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Axel Void - Like You Mean It

Words:

Edd Norval
October 15, 2018

The results of having eclectic ancestry and upbringings usually manifest in either one of two ways when translated to art. Either all of the influences are worn on the sleeve of the artist, or they're largely forsaken and instead, our differences art depicted in a less pronounced manner than our similarities. Void falls into the latter, painting a oneness of the universal human spirit.

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Void's right-of-passage into creating art was fairly standard. A young boy blown away by the graffiti that valiantly adorned the walls of his city. His entry into the world, and subsequent growth, was however less standard. Born Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mevs in Miami to a Spanish father and Haitian mother he spent his formative years in Spanish Andalusia.


The influences of European street art and culture is clear in Void's work. His deeply emotive voyage through human expression isn't easily categorised as he meanders through mediums like muralism, sculpture and mixed-media. The bottom line, his defining trait, must be seen as his interest in the portrayal of sense of identity, or people's complex lack thereof. Considering his multifaceted entry into the world, it should come as no surprise that such a theme has come to predominate his work.


Studying at contemporary art and fine art institutions in southern Spain's Cádiz, Void began to develop an interest in classical forms of art. His daily observations of the idyllic life present in this part of the world began to coalesce with his deeper philosophical thoughts on art and its ideas. It was at this meeting point between the two that his identity began to materialise into a recognisable artistic style.

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The numerous mediums act as a means to decode the psychological layers that shroud the human mind - influencing our thoughts and behaviours. He often works with dark hues, immersing the audience in the internal monologues of his subjects, mirroring the outside world like pathetic fallacy. Lining the streets is the work of an artist similar to a 21st century Caravaggio.


The pieces often come combined with statements in an interesting typography, not too dissimilar from the aggressive political type associated with Brazil's pichação graffiti subculture. That he has chosen to use these letterings is highly suggestive of his awareness of the style and his knowledge that its idealistic tendrils are far-reaching in Brazilian society.


His work, both in muralism and elsewhere, when combined with these statements, become more overtly political than when they stand alone. Alone they are more in-keeping with the artistic forefathers of his style - Bacon, Freud, Goya and Caravaggio. With the slogans, it feels more contemporary, more urban, more accessible and more immediate.

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Axel Void has chosen to directly engage with everyday life, creating a collaborative exhibition in 2013 with fellow artist JAZ. In it, they took news from daily Argentine newspapers and allowed the messages, and spectrum of coverage, to inform their depiction of the themes contained within. The 'Mediocre' exhibition contained a pseudonymous piece that encapsulates their concept.


He continues to engage with real-life happenings, creating a sort of response to news in a way that is more thought through than the media reports of the incident or event. In Oaxaca, Mexico, an immigrant worker was assaulted hopping freight trains. Void chose to represent him by painting an unconscious man lying on the ground, covering one whole facade of a carriage. 'Nada' was created in an abandoned train-yard, similarly reflecting the abandonment suffered by the nameless, faceless people that provide the labour for our daily lives.


With more conceptual works like 'Gray', Void has continued to develop and innovative in his understanding and portrayal of contemporary life. His deep musings on the contexts of life, for both human being's internal operations and operations within a series of external systems, sets Void apart as one of the most thorough and unorthodox names in contemporary urban art. His willingness to experiment with form, colour and concept is testament to his adaptability and willingness to evolve as an artist.

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