Central Europe’s largest street art festival celebrated it’s fifth anniversary in August. Calle Libre or free street is held throughout the city of Vienna, Austria.
Through it’s artistic interventions, community based workshops, talks, exhibitions and tours Calle Libre aims to remind people that street art is art.
For this years edition the festival organisers invited nine international artists to participate and bring more colour to the streets of Vienna.
Spanish artist Zesar Bahamonte paid homage to Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele with his wall at Ludwig Hirsch Park. The piece titled ‘maestro’ depicts two figures. Schiele himself and one of Klimt´s muses. Next to them Zesar added a guitar as a reference to the late Hirsch, who was a famous Austrian musician.
In the image I represent a male figure, imitating the anatomies of Egon Schiele and a female figure more focused on the style of Klimt anatomy. The two overlap as a metaphor for the relationship between creators and as it is always positive to get together between individuals, these new colors are the metaphor of the new things we discover when we mix with each other.
There is another element, the guitar, as an allegory of creation and harmony, in addition to referring to the District of Karmeliter and its musicians.
Romanian Lost Optics is known for his abstract figurations. During the festival he painted a stairway in the middle of the seventh district. This stairway appeared in various colour patterns and different kinds of depth depending on where stood. His abstract structures make you think of letters deconstructed in the form of geometric shapes. His dynamic components made a non-figurative composition so powerful that even Malevich might have twinkled to.
Edward van longus
Edward tried something different for Calle Libre. His stencil-made black and white characters were left in spaces all over Vienna. The most interesting thing about his works is that they can be transformed to moving images by using an Augmented Reality App. Watching the wall through your smartphone shows you mysterious Estonian personalities who are brought to life. Technology really is taking street art to new levels.
For his first ever work in Austria, Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra celebrated two of his biggest inspirations. Kobra decided to reinterpret the famous photograph of Klimt with his cat, Katze. Kobra added an interesting detail in that the characters are standing on the roofs of Schiele’s famous Krumau – Crescent of Houses (The Small City V).
“Having been invited to paint in Austria, such an important place for the world culture, inspired me to make a reference to two Austrian artists that I greatly admire. Therefore, I planned this connection between both.
Painting in Vienna is like a prize for my career. I am self-taught and started in the outskirts of São Paulo. To be here is to be able to put my art in a space renowned worldwide especially by its artistic expressions”
The Portuguese artist painted a homage to one of Austrias most notorious figures in art history – Egon Schiele. The artist created a colourful interpretation of Egon Schiele´s painting “Am Bauch liegender weiblicher Akt“ from 1917. Kruella also added a Self Portrait of the painter in the top right corner. The left half of the mural shows colourful abstract elements that resemble floral patterns and plants. The right half of the wall shows a dark horizon sprinkled with distant stars. Kruella’s use of contrasting colours and geometric shapes sharpens this collaborative wall referring to the 100th anniversary of the artists death.
“The division half in half is like a duality between my world and Schiele’s world. The female is what Schiele’s wants to reach and grab into his world. Maybe the artist is putting himself in the girls role” – Kruella d´Enfer
Whilst in Vienna Peruvian Jose Urteaga created a series of interventions on the street with stencil and mirrors. The idea of these pieces was to interact with the viewer using simple and direct phrases. The mirrors allowed the ‘viewer’ to see their reflection inside the composition.
The organisers of Calle Libre proposed an interesting idea to Medianeras Murales. The idea for the piece was to respect the graffiti that already existed on the wall. Medianeras agreed and decided to interpret the message of the graffiti artists. The idea was to paint the existing graffiti on a body with outstretched arms, like tattoos over a painted body. This mural represents the idea that graffiti is like the skin of cities. In the middle of the wall are two fingers which could be interpreted as a reference to the world famous “the creation of adam“ fresco painting by Michelangelo in the sistine chapel. Ironically and unfortunately one half of Medianeras broke her finger whilst finishing the mural.
Danish artist Jacoba Niepoort created a mural titled ‘the search for creativity’ for the event. She said about the process:
“This mural is a tribute to the creative process, as well as to the work and inspiration of previous master artists from Vienna. It portrays a woman, overturning rocks, searching for her long lost ‘sons’ of creativity at the bottom of a river. The image is inspired by an old folklore tale (La Llorona) among which one interpretation is the searching for creativity in a river (or soul/body) blocked or muddied by lifes constant internal and external challenges and distractions. One could see the search as part of the never-ending cycle of the creative process. The backdrop to the mural is Koloman Mosers artwork, an artist whom, among others from the vienna secession, died 100 years ago”
The theme of this years event was CINCO (Five) Romanian artist Saddo decided to illustrate the so called Big Five. The main mass extinctions in Earth’s history, through one representative species that found their demise in each of the five events. This mural was Inspired by Saddo having read Elizabeth Kolbert’s ‘The Sixth Extinction’ a few months ago.
The artist implemented sea creatures, the trilobites, the tabulate corals, conodonts and dinosaurs into the mural.