Charlie Anderson: Poster boy

Scottish artist celebrates contemporary culture in his latest exhibition


Inspired by cityscapes, music and pop culture, Scottish artist Charlie Anderson’s latest exhibition, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, reflects the throwaway nature of contemporary culture. ‘The idea was to take fragments of the transient things I come across daily, which are mass-produced and pumped into our lives, and then paint them,’ he says.

On display at Street Art Gallery until Monday June 15, the enormous billboard-like works are composed of layered fragments of postcards, advertisements, newspapers, street flyers and magazines. ‘I like the relationship between these lowbrow, kitschy and disposable objects and the highbrow context of a gallery setting as well as the process of reproducing everything by hand,’ Anderson explains.

The title of the show is a play on the style in which the artist works. ‘It also relates to some of the images I use in the paintings, which refer to romantic magazines, gossip tabloids and pop-up ads on the internet,’ he reveals. ‘I like to take things out of their original context and create a new one; to change them into something that can be interpreted in a different way.’ Anderson studied at Edinburgh College of Art and says he only really developed an interest in painting in his final year. But his provocative and engaging works have resulted in collaborations with celebrities including Ringo Starr, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. ‘My tutor told me to walk around Edinburgh and look at everything that was around me. That was when I realised I could just paint things that I saw on the street, and those paintings would become a celebration and documentation of the world I lived in and my life at the time. I began to develop the technique of painting something that looks like a ripped up collage of paper in my last year of college and I’ve refined it in the past year.’

Anderson describes his distinctive methods and process as ‘painstaking and slow,’ with each work taking up to a week or more to complete and he says the show reflects this – ‘It’s about slowing down in life to look more closely at the details.’

Influenced by artists such as Mimmo Rotella, Jacques Villeglé, Wolf Vostell and Raymond Hains, Anderson’s works are easily relatable, but with one key difference; they are reproduced with the sole use of paint. In ‘Sweet Sweet Lies’ he paints phrases such as, ‘Everything ends’ and ‘A bad road’ alongside images of Egyptian art and bold, vibrant slogans. ‘This piece is inspired by a real tabloid gossip magazine that I came across in a local supermarket. It’s really lowbrow, but combined with the image of a cobra that I painted in a garish, dramatic, gold paint, it has quite a playful look,’ he says.

The collection offers a compelling, exciting and engaging visual experience, which contemporary and street art enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy.
Daily 10am-7pm. Until June 15. Street Art Gallery, Villa 23, 10th B Street, Jumeirah 1, (055 888 8247).

Three galleries for contemporary works

Gallery Etemad
The contemporary artworks exhibited range from abstraction to figuration, with the use of innovative techniques.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Street 4B, Al Quoz 1 (04 347 0909).

Mussawir Art Gallery
The space promotes the art of Pakistan and features paintings, ceramics, sculpture and photography.
Open daily 11am-7pm. Al Marabea Street, Al Quoz 1 (04 388 1663).

Rira Gallery
See the works of contemporary artists from the Middle East here. The works have a distinct social and political feel distinctive of the artists’ home countries.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-8pm; Sat noon-6pm. Gate Village Building 3, DIFC (04 3699 339).

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