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THE DEVANDALIZER

Hunter & Gatherer Egon Zippel at Orchard Windows Gallery in New York City, 2012

Christopher Hart Chambers, d’art International, Fall/Winter 2012:

During the last few years the streets of the world have been home to a new underground art movement, and like most things, the craze is perhaps most intense in New York City, where after all, street art was born some thirty years ago. Small, mass-produced stickers bedeck almost every street sign, lamppost, any available surface whatsoever – mostly in downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn neighborhoods that girdle it – because that is where the artists are. Some stickers advertise music, stores, sneakers; anything. But many more do not overtly proclaim any message at all. They are art, their cryptic, anonymous messages open to interpretation, whether purely visual motifs or incorporating text as well.

Egon Zippel, a natural born hunter and gatherer, has chosen his favorite stickers and honored them – maybe not to their makers’ liking. Zippel has “immortalized” the stickers by scraping them from their ephemeral placements on city streets and applying them to canvas. It is difficult to scrape the stickers from their surfaces in one clean piece. They come off fragmented and battered, weathered and tattered, but Egon feels that their war-torn condition confirms their authenticity. He experiments with different compositional strategies to place these artifacts of urban life on canvas: they are regrouped in chaotic, semi-random, figurative or definitive geometric, compositions. Some canvases are devoted wholly to numerous repetitions of the same sticker, pasted all over like a fabric design, others incorporate several different ones in a sunburst formation, some canvases are devoted to only one "specimen."

The work straddles fences encompassing several categories: Painting, collage, process art and conceptual art, and image pastiche - all come into play as he vandalizes the vandals. With a multi-edged blade, Egon Zippel has developed a new twist on urban archeology.



Excerpts from an Interview (NYC 2012, by Lin QUIK Felton)

LF: One has seen your work morph frequently and radically over the years. How do you view your creative self today?

EZ: I am a traditional HUNTER and GATHERER. I used to go for mushrooms and berries. Now it’s stickers.

LF: Is it painting or conceptual art?

EZ: Does it matter? I enjoy roaming and stalking the cacophonous streets, sometimes in the wee hours of Manhattan’s pre-dawn, equipped with my ever-trusty and sturdy ladder. I’m hunting tags and stickers that tumble and visually rumble across the borough’s urban crust.

LF: How do these new works take form and represent this reflection of man’s primitive nature to roam, stalk, hunt and gather?

EZ: I DEVANDALIZE and PRESERVE. To formulate my idyllic street harvest into art, I manipulate the tags and stickers as painting. Or to say it with simpler words: I’m having fun painting with the paint the city provides. Ah, and yes: too much is not enough!

Video THE DEVANDALIZER by Mike Hsieh, Bowery Pictures




Richard Kroehling's email from April 22, 2017 1:46 PM, in regard to the show at 214 Lafayette:

The photos of the show and the quality of the work and the installation look really great! 

Last night I had a dream where I was writing about Egon's show --- talking to some art investor by the blue pool in the shots -- I was saying some hi-fillutin' shit about how Zippel's work was reclaiming thought/fact/truth in a time of arbitrariness, meaningless decorative art and lies... a time when we moved away from the ideals of the enlightenment and then I went on and on holding a big beer in a mug but can't remember -- basically I think expanding on the devandalizing theme !!! 

The dream was fun. 

Yerz, R 



 
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