Make Your Mark Gallery 8-28.2
Danish graffiti SABE has been actively painting for 27 years. After so many years he has become a very talented graffiti painter, still returning to the Copenhagen train yards like there is no tomorrow. Entering his first solo exhibition in Finland, you might not think this is the case.
Make Your Mark has a gallery space with enormous potential in an old garage/storage. Still they have decided on the traditional white box, with part of it made out as a store for graffiti paints, books on street art and the likes. The most interesting aspects of the gallery is the barbed wire “guarding” their storage, and a beautiful bronze wall piece of a hand with a spraycan.
SABE’s paintings are quite traditionally hung, with moderately sized canvases on two walls, and the third covered in smaller sketches. His canvases are spray painted, mostly with complicated text that tries to challenge the dimensions. This does not work out however, due to the relatively small canvases, the paintings don’t get to play that trick with your eyes that SABEs big graffitis in the streets get to do. Most of the paintings remain flat, and some of them even seem to be sloppily done.
The sketches seem to be popular among the visitors, but to me they look like any teenagers’ sketches made while bored in high school. I understand these can be interesting to people who have been following SABEs work, and are fans of what he does. Even so, with a few exceptions, the sketches are of poor quality.
A recurring theme in SABEs paintings are characters from pop culture. Mostly characters from The Simpsons, like Krusty the Clown and Scratchy, but also others. The most outstanding painting in the gallery is a black and white painting of a skull and some characters from The Simpsons. This is clearly the most thoroughly done painting. Painting in this format, this is definitely where SABE makes his best work. There is no doubt of SABEs skills with a spray can, but it seems to me a fact, that graffiti is at its best in the streets and not on a small canvas in a gallery. Still, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t use spray paint for painting on canvas.