Exhibition Preview: Masters of Biro

Exhibition Preview: Masters of Biro

Masters of Biro: Alighiero Boetti, Giuseppe Stampone, Tom Poeet

On Tuesday, 5 June, 10 Hanover Gallery will open its doors to a new three-person exhibition in collaboration with Artvisor. The medium-specific show, title Masters of Biro, will be thematically centred around artists using the biro pen. The show will demonstrate the versatility of the biro, or ballpoint pen, in contemporary art, revealing its expressive and multifaceted properties.

An iconic work by the 1970’s master Alighiero Boetti, will be shown alongside a variety of drawings by Giuseppe Stampone and the elusive Tom Poeet. While Boetti’s work draws upon the circulation of mass-produced imagery, placing standardised images on top of a hand-drawn biro landscape, Stampone’s refined approach to figuration juxtaposes with Poeet’s expressive, untethered streams of consciousness.

Each artist approaches the biro pen with a nuanced perspective. As a collective, their respective oeuvres celebrate the medium’s versatility, its depth of tone, its ubiquitousness, and the trace it visualises between the artist’s hand and the paper. The ink’s saturating tones act as a record of the artists’ mark-making, enabling one to reflect on the wider, political and cultural contexts in which the drawings we produced.

Alighiero Boetti

Boetti has experimented with a multitude of materials during his career, from plaster to plexiglass. However, in his use of biro we are able to gain a tangible insight into the intensity of the artist’s approach. Much of Boetti’s Biro series contains puzzles, puns and linguistic codes. The images, letters and symbols he has appropriated from pop culture act to create illusory spaces of action and movement. The artist’s drawings tackle paradoxes that reflect everyday life: the individual and society, error and perfection, order and disorder. Boetti’s Aerei, 1978, exemplifies this. By representing modernity through iconography, the drawing reveals complex histories and narratives that interweave to form the cultural parameters of a contemporary society.

Alighiero Boetti, Aerei (detail) 1983. Biro on paper. Image courtesy artist and gallery.

Giuseppe Stampone

Giuseppe Stampone’s practice embraces various issues affecting cultural communities. Using a blend of humour, irony and provocation, the artist’s works resonate on at a social level. His intricately detailed, quasi-photorealistic Bic pen drawings, for which he is most recognised, are a reflection on the digital communicative tools that have come to surround us. The artist capitalises on the medium’s inherently illusionistic qualities to question the meaning and importance of social cohesion, as seen in the image below, which explores the horrors of war and social unrest.

Believing art should be accessible to all, much of Stampone’s output enables audience participation. He acts as both an artist and an activist. Stampone founded the Solstizio Project, which binds together artists and activists to further promote social agendas.

Giuseppe Stampone, Halt, 2015. Biro on paper. Image courtesy artist.

Tom Poeet

Tom Poeet’s true identity remains unknown. Scarce information tells us that Poeet (pronounced po·et) exhibited in the 1950s and 60s under a different name, and is currently undergoing a creative renaissance that began in 2015. Information suggests, though it cannot be verified at the time of publication, that the artist is currently working out of Italy.

Poeet’s drawings are delivered as a representation of an uninterrupted stream of consciousness. Embodied within them are his mythological creatures, eerie in their resemblance of reality and fragile in the delicate nature of their composition. The artist finds something of a sign in repetition, wherein he pushes his work in absurd and uncanny directions. This produces characters whose true identities are as anonymous as the artist.

Tom Poeet, Untitled, 2015. Biro on paper.

The exhibition’s message, though centred on medium-specific parameters, is layered. The subject matter veers from imaginative interpretations of the human form, to conceptual reimaginings of pop culture, to politically engaged, linguistic abstractions that conjure a spirit of activism. As the artists’ nuanced perspectives, ideas and aesthetics chime, Masters of Biro shows the significance of their contributions to the field of contemporary art.

Alighiero Boetti
Giuseppe Stampone
Tom Poeet

Private View: 6pm – 8pm, Tuesday 5 June
Exhibition Dates: 6 June – 19 June 2018

10 Hanover
10 Hanover Street
London, W1S 1YQ
United Kingdom

For inquiries regarding private views and specific artworks, please contact: office@artvisor.com

Cover image: Tom Poeet, Untitled, 2015. Biro on paper. Image courtesy the artist and gallery.

Author: George Greenhill