The need of change

Summer 2013 – somewhere between Paris and Detroit – somewhere in the middle of the metamorphosis. In the last 15 months the work of SMASH137 has been transfered from a Graffiti based calligraphic- writing-style to a style of colourful painting using the form of single letters as powerful signs. A gestural abstract painting is on the move. All in all it looks like a frozen moment of forms and colours fighting each other which seems to explode. But nevertheless the paintings appear throughout well balanced. Leonardo’s ten characteristics of an object are almost exemplified reproduced by SMASH137 various combinations with lightness and darkness, colour and substance, form and position, distance and closeness, action and stagnancy. Construction and deconstruction are the characteristics and part of his strategy. In the battle of line against line, surface against surface, colour against colour, SMASH137 is constantly confronted to one of the main questions of painting what has been achieved and what needs to be changed. But this development from Graffiti to pure painting as well as the metamorphosis from the Street Artist SMASH137 into the (new) artist Adrian Falkner (his real name) has its price. For some, he moved too far away from Street Art style. For others he is still too close. For some, it contains too much writing. For others it’s too gestural, too abstract, and too neo-informal. No matter how you approach to the paintings of SMASH137 none of them will leave you cold. They polarize when we awake and confuse when we see them.

Viral writing

Basel, sometime in the summer of 2008. The trains pass by the sprayed treasures much too quickly that are strung together along the walls of the SBB railway station in Basel. Among them SMASH137 stands out with his variety of styles. Sometimes in a simple gray with black outlines, other times enriched with vibrant and bubbly colors, or creating a three dimensionality through skillful shading, SMASH137 demonstrates his ability to push the limits of his typographic brilliance. Who is SMASH137 and what makes his extraordinary style so powerful? Among the heroes of graffiti art, he is a pioneer of highest regard – a title he acquired after many battles. SMASH137 sees his writing as a virus and thanks to the many who are influenced and impressed by him, it developed into a form of viral Writing in the Graffiti Art community. But at some point in 2009 there was a change from the walls to canvases, from the streets into the studio and the White Cube of art galleries.

In the eye of the hurricane

Winter 2012. Somewhere near the banks of the Rhine within the tri-national border region, there is a place. Some call it an art studio, others a laboratory. It is here where the new statements from SMASH137 evolve. Where canvases – in multiple states- intensify, change and alienate. Some look like elements of his graffiti art, where others – as if for a precious moment – look like frozen fluids.. No matter what impression you might have, SMASH137 creates color storms that subdue around a harmonious center – as if painted within the eye of a hurricane. Where do the boundaries lie, what is the potential of this microcosm, or this macrocosm? SMASH137 is an unquenched soul – still unsatisfied and searching for the right moment that is worth capturing. The quintessential hallmark of his artwork are a perfect composition of his forms that are almost bursting with tension and a well-balanced harmony of his colors. They are also the essential characteristics of his paintings.

Harald Kraemer