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HAM Talks: Graffiti

Discussion, Meet the Artist • Tennispalatsi
Admission included in the museum admission • No signup required

  • 6.4. 12.00
  • 6.4. 13.00
  • 7.4. 13.00-15.00

The HAM Talks series zooms into different sides of the exhibition through expert lectures and gives us an opportunity to take a closer look at the themes of the exhibition together with experts in the field and graffiti makers. During the opening weekend at HAM, Blade, Martha Cooper, Mick La Rock, Mischa Leinkauf, Johannes Rantapuska and Sauli Sirviö will be there to talk about their work, all available for the price of a museum admission ticket. Changes are possible.

Friday 6 April
At 12: Blade and Mick La Rock

Meet the artists, exhibition halls

The graffiti legend Blade will talk about his artwork at a fan meeting in the Graffiti exhibition. He will be accompanied in the meeting by Mick La Rock, who is one of the first and best-known female graffiti artists in the world. The event will be in English.

Blade (b. 1957), the legendary king of graffiti, began painting in the Bronx, NYC in the early 1970s. He is one of the original members of The Crazy 5 crew. During his active years, Blade painted over 5,000 subway trains. From 1975 to 1982, his graffiti was ubiquitous on New York’s IRT 2 and 5 lines. He painted whole cars featuring bubble letters, 3Ds and angular blockbusters, often with an added cartoon figure and crown symbol. Ignoring mainstream trends, Blade developed his own unique style of lettering. In the early 1980s, Martha Cooper gave Blade a canvas and urged him to embark on a career as an independent artist. Blade held his first solo show in New York in 1984. His early paintings emulate the style of his train graffiti, but over time his visual aesthetic grew progressively more abstract.

Mick La Rock, alias Mickey (born 1970), is an established, Amsterdam-based graffiti artist. Having painted since 1983, she is one of the first and internationally best-known female artists in the graffiti culture. Since the beginning, her pseudonym Mickey, realised in different typefaces, has served as the basis for her graffiti. Over the years, Mick la Rock’s imagery has become more geometric, and her latest murals are simplified wall paintings finished in colour scale and style. Mick la Rock has participated in international joint exhibitions since the early 1990s, and her works have been presented in dozens of publications.

At 13: Martha Cooper

Talk, HAM-Sali

Martha Cooper will give a talk about her photography over the past 50+ years including what led her to shoot graffiti and hip hop and, how, to her surprise, those topics evolved into worldwide youth and art movements. The talk is in English.

Martha Cooper (b.1943) is among the first photographers to document graffiti culture and street art. She moved to New York City in 1975 and began shooting scenes of urban life and children playing on the street in decaying neighborhoods. While working as a staff photographer for the New York Post she became interested in the budding hip hop scene. Winning the trust of graffiti writers, she defied risks to photograph them working in dangerous locations from Brooklyn to the Bronx. She captured some of the most iconic graffiti imagery of the era in her photos of painted train cars, subway stations, rail yards and rooftops. In 1984, Cooper and Henry Chalfant teamed up to publish Subway Art, a classic work that has inspired graffiti artists around the world.

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Saturday 7 April

At 13: Mischa Leinkauf, Johannes Rantapuska ja Sauli Sirviö:
Out of control – An artist discussion about attitude, diversity and drawer thinking

Talk, HAM-Sali

Artist Mischa Leinkauf together with artists Johannes Rantapuska & Sauli Sirviö have their creative roots in a subculture called graffiti. But can we still call it so when it appears in a museum? Besides the exhibition “Graffiti” in HAM Helsinki, there is a lot to tell about what happens in the streets and what eventually ends up in a museum. We will have a conversation about what societal scope art has nowadays if it appears noncommissioned and in public space? The artists will present their work and additional projects from people that inspired them over the last years – showing the diversity the prejudiced term “graffiti” bears. The event will be in English.

Artist and filmmaker Mischa Leinkauf is part of the Berlin-based artists’ duo Wermke/Leinkauf, which works on the conversion of urban topographies and the exploration of their borders. In a lot of their works, crossing the boundaries of individual freedom serves as an extension of artistic and societal scope. To question common standards and constraints, they “open” the city by using not only their bodies but also the materials and tools of urban spaces. Moreover, their works often relate to the Genius Loci and the history of a space.

Johannes Rantapuska is a thirty-something teenager with a slacker mentality and an academic art degree. With a good mix of both, he is hoping to bring some relevant stories to the world. His work ranges from site-specific installations in New York City to bicycling on subway tracks in Athens.

Sauli Sirviö is a Helsinki-based artist working in the field of visual arts. His works are focused on photographic cogitation and experimental documentary. He is a co-founder of SIC, a space run by artists in Helsinki.

The discussion will be arranged in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut. The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. It promotes knowledge of the German language abroad and encourages its study. It also engages in international cultural exchange. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in our nation. Our cultural and educational programmes encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. They strengthen the development of structures in civil society and foster worldwide mobility.