Venturing Beyond: Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street

Opening performance and press preview at Somerset House, London – UK.
‘The only emergency is the absence of emergency’ by Filippo Minelli, inspired by Santiago Zabala and Martin Heidegger.
March 2nd, 8am and 10am.
An exhibition exploring the utopia of graffiti, featuring newly-commissioned works of eighteen global street artists such as Shepard Fairey and Swoon
3 March – 2 May 2016
Terrace Rooms, Somerset House, London
Free entry
Following the successes of Mapping the City and Futurismo Ancestral, Somerset House will again collaborate with arts organisation A(by)P to present Venturing Beyond: Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street. As part of Utopia 2016 at Somerset House, the exhibition will explore unsanctioned public art – or graffiti – as an intrinsically utopian practice.
Arguing against the traditionally-held belief of graffiti as a dystopian movement or ‘glorified vandalism’, Venturing Beyond: Graffiti and the Everyday Utopias of the Street will showcase the specially-commissioned work of eighteen street artists from around the globe, from stars of the scene such as Shepard Fairey, Swoon and REVOK, to critically acclaimed artists such as Brad Downey, Eltono and Filippo Minelli, each of whom will produce pieces responding to this theme. A number of artists, including Horfee, Nano4814, Petro and Russell Maurice, will create their works on site at Somerset House over the course of the exhibition, providing visitors with an insight into the processes of the practice.
In a literal sense, graffiti compels its practitioners to ‘venture beyond’ spatial and architectural boundaries, but also metaphorically provokes them to ‘venture beyond’ conceptual frontiers, to form new ways of thinking, acting and being in the world. Graffiti ornaments the city in resplendent colour and brings art out into the open, an art which belongs to all of us. It
simultaneously reveals an aesthetic and social practice which anyone is welcome to join. Above all, graffiti and street art acts as an alternative voice, whether it is loud and brazen or more subtle and difficult to decipher, which strives to challenge the well-worn systems of society – something which Thomas More’s seminal text also set out. All of the artists will uniquely interpret their ideas on the utopian foundations of graffiti.
In addition, A(by)P and Somerset House will be producing a wide-ranging programme of events to follow the key themes of the exhibition, including workshops, talks, films, music and performances.
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia, Somerset House will be transformed into a space of possibility, participation and imagination throughout 2016. People from all walks of life will be invited to experiment with new ways we might live, make, work and play. The season will provide physical and virtual spaces where positive visions are nurtured, supported and celebrated, and where anything is possible. It will highlight the power of our collective imagination and the pivotal role of the arts in creating the space where dreams can take root.
Notes to Editors
For press enquiries and images, please contact Stephanie Lilley or 0207 845 4624.
Dates: 3 March – 2 May 2016
Opening Hours: Daily, 10.00 – 18.00. Times are sometimes subject to change, please check the website for full details in advance of visits.
Admission: Free
Address: Terrace Rooms, Somerset House, London, WC2R 1LA
Transport: Temple, Embankment Charing Cross, Waterloo
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Somerset House Twitter: @SomersetHouse
Somerset House Instagram: @somersethouselondon
Exhibition Hashtag: #VenturingBeyond
Somerset House public enquiries: 020 7845 4600
About Somerset House
Somerset House is a unique part of the London cultural scene, a historic building within which surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th century origins, it has been a centre for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Today, Somerset House is a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming to all and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries. Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture including photography, fashion, architecture and design, with an extensive integrated learning programme. We currently attract well over 2 million visitors every year. It is one of the biggest communities of creative organisations in London including The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses.
About A(by)P
Approved by Pablo is a collaborative organisation that curates, produces, and instigates art. They present what they term Intermural Art, a practice taking the graffiti and street art model – as a concept, a method, and an ethic – and translating it into an art exploring the space between the walls of the street and the institution. Each A(by)P exhibition includes a range of all-encompassing experiences in which everyone can participate. Incorporating artworks and installations, performances and workshops, music and films, A(by)P harness the energy and excitement of the ephemeral exhibition moment to make art and ideas accessible to all. Acting both as gallery and cultural project, A(by)P is currently presenting a series of exhibitions in partnership with Somerset House. A(by)P was founded in 2013 by Tim Roter and Rafael