Borf “They Made A Desert And Called It Peace”
Friday, June 7th, 2013
Free & Open to the public
June 2013 marks our 3rd Anniversary!
Summer has arrived in Colorado and with it comes beautiful blue skies, long nights and the return of Borf. One of America’s most infamous and ingenious young artists; Borf is a part of all of us whether we like it or not. Borf represents for the rebellious and mischievous nature inherent in everyone yet expressed by few. Rarely will you find somebody with the ability to communicate in a visual context a message inside a message as effortlessly as Borf does.
In his solo show “They Made A Desert And Called It Peace” Borf will be exhibiting pieces from his critically lauded “Rothko’s Modern Life” series, as well as a new series of jokes painted on salvaged wood panels imported from Detroit. Both parts of the show reveal the artist’s wry humor as he grapples with some existential and societal qualms.
The “Rothko’s Modern Life” series pantomimes Mark Rothko’s famous color field paintings, much like a class clown behind a teacher’s back. Borf associates these multi-million dollar masterpieces to the way property owners and city officials censor his peers on the streets around the world; with large squares of mis-tinted color overlaid on each other to form a layered composition of silence. Borf: “When Mark Rothko painted his pieces he was also looking for these “pockets of silence,” as he referred to it. He put all worldly signifiers to the side and solely worked with colors to express his ideal spaces where he could ‘root and grow’ and become a better person. However, today, the most accessible form of this style of painting is done by those in control (when they paint over graffiti), and is meant to smash any emergent opposition or disregard to the laws of the arid land. The same monied forces that made Rothko’s later work so beloved by most; also ensure the truly alienated sectors of society may only speak up in the boxes designated for them to do so.” Borf touches on these points simultaneously and, seemingly, effortlessly in this series.
The joke series started on the streets of Athens, Greece in 2009 during an extended stay by Borf in which he was witnessing the beginnings of the Greek economic collapse and the subsequent austerity measures. “Austerity will always lose in the face of laughter” Borf says. That’s why he started writing one-line jokes on the walls of cities around the world since 2009. Here at Black Book Gallery, Borf displays his jokes indoors for the first time spray-painted on the familiar surfaces of Detroit’s unkept buildings. “Detroit itself has struggled with massive debt (and the usual and customary budget cuts associated with that) for many years and these surfaces are the visual imprint of ‘austere’ circumstances without the maintenance of the ever-present forces of control,” says Borf.