A solo show by Razab
Razab’s practice is not compartmentalized. It unfolds in aerosol murals, in the tips of drawing pens on paper, in sharp brush strokes and through airbrush blasts on canvas. It inks people’s skin, comes to life in short videos and music, while puncturing the daily life of its author in an almost obsessive way. Hyper-active, the artist multiplies solo projects and collaborations, his work evolving and diversifying at the speed of a galloping rodeo.
His works generally take the form of what he likes to call «street comics»: scenes often associated with lettering, painted in urban space and accessible to all. The scenarios represented, mostly caricatural and dystopian, challenge citizens on current social and political issues. Representation of the Russian warlord, bare-chested, with a band of ammunition around his neck. Without a bear to climb on, he drags on a pile of bloody skulls, stabbing a dove and grabbing a child by the leg. A controversial political figure appears at the bend in a poorly lit underpass. She spits on some other figure, as the perpetual flow of the news loop spills onto our screens as ordinary people all day long.
His first solo exhibition, In Nocens, is a journey into a chaotic and debauched era. A mural adorns the back wall of the room like a dark, acidic horizon, visible from dozens of feet away through the two swinging doors. The other wall is monochromatic and radical, hosting a selection of recent works. Two unrecognizable opponents throw blows at each other on a checkerboard while a third person in the foreground watches them repeating the same gesture. A turtleneck-wearing partygoer admires the morning sun in an afterglow in front of his small flower vase, facing a small pedestal monster, the only three-dimensional piece in the installation. A three-headed creature with a collar wriggles on a board, glances at a smoker with a bunch of flowers, then another one at a zonked reader with a cap. The three players in flip-flops and tracksuit bet triple or quits, throwing a double one on top of the table and under an extinguished bulb, as good big losers would.
We come across some characters the exhibition familiar from the expanse of the artist’s production. Stars in the form of dogs, botoxed nymphs with a grim look, dubious policemen pointing their guns at their temples, dictators in the form of devils, with mouths in the shape of hindquarters and hair plastered on their knocked out and tired mouths. They lurk behind windows, tread on human bodies, emerge from between two ruined walls and cheer the city and the room with their sneer.
In the exhibition In Nocens, no more repentance for a harmful and cannibalistic humanity. If this humanity is responsible for all the damage, the time has come for it to face up to it, with red eyes wide open, pockets half-filled and middle fingers in the air. The world, frenetic globalization and insane capitalism are slowly burning up in a big cloud of acrid smoke. Razab, the end of innocence. End of the game, a shot of cheap alcohol and rolling a joint in front of a burning Mercedes.
From 19 January to 3 February 2023
Thanks to: Bernard, Mahaut, Maya, Noah Kim Voumard, Sylvain Gelewski, Ressources Urbaines, Unilab, Valentina Raczka, Zac and all the friends and family for their support.
Photos: Danny Leal
Translation: Yasemin Imre
With the support of the Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, DCS, Genève.
Razab (*1992) is an artist of Italian-Colombian origin who grew up in Geneva. His project mixes graffiti, illustration, design, tattoo and more recently animation. It represents a universe in movement, where elements are borrowed from the urban underground culture and echoes the claims of a youth seeking for freedom.
His characters are a bit everywhere, from the historic districts of Bogotà to the suburbs of Naples, in the abandoned buildings, houses and factories of Tuscany to other European cities.