Vertical Gallery is very proud to present “The Sun Series,” a solo exhibit spotlighting Berlin-based street artist XOOOOX.
Opening on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm CT, “The Sun Series” — XOOOOX’s first-ever solo Chicago showcase — runs through Saturday, Sept. 26. The exhibit brings together over two dozen new works from the elusive artist, celebrated worldwide for his guerrilla-style stencils and installations contrasting the glitz and glamour of high-fashion culture with the transience and decay of the urban landscape.
With “The Sun Series,” XOOOOX (pronounced ‘Ksooks,’ an alias selected for its palindromic symmetry as well as the representational possibilities of the letters ‘X’ and ‘O,’ which recur frequently in his work) continues to expand and enrich his signature reinvention of Arte Povera traditions, applying delicate figurative studies of seductive, sphinxlike women to transitory materials like cardboard and metal.
“I decided to choose cardboard as the image carrier for most works, as it turns yellow when exposed to light. This means that the color of the cardboard will get a little deeper over time,” XOOOOX explains. “Just as the work on the street changes over time, I wanted to transfer the process to the gallery work. I love the warm hue of the yellowed paper, as it is a symbol of times past and memories for me. That’s why I chose my favorite motifs from the past few years for these works.”
Precious little is known about XOOOOX, a self-taught artist who closely guards his identity to neutralize the threat of arrest on public vandalism charges. Born in 1979, he first achieved notoriety as a teen graffiti artist, honing his craft under railway bridges. XOOOOX’s first documented street works appeared in 2003; these early paste-ups — most of them fashion magazine cutouts applied across crumbling urban environments using extra-strong wallpaper adhesive — soon gave way to the artist’s now-familiar life-size stencils (“an established medium of protest and rebellion,” he once told writer Rory MacLean), which employ haute couture images and themes to comment on mass consumer marketing, the over-industrialization of fashion culture and other concerns.
Considered the first German street artist to achieve fame outside of his homeland, XOOOOX — who cites influences including French graffiti pioneer Blek le Rat — has previously headlined solo exhibitions in Berlin, London, New York City and Kauffenheim, France in addition to participating in multiple group exhibits at Vertical Gallery over the past seven years. XOOOOX’s work is also on display on the streets of Tel Aviv, Athens, Marrakesh, Paris, Milan, Vienna and other major cities across the globe.
XOOOOX ‘The Sun Series’
September 5 – 26, 2020
Opening day, Sept 5th, 11a-6p
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago