Give Me A Piece Of Bread: Stroke Urban Art Fair

Stroke Urban Art Fair opened yesterday evening with a mass of urban art lovers from Berlin coming together, as if in some sort of ritual, to Postbahnhof. Our Berlin Art Week reporter and video journalist, Melissa Longenecker, set out to the fair to capture what was going down the first evening. After a stimulating evening with various interviews with Stroke artists, the worst thing imagineable happened: All of the video footage was destroyed! Melissa recounts her Stroke experience and the video drama in the narrative that follows.

Stroke Urban ArtCapturing the Arab Spring? Stroke Urban Art Fair. Photo: Björn Nitzsche 

Imprints of immediacy, freedom, tactical street art application and marketplace wagers wafted through Stroke Urban Art Fair as the motley bedecked crowd poured over sprayed on, cut out, torn, pilfered, painted, photoed, sculpted works filling the eclectic Gothic brick styling of Berlin’s Postbahnhoff. The crowd, young by most accounts, grayed in others, all teemed with an energy unapparent in most art fairs, possibly due to the fact that most I spoke with were newly inaugurated to the art fair at large.

Beer, Homeopathic Goods and Urban Artists

Speaking with Pao, an Italian street artist-cum-studio painter, I was struck by his indelible drive and purity of his oil on canvas. Influenced largely by the Surrealists, with a sprinkling of Miyazaki, Murakami and perhaps a bit of Jay DeFeo’s sculpted canvas, in the works, Pao infused his canvas’s with dreamy bright blue sky-filled landscape imagery painted over three dimensional elements collaged on the surfaces. Further on, I met Caspar Hüter who gently placed a packet marked Bier-globuli in my hand, insisting the homeopathic distillation of hops was far more invigorating than its more common formulation in beer. We shifted to viewing his monumental figurative sculpture crafted from mini-blinds and standing a good six meters tall at the entrance of Stroke Curated. 

Hüter, previously a stonemason by trade, future architect and one among a familial lineage of artists, had a surprisingly well placed ego. We spoke at length about the physicality of his work and his refusal of highly mediated digital media. He said, these hands are stonemason’s hands and my thoughts are expressed most directly through them. Taking in his sculpture, this was readily apparent.

A Bike Accident – The Aftermath of Stroke Footage

The fair boasted books, sculpted drywall lifted and re-sculpted from the walls themselves, skateboards, collaborative paint ventures, full wall sprays and so much more available for the tasting. Moreover, I’d like to have offered you avid berlin-artparasites readers full-on video of these works, interviews, artists and others, as well as, the wondrous crowd at Stroke’s opening night but alas, upon leaving, I decided to do a dolly shot from my bike, taking in the looming vista of the Postbahnhof to the famed East Side Gallery which it sits beside. Beautiful in theory, my focused attention on remnants of The Berlin Wall coated in layers of paint, graffiti gone outdoor gallery, and my general lack of awareness of an oncoming biker set me and my camera on a course for destruction, slammed between a fence and concrete slab, my camera crashing near totalled on the street.

Perhaps this is the immediacy skate video cameramen talk of, the thrill of the unexpected experienced by street sprayers, or perhaps it’s residue of some Bermuda triangle arising from a urban art fitted into a fair, or perhaps I’m romanticizing. It is certainly no less than incredibly dissapointing. While I can assure you my footage of excited artists, fascinated viewers, loads of raw energy filled, street inspired art and funky flaneurs, was by far more interesting than my written account, the camera is dead and the night lost in images, save the few I was able to recover before the card gave up the ghost. I can only hope that I can get my hands on another camera, my leg has recovered and that Stroke’s second day is near as exciting as the first. 

Tune back in to berlin-artparasites.com for Melissa’s second visit to the Stroke Urban Art Fair… We’re excited to see what awaits!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the dramatic bike accident and damaged equipment, our beloved readers must wait a bit longer for Melissa’s Stroke coverage! Let’s hope the media gods are kind… 

Postbahnhof Stroke Urban Art Fair, September 13th-16th 2012: Thursday 13th 7pm-12pm, Friday-Sunday 1pm-11:30pm. 10€, student ticket 8€ on Friday 14th, under 16 years old free.