Acclaimed British surrealist graffiti artist Sickboy returns this November with his second major London solo show, ‘Heaven & Earth’.
Following his smash 2008 exhibition, ‘Stay Free’ – which saw him transform a Victorian tram shed into a 3D Willy Wonka-esque playground (with balaclava-clad Oompa Loompas running amok and a 14ft factory installation churning out art) – the artist presents his most spectacular showcase yet.
A celebration of earthly sins and heavenly fantasies, with collaborations from some of the biggest names in the global scene, ‘Heaven & Earth’ sees Sickboy figuratively fall from grace into one of his own worlds, calling upon 12 of his fellow street art figureheads to plunge into the depths of darkest conscious.
Those familiar with Sickboy’s prolific street work such as the iconic ‘Temple’ (sprayed in the McDonalds palette on walls and wheelie bins worldwide) will witness the deeper development of the artist’s visual vocabulary with his new body of work.
Inspired by semiotics and symbolism, Renaissance paintings and the surreal landscape workings of artists like Hieronymus Bosch, Sickboy confesses all in this show, with beautifully-detailed paintings containing deeply personal narratives alongside his surrealist depictions of the world.
The artist also presents four major installations which include a walk-in confessional booth (with a resident pastor who will be appearing at various service times throughout the opening), and an installation which sees a who’s who of eminent artists joining Sickboy on his cathartic journey including: D*Face, Eine, Anthony Lister, Paul Insect, Vhils, Conor Harrington, Xenz, Word to Mother, Will Barras, Eelus, Mudwig and Hush – all of whom feature in a special collaborative element of the show.
The art exorcism doesn’t just end there. After years of brainwashing the public with his temple and slogans such as “save the youth”, Sickboy is expanding his ethos of “art for the people” and inviting the global public to become part of his show by submitting their anonymous confessions to him, which will become one of the main installations, entitled ‘Confess’.
“The ‘Confess’ concept was inspired by a close-up photograph of my hand, painting a canvas” the artist explains. “I thought ‘that hand’s done some bad things’. Everyone’s got skeletons in their closet, but modern day society relies heavily on superficial methods of exorcising our demons: whether it’s drink, drugs or just clearing the internet history on your computer. By confessing anonymously, people can lighten their conscience. With art as a scapegoat, a problem shared is a problem solved. Let’s get back to our roots, focus on the future and demolish the past – confess a feeling.”
A fourth surprise installation will be unveiled on the opening night, which brings the artist’s street work into an exhibition environment.
One of the world’s most controversial street artists, Sickboy, who continues to shun gallery representation to maintain his independence, reminds us that: “There are no rules. Expect the unexpected.”
‘Heaven & Earth’ opens with a private view on Thursday, November 3 and opens to the public on Friday, November 4. Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.
For more information visit the official Sickboy website.