Walls, Trains and Vagabonds


            by Alessandra Ioalé


If Accomplices Across Borders reflects on the meaning and the realization of the concept of „crossing the borders“, the protagonists of Walls, Trains & Vagabonds are the embodiment or essence of this concept itself. They are not only young artists, they are urban artists. The field of action of their art is the environment. Their works are grafted in a different context every time. We are facing liquid artistic personalities, capable of flowing among the linguistic, cultural and spatial barriers; Multidisciplinary personalities depending on the experience lived in a particular environment / space by realizing wall painting and pictorial actions in relation to the environment that hosts them. Experimenting with different techniques and materials such as collage, photography, spray, stencil, wood, paper, and even waste materials found locally, mixing everything in favour of the message –  being committed, critical, provocative or simply the expression of the rising sensitivity in contact with the environment. There are three examples of how they can „break down walls“ by painting others.


German artist Jens Besser, active in writing and street art, has for over ten years focused on the realization of wall painting in public spaces. For his subjects draw directly from his writing experience. We see train and subway cars on very dark surfaces whose target is unknown. No matter where they go, what matters is their being here and now. Their presence is not their direction. Their presence on the wall becomes a symbol, an icon of the medium that connects. Travelling icons. These subjects overlap each time with a simple system of points and lines, exchanging them with graphical representations of constellations, reinforcing, amplifying and enhancing the primary iconographic concept. They therefore assume different levels of meaning, which revolve around the theme of the „connection“ by experimenting and mixing different techniques such as collage, photography, stencil and spray paint.


Similarly, the young Polish artist Blazej Rusin has a past in graffiti writing. Today, his art stands out as gestural and instinctive painting born from encounter with the place where he is going to intervene and with which he always enters into a dialogue thanks to a sharp sensitivity. A language of signs and abstract shapes that bind to each other by following an instinctive, creative motion. His  work is an expression of artistic individuality that seeks to stimulate the audience at a perceptive and emotional level and talks directly to the people who are in front of the works. Interaction with space. The latter therefore becomes an integral part of the work.


Wanderlust Social Club is a Belgian-French artistic duo formed by Jiem and Mary Limonade. Though they have an important experience in writing, there is a clear and genuine expression of  street art in their collaborative projects through a well-structured and simple figurative repertoire: Jiem’s different types of characters and slogans contrast with Mary’s urban, synthesized landscapes in their graphic profiles. Furthermore, they employ a style of lettering  which is not only  auto-referential but also acts as a communicative message whose meaning is inherent in the very name of the collective: wandering. The thematic and stylistic features combine and collaborate on the wall to convey their desire to travel and their instinct of freedom towards the communities of people with whom the two artists come in contact during their journeys.


The artists of Walls, Train & Vagabonds are united by a past –  still present –  spent in writing; By adding critical and expressive force, it is transformed into street art. Today they realize wall paintings and develop in parallel their own artistic research in the studio, which has less to do with the critical commitment and more with a will of creative expression. These artists unite an ability to cross borders, a key feature of a discipline such as writing and leading into artistic movements such as street art, urban art, wall painting and figurative and abstract post-graffiti art. An attitude to overrun, to cross, is what brings them from town to town, from country to country, leaving traces of their passing on urban skin or any other element that is part of urban furnishings. By developing the ability (or having it already innate) to interact with the ever-changing urban environment, they engage in a new dialogue. Ordering a plot of relationships with architectures, with urban elements, but also with communities, people who inhabit such spaces. Their urban practice leads them to cross cultural and social frontiers, demonstrating their artistic sensibility And the works are the fruit, the sign of this crossing. For these artists, the daily endeavour of their art is not defined within  spatial and geographical boundaries, but in the act of crossing them and breaking them down if necessary with their art. The only limits I see are those of abstract forms of Rusin, born from an instinctive gesture driven by immediate feelings, or are the outlines of Jens‘, Jiem’s and Mary’s characters and letters.

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