Ruoholahdenranta 3a
June 24–July 18, 2021

EGS, Track and Field, 2021, concrete, iron bars, denim, oil bar, acrylic, and spray paint, 15 x 19 3/4 x 35". Photo: Anna Autio.
EGS, Track and Field, 2021, concrete, iron bars, denim, oil bar, acrylic, and spray paint, 15 x 19 3/4 x 35″. Photo: Anna Autio.

“Constantly Dreaming of Concrete” features an installation, glass sculptures, graffiti, and traditional painted watercolors and canvases by the artist known as EGS, contrasting the quasi-illegality of his street art activity with his more institutionally acceptable fare.

In the first of the gallery’s three large rooms, Control Da City (all works 2021), covers the floor with a maze made of hedgelike concrete blocks that have been spray-painted green. Inside this labyrinth are eight blown glass sculptures resembling Pac-Man characters. The yellow figures represent graffiti artists running amok as the three blue objects—ostensibly police—appear trapped in a box at the center. The installation is rounded off with a projection featuring more concrete blocks—this time rendered in CGI animation—tumbling down in an imitation of Tetris. The video game had fascinated the artist as a teenager because of its origins in Russia, a country that held much mystique for a child of the Cold War.

The other two rooms showcase abstract glass works, always arranged in groups of three in distortions of the letters E, G, and S (the artist’s own tag), alongside paintings such as Buildings I Want to Paint on 6. The sculpture Track and Field consists of a graffitied section of a concrete wall standing nearly one-meter-high (the height of railroad fences in Helsinki). Patches of torn denim from the artist’s jeans hang from protruding metal bars at the top. These scraps of fabric attest to his experiences vaulting walls to access prime graffiti spots and escape from authorities. They also evoke flags, highlighting tagging as a means of staking territory.

— Mike Watson

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