TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A small, inconspicuous art space in the basement of a hairdresser’s is the perfect location for an exhibition that showcases alternative perspectives on our planet’s future.
4000 CE collects several works on the concept of Anthropocene—the idea that human activity is the most dominant force shaping our current geological age—and positions them along a timeline from 2018 to the year 4000, exhibiting surreal visions of the future from eight underground global artists.
Modern day human activity is indisputably detrimental to the earth, which is why contemporary depictions of the future usually err on the cynical side, and while the artists commissioned for this project illustrate a world in which humans have had to either adapt to their broken habitat or be phased out entirely, they do so with a tinge of humor, and a good helping of absurdity that communicates a clear message without being overly dogmatic.
Among the eight artists are three local talents: Mister OGAY, Girenhao (紀人豪), and DEBE.
Mister OGAY is one of Taiwan’s most widely-recognized graffiti artists, whose whimsical murals have enlivened walls, window shutters and industrial paraphernalia across the country. Central to his cartoons is a usually-nude, seemingly self-parodic male character who delivers social commentary with a wink and a nudge.
Sometime collaborator Girenhao, who usually renders graffiti in a softer, three-dimensional style, offers up more abstract contributions to the exhibition. Black canvases enflamed with golden sunbursts adorn the walls of the gallery, imparting a more immediate message of the potentially-oncoming apocalypse.
Hypnotic collages of colorful, concentric shapes are the pillar of DEBE’s street murals, and again, serve a more abstract picture of the future at 4000 CE, using emblems common to retrofuturistic depictions of life and the environment.
The exhibition vouches to showcase a future trajectory from an international perspective, and no artist embodies this more than Nearski, who was born in the U.K., raised in Germany and currently resides in Japan. Their art portrays a world engineered to survive a rising tide that has engulfed the planet, demonstrating humanity’s ingenuity yet regrettable short-sightedness and disregard for environmental conservation.
French artist Monsta, Ecuadorian artist Maureen Gubia, Pandakroo from Reunion Island and Japan’s IMAONE also present their own unique conceptions of the world at different timepoints up to the year 4000.
The gallery, Oomph!, which describes itself as “a movement and art space aiming to spark new ways of thinking and doing” is located underground of a salon in Taipei’s fashionable East District, known as a local hub of creativity. The bunker-like space offers the perfect vessel for the artworks, which act as windows out to a dystopian dreamland.
Oomph! regularly organizes events that turn the exhibition space from a host of visual encounters into a purveyor of interactive, multi-sensory experiences, and a discussion forum for the artworks currently on display. Oomph! hosted a successful opening party on Jan. 12 featuring local DJs and live screen-printing, and is in the midst of planning a wrap-up event on Feb. 2.
Be sure to check the space’s Facebook page for more information and upcoming events.