Australian street artist Kitt Bennett has taken a very literal interpretation of the term 'street art'. Most of his paintings reside on the flat of the street, sprawling out as if they’re giants fallen from another realm way up high, crashing down to Earth and landing as one huge curiosity for us to explore.
The sheer scale of Bennett’s work is something to behold. Walking on top of one of his works is an experience in and of itself. You can never see the whole thing this way, only the little part that you’re standing on and a sort of warped perspective of what the image actually looks like as a whole. As such, it encourages exploration, igniting our curiosity to decipher the whole thing.
That’s not to say that his works are puzzles, though. Their contents are fairly uniform - usually a human figure, or sometimes a human artefact. They’re things that we recognise, at least, as belonging to us. In that sense, there is no mystery. Where the mystery comes in is understanding exactly what it is you’re looking at, circumnavigating the entirety as you would comb over the early stages of a jigsaw to comprehend its logistics.
Another part of the mystery comes in understanding how Bennett actually does it. Painting as accurately as he does over such vast areas is a novel approach to both understanding art, and also the space it occupies and how that will influence the way people choose to approach it.
Should we just walk around, create a visual topology in our minds of what it is, or seek out the nearest vantage point to try and see these giant people (or things) in their entirety? That’s up to each individual, but either way, the kinetic energy involved in the pieces are undeniable. Each one is frozen in the middle of some kind of movement, a snapshot of a moment that has a story at either side of it.
Fascinated by the grey area between complexity and simplicity, Bennett’s combination of off-the-wall technique, producing works in such an eye-catching scale, and a narrative-led source of subjects, brings an area to life, imbuing the lived urban environment with an undiminished sense that life is always going on - that something around us is happening and that spaces we may otherwise have just walked right through are now somewhere we long to spend time in.
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