SELF PORTRAIT WITH VASELINE
UNGA – Self portrait with vaseline
Oil on canvas
100 x 150 cm, 2019
The BFC’s aesthetic draws on the rootless culture of their homeland, creating a visual identity for a generation of young Israelis. At the same time, over a decade of traveling, between Haifa, Asia and Europe, has led to an absorption of cultural influences from both East and West, the natural place they find themselves as citizens in the problematic Middle East.
Using bold lines and acid pop colours, Broken Fingaz Crew’s work visually alludes to ‘80s comic book illustrations and pulp horror. Exploring two of art history’s oldest themes – sex and death – the BFC’s humorous, controversial and often sexually explicit imagery contemplates notions of the abject through a confrontation with the baseness of humanity and its suppressed desires. Bodily dismemberment, mutilated limbs and skeletons represent not only death, but the need to understand the physical body and the unseen side of our corporeality.
In both style and subject matter, their work is also inspired by Japanese Shunga woodcut prints from the Edo period. In their recent work, this has been combined with motifs from Indian spirituality, interrogating the duality between the sacred and profane through symbolic imagery. In this way, their art feeds off a tradition in the East where art has long been used to express the imperfect or primal side of the human spirit. With their transgressive themes, Broken Fingaz’ intention is to provoke the viewer; this is made more significant with their work in the street, as private desires invade the public space.
Enigmatic and mysterious, the psychedelic imagery of Broken Fingaz’ work provokes a visceral reaction that disturbs conventional identity and notions of the material self. In this way, their work represents a return to truly subversive public art – whose aim is to disrupt the foundations of the established social order.
Elucidating the importance of their contributions to the shape of the contemporary culture in Israel, the BFC’s work was presented at exhibitions at Israel’s most important institutes: the Tel Aviv Museum (2011) and the Haifa Museum of Art (2010). Since then they have been invited to exhibit around the world. Solo exhibitions include: The Old Truman Brewery, London, (Crazy Eye Hotel, 2012) Inoperable, Vienna (BFC in Vienna, 2012), Andenken Gallery, Amsterdam (BFC in Amsterdam, 2013, You Will Die Today, 2015) Urban Spree, Berlin (Bottleneck, 2013), MEN Gallery, London, (Sex Picnic, 2014) and Howard Griffin Gallery, Los Angeles (Journey Galaticko, 2015). The crew have produced two stop motion films, the most recent a commission for Cut Out Festival, Queretaro, Mexico, La Fabrica (2013). Their public murals can be seen on the streets of cities in China, Japan, Cambodia, Brazil, Israel, UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Mexico and more.Embedded in contemporary pop culture, the collective regularly produce artworks for musicians such as Blink 182, Pearl Jam, Primus, Gaslamp Killer, U2, Alchemist, Gonjasufi and more.