Phlegm: Street Art and Beasts

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Recently, I went to one of my favourite London based street artist’s exhibition at the new Howard Griffin GalleryPhlegm.

As the introduction of his exhibition says,

For The Bestiary, Phlegm creates a modern bestiary within his own universe through an immersive and large scale installation in wood, clay and plaster.  Here Phlegm presents a taxonomic categorisation of his creatures and collects them in one place for the first time. Within the expansive sections of the installation, and working in bas and high relief, Phlegm displays a series of works akin to the Lascaux cave paintings. Inspired by the bestiarys of old, these works contain untold fables and narratives.

Phlegm narrations have a strong impact. Showing how his long limbed half-human, half-woodland creatures are trapping,  hunting and killing imaginary beautiful creatures to collect and sell them, the artist lets us think not only about our relations with nature, but also about our interaction with street art. When we enter, the first “creatures” we see contained in vases are the creations of other street artists, from Banksy to Citizen Kane, Ron English, Dscreet, ROA, Cristiaan Nagel and Sweet Tooth. It reminded me that, as many others, I love to hunt street art works, to discover them, to trap them with my modern devices and to show and sell them, at the price of a like, on the contemporary image markets that are Pinterest, Facebook and, even more, Instagram.

The exhibition left me with a question: are we, with our new or old passion for street art, destroying a cultural habitat with its species and identity just to collect and share them on social media?

However, as it often happens, I am still looking for an answer.

Here some beautiful pictures of Phlegm’s stunning works

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