) to real politicians and other real local political parties to prevent them for putting up resistance against the Pink Party and demanded harmonious silence from them.
(photos: Laway Law and others)
Brooklyn based artist Tom Fruin (1974) just installed Watertower, a large sculpture made by scavenged, reclaimed, and recycled plexiglas and steel. It is installed high upon a water tower platform in Brooklyn, NYC and part of his Icon series, that consists of sculptural tributes to architectural icons around the world.
About one thousand scrap pieces of plexiglas were used, often reclaimed and discarded material, some of it coming from Chinatown sign shops or closed artist studios in Brooklyn. Since the opening in June there are daily light shows beginning at dusk and continuing to morning, using light sequences designed by Ryan Holsopple. Watertower will be installed until June 2013.
6x3x3m, found plexiglas, steel, bolts
On the rooftop of 20 Jay Street and viewable from the parks and streets of Dumbo, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, FDR Drive and Lower Manhattan.
Prime viewing locations
Brooklyn Bridge Park at Washington Street (map) and the Manhattan Bridge bike path.
ECB Hendrik Beikirch in front of his blank canvas
Public Delivery is proudly presenting the tallest non-commercial painting ever made in Korea, applied by ECB Hendrik Beikirch, stretching over 70m. The artwork is located in Busan, the second largest city, between Korea’s two most famous beaches, Gwangalli (광안리해수욕장) and Haeundae (해운대해수욕장).
The project is kindly supported by the Busan Cultural Foundation, the Arts Council Korea, Busan Metropolitan City and Suyeong Local Government. We are glad to have MBC, the oldest and one of the major commercial broadcasting companies, as our media partner.