Factory 7 in Hoxton is the kind of industrial space you have to try to find. The location for Opera Gallery’s exhibition, Urban Masters, was kept under wraps until less than a week before the opening. Keeping space between the exhibition and their New Bond Street gallery was part of establishing the ethos for this showing, which includes works by acknowledged masters of street art like Banksy up against those of newer artists like Mac1.
One untitled piece, a mixed-media work comprised of miniature tagged trains by Gris1 & Terez’s, came together in just one day. Described by a member of the gallery staff as a sort of “coming out party” for many of these artists looking to establish themselves, Urban Masters is a gritty collection of works by inspired by icons of street art.
Brilliant, vivid colours shout from varied surfaces and speak of a social element that is marginalized and under-represented. It seems almost wrong for this work to be codified and hung in the meticulously lit space, which, for all its industrial pedigree, is an unmistakable gallery in the most bourgeois sense of the word.
Asked about the transition from street to gallery, Blek le Rat said “street art is ephemeral”, pointing out that much of the art from the 1980s has disappeared. This transient quality means that a lot of important artistic bloodlines risk becoming unavailable to future generations.
Enter galleries like Jean-David’s Opera, which give artists opportunities to show their work in the gallery.
Urban Masters, which runs until 18th November, is running in partnership with Anti-Slavery International. Catalogues are available for £10 each, with proceeds going to charity.
Whether you’re a serious art enthusiast or just want to enjoy an evening in a trendy part of town, this exhibition is well worth seeing.
For more information about Urban Masters, or about Opera Gallery click here.