Building Bridges and Tearing Down Walls: m | u | c | a On Tour Brings Street Art to Munich
m | u | c | a, the aptly named Munich Urban and Contemporary Art gallery, is hell-bent on invigorating Munich’s sleepier corners by bringing art into its public spaces. The gallery has launched a new initiative, titled m | u | c | a On Tour, to promote site-specific interventions throughout the city. The program was inaugurated in May at the Tollwood Sommerfestival, where m | u | c | a invited 10 artists to create works in front of a live audience, and continues now with two projects in strikingly different locations.
Earlier this month, m | u | c | a, in collaboration with the borough of Gießing brought art to a city bridge in an intervention called “STATION 2: ‘Brücken Schlagen’ (Building Bridges).” Four street artists—CASE, the duo Herakut, and L.E.T—were invited to create works on the bridge underpass at Candidplatz. The underpass’s tall, wide columns provided broad swathes of concrete on which the artists experimented with compositions that emphasize height and verticality. Herakut’s elongated figures of a young boy with a suitcase and a girl holding hands accompanied by the words “…as long as we are together…” stand alongside L.E.T’s image of a child reaching for stars that extend from the column onto the underpass above. For his part, CASE has created an iteration of his signature image: a hand making a peace sign superimposed over a clenched fist (or vice versa depending on which side of the underpass you are standing under). CASE’s clenched fist/peace sign first achieved wide recognition in 2011, when he traveled amid the turmoil in Egypt to create a version on the streets of downtown Cairo.
In bridging Cairo and Munich, m | u | c | a On Tour attempts to expose a broader audience to a plurality of art and cultural experiences in their home town. A third STATION, which opened this week, takes place at the Kempinski Hotel at the Munich airport. Here, at this northern outpost, through which 38.7 million passengers passed in 2013 alone, CASE has created yet another of his signature fists/peace signs. He is joined again by artists Herakut and L.E.T., as well as by Banksy, Nora Gres, Aiko, Ben Eine, and Max Zorn—a prolific lineup that has set up camp with works in the hotel’s lobby. At this site m | u | c | a On Tour makes ever more explicit its effort to bring art to the periphery so as to render it more central to people’s everyday lives.
“m | u | c | a on Tour STATION 2: ‘Brücken Schlagen’ Candidplatz,” Munich, is on view Oct. 8th, 2014–Oct. 20th, 2016.
“m | u | c | a on Tour STATION 3: Kempinski Hotel Airport,” Munich opened on Oct. 23rd, 2014.