Following the successes of Mapping the City and Futurismo Ancestral, Somerset House again collaborated with arts organisation A(by)P to present Venturing Beyond: Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street. As part of ‘UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility’ the exhibition explored unsanctioned public art – or graffiti – as an intrinsically utopian practice.
Arguing against the traditionally-held belief of graffiti as a dystopian movement or ‘glorified vandalism’, the exhibition showcased the specially-commissioned work of seventeen street artists from around the globe, from stars of the scene such as Shepard Fairey, Swoon and REVOK, to critically acclaimed artists such as Eltono and Filippo Minelli, each of whom have produced or specially selected pieces responding to this theme. A number of artists, including Nano4814 and Brad Downey, have created installation works on site at Somerset House.From 13 – 20 April, artists Horfée and Russell Maurice took up residency, providing visitors with an insight into the processes of the practice. Working in situ, they produced a new body of work based on the utopian themes of the exhibition. This project space then remained open for viewing alongside the main exhibition.