Elian – new collaborations in Europe
Collaboration is an important element in the world of urban art and something that sets it apart from other artistic spheres. In recent months, as part of the now yearly exodus of Latin American artists to Europe and the United States for summer in the northern hemisphere, Cordobese artist Elian has been one half of two contrasting collaborations in Barcelona and London.
The dual show “Fallas” in Montana Gallery, Barcelona, saw him team up with fellow Argentine and friend Pastel to explore the aesthetic outcomes of a glitch, a default, a systematic failure. Both artists contributed individual works in their signature styles on paper and canvas, but where the unity of their collaboration was most evident was in the mural painted at the back of the gallery. This monochrome piece juxtaposed Elian’s broad and furling linear study against Pastel’s delicate floral composition, creating a wall where opposites harmonise with each other, where the graphic collides with the decorative. Taking two contrasting yet complementary components and pitting them against each other is a technique used in everything from typography to architecture, and the superimposition of Elian’s minimal gestures on the intricacy of Pastel’s flora exploits this to create a dramatic effect that is at once arresting and absorbing.
In London, Elian hooked up with Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz in advance of a group show in Mya Gallery to paint a mural in the city’s street art mecca, Shoreditch. This time, Elian reverted to his freeform mergings of primary colours to interact with the surreal biology of Alexis Diaz’s oft-seen heart and eye. Diaz’s detailed studies of hybrid animalistic/skeletal creatures are sometimes set against a subtly gradiated background of colour, and the pairing of his work with Elian’s here echoes this, albeit that Elian’s slashes of red, yellow and blue across the arrow-pierced heart give the mural decidedly more punch. Again, the visual clash of opposites gives the wall a great aesthetic tension and commands the viewer to reconcile the sweeping with the precise. Social media erupted with images of this impressive wall, cementing the power of bringing together two stylistically opposite artists but whom are equally matched by their talent.