The Foundry is a relaxed hub of creativity located on Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai. The progressive art, cultural, and co-working space hosts a comprehensive programme of art exhibitions, workshops, entertainment and talks, elevating the arts and cultural scene of the UAE. The Foundry deserves a whole blog post about it, and I will be updating you in the future with more on that. But right now, I want to talk about an exhibition I recently visited in one of its art galleries by Fink 22.
Re-contextualising urban landscapes
FINK 22 is a self-taught British abstract painter, muralist and photographer renowned for his street art murals. His exhibition at the Foundry of his series URBAN DECAY is inspired by his yearning for something more than the polished and groomed environment of Dubai. He is instead drawn towards what he describes as Urban Landscapes; the worn, lived-in, scarred and broken surfaces of buildings that are hidden in plain sight across the immaculate city. For FINK 22 this is where the heart of city beats, which is his source of inspiration for the series.
His work is a reflection of the walls he finds in these landscapes, marked by repair works, posters, graffiti and painted surfaces worn over time, that overlay the blank canvas of the buildings. These interventions show life, echoing moments that have occurred and unfolded, moments integral to people’s lives and experiences. He re-contextualises the decaying walls in abstract form, delivering full body movements that capture the essence of the urban landscapes to the canvas.
Everyday decay and human connection
Each mark made holds an importance; whilst observing the works I reflected on the contrast and beauty of his perception of urban decay against the backdrop of highly manicured Downtown Dubai. The absence of perfection in the strokes on the canvas, reflect the hope and opportunity found in urban landscapes. The balance of bold colour, texture and negative space draws you in, creating a connection, revealing the lasting impact people have on their surrounding environment. Whilst observing the works I reflected on my relationship with place and space and noticed how urban landscapes are nuanced, textured, complicated and beautiful environments full of reminders in everyday decay of the human stories that reflect society over time.
Fink 22’s exhibition URBAN DECAY is currently on display at the Foundry until 25 August 2021.