We were keen to engage Anna Laurini with her very distinct urban style before the open doors of zeitgeist-hungry galleries tempted her in. It is always heartening when you chance upon those rare moments of newness - when an unsung face on the block makes a mark; made all the more uplifting when what they are doing stands out with its difference; and because it is good.
Laurini is a very direct, yet open individual. Her steely-tinted eyes often shining with emotion. A recent, self-proclaimed 'bombardment' of London streets has opened our eyes to her very distinct style - somewhat reminiscent of a Picasso cubist portait; simplified, almost pseudo-primitive in application, with either single or face-to-face charicatures telling a story. These masquerading vignettes are hand-painted, with an accompanying aphorism introducing a connectivity with the viewer - inviting an element of complicity - as we entertain Laurini's desire to elevate the soul. You can read her work.
Most often the words are not her own, she explained. With philosophical maxims appropriately researched and acknowledged. Somewhat reminiscent of American street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Laurini asks questions of the viewer through the written word; with text applied using the same brush that formed the artworks other shapes and structures. On face value, her installations may appear immediate and simple. Yet they quickly reveal more complex, almost spiritual subtexts. We are taken on a journey through post-modern commentary and social meaning.
As Directror of her production, Laurini soon positions the players across the stage set. She paints in a very focussed manner, while we talk about the usual suspects who comprise the current street art scene. Her likes and dislikes are apparent. One senses Laurini never set out to be a street artist; using paste-up as an initial means to test the water, or wall. Having spent time in New York, she now wished her current painterly approach had come sooner. And briefly meditated on the idea of revisiting old haunts, perhaps now armed with the genuine article.
We found a semblance of Laurini's work in the practice of veteran street artist Frenchman Thierry Noir. Both have developed uncomplicated, two-dimensional, reduced-palette depictions of people. They share a formalised visual language. With Laurini embracing Noir's insightful statement "You need two ideas and three colours."
The sense of theatre amplifies as we move the props in order to make the production happen - our ladder is slid right or left to open up space, pots, cups and lids are engaged in the transportation of paint. Eyes open as Laurini paints them into life. Pouting ruby lips punctuate the black and white. We witness the friction between her chosen cast members - deliberate coupled-combinations of 'boys and girls' bring passion. Perhaps the larger, principal actor is Laurini herself? With blue her principal pigment, the metallic, flowing azure mane suggests this might be a beguiling self portrait - councelling us "To be wise and beauty full".
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