I snapped this photo a while ago on a street near my office. I apologize for the bad quality — it was with my cameraphone. But what I really like about this image isn’t so much the figure or its style, but how the work’s message has changed since I first laid eyes on it.
A few months ago (or, at least, that’s when I first noticed it), Berlin street artist XOOOOX threw up the original stencil of the model, sans the cut-out lines. XOOOOX is one of the most well-known street artists in Berlin, whose work is about re-contextualizing high fashion through the manipulation of luxury brands and symbols placed in the “egalitarian” streets.
Recently, XOOOOX’s work was featured in an exhibition at the CIRCLEculture gallery, which is down the road from the stencil pictured above. A big name like XOOOOX drew quite a crowd, and many items were sold.
Then a few weeks later, there came a small protest. At least, that’s how I’m interpreting it. Another artist came along and painted the dotted “Cut & Go” lines around XOOOOX’s work.
What is this addition trying to say, I wonder? Is it in defiance to galleries and art markets, which take the “street” out of street art and sell urban works to big collectors, thus rendering the pieces high-end luxury items themselves? Or, are the lines instead augmenting XOOOOX’s own criticism of luxury goods — a comment on today’s fashion on the go, temporal and insatiable? Or, is the tag “Cut & Go” in fact from the nearby hair salon of the same name? A guerrilla attempt to advise with urban cool while fronting shameless commercialization and name promotion?
Who knows? I certainly don’t. Guess only the street (and the CCTV cameras) really do.