BIRD/CAGE

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title: BIRD/CAGE
artist: Niels Shoe Meulman
year: 2019
medium: acrylic ink on Japanese Okawara 100% cotton paper
size: ± 25 x 20 inch / ± 63 x 56 cm
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Done during the Bed-Stuy Art Residency in Brooklyn, New York.

"This is my version of the best known thaumatrope, the spinning optical toy that was popular in the 19th century. In this case it's not two-sided and the images are words, but it's still kind of magical to me that the words bird and cage are symbols of their opposites and together make the word 'birdcage'. Freedom really is the essence of all life. Maybe even the meaning.

It also refers to the poem 'I know why the caged bird sings' (1983) by Maya Angelou, which I was turned onto by the Tricky song 'Suffocated Love' (1995)." –Shoe

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Niels Shoe Meulman is a visual artist, known for his gestural paintings which reveal vivid traces of Graffiti and Calligraphy. He revolutionized the art of writing when he initiated the Calligraffiti movement, claiming “a word is an image and writing is painting”.

Being a graffiti pioneer from Amsterdam, Shoe worked with New York counterparts such as Dondi White, Rammellzee and Keith Haring in the 1980s. Equally influenced by the great painters of Abstract Expressionism, he gradually found his own way to translate street attitude to gallery walls.

Experimenting within the traditional medium of paint-on-canvas, but also unafraid to venture into new realms like conceptual installations and poetry, Niels Shoe Meulman keeps pushing the limits of Urban Contemporary.

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