Hello My Name is No: A Bitchslap to the Modern Society

mackevich mickey mouseAmong all the European cities, paying the credit to the contemporary art, Barcelona is one of the greatest. Someday, wandering around, and searching for such big names as Gaudi and Dali, you will suddenly stumble upon a real jewel of art. You will open your mouth in admiration, and utter, “This is it!” For me, “it” was “Hello My Name is No”  modestly presented in El Barri Gòtic free of charge, while its famous “companero” Dali was resting next door for 10 euro entrance fee.

The striking exhibition with an ambiguous name has been available in four languages (Catalan, Spanish, English and Russian) and authored by someone named V Mackevich (Мацкевич) – an artist of an evident Russian origin, supposedly choosing Barcelona as his temporary residence. Unsurprisingly enough, I have never heard about him, and, as it appeared later, little could be found about him in Wikipedia. In fact, nothing at all. He was a mystery yet to be solved.

hellomynameisno

So, what is so prominent about him? Similarly to other contemporary artists, Mackevich takes a non-standard approach experimenting with shape and material. However, the way he does it is by far more interesting and skilful, than anything you have seen before. Every work of his is different. It is dramatic, and ironic at the same time. It puts challenge to the modern society. It makes your mind wonder if what you are doing is right. To my mind “Hello my name is no” is a major manifestation of peace in the world. The author aims at an average human being, trying to pause his routine life cycle, and make him look at his actions from aside.

The exhibition opens with two ink portraits Francis and Pablo, filled in, or rather drawn with a help of short tiny, almost invisible words and sentences in Russian. Every line and stroke of a painting is designed with the help of the handwriting. The interesting thing about it is that the words convey  special meaning. They characterise the person, portrayed. They describe the things and phenomena that surrounds this person in his/her daily life, and reveal some common colloquial and often grammatically incorrect phrases that he, or she might use. For example, Francis is “shaped” by such phrases as “You should drink less” (Пить меньше надо), or “You are preparing for a suicide, but do not confess in it to yourself.” All these create rather a psychological portray than a physical one, and allows us to look deeply into the person’s soul, instead of merely observing his appearance.

pablo_mackevichUntitled

After Francis and Pablo, there comes Vincent, another portray made from… coloured pencils. You got it right. It wasn’t drawn WITH pencils, it was made FROM it.

In the next art work you see a skinned man, with all his muscular system on display, and a black censor below the belt. This is called “Pure feeling” . Behind the man there are handwritten words, again in Russian: Когда закрываешь глаза, не чувствуешь ни гуччи, ни бэ-эм-вэ… А чувствуешь любовь, чувствуешь что дышишь.. (When you close your eyes, you  feel neither Gucci, nor BMW, you feel love, you feel you are breathing.) These few simple words explain the complex notion of life very clearly. It is not material things that matter.

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Any person, who has ever studied art in his life knows that in the classic school text normally is not permitted. However, the modern waves has changed this rule completely. Using the text to accompany his art works is one of the favourite Mackevich moves. “The faith perspective of the modern society” displays Jesus Christ hanged on a road sign with a background of poorly made graffiti, resembling those that you can frequently see in the toilets. By making this weird arrangement, the author achieves to create a bright contrast between the real faith and the overall cultural and spiritual level of the contemporary world. One of the highlighted graffiti phrases  says “Не продавай соул” (Don’t sell your soul). The word “soul” was deliberately left in English, and spelled with Cyrillic letters, to stress the popular anglicization of native words, and to show that sometimes we use words which appear in songs and media, and seem to be cool, but we don’t get too far to reach the real meaning of it.

hello my name is no mackevich

Jesus Christ also appears crucified on a Facebook logo, and is already eloquent enough to give any further explanations. It seems that the author wants to say “This is the thing you are worshipping now, people. Do you really want to do it? Is it worth it”.

mackevich_facebook_1Untitled

As his favourite “canvas”, the artist chooses… the weapons. Guns, swords, and axes are filled in with small paintings and again words full of meaning. Among his most prominent works are “Make art no war”, “Iron and nature”, and “Iron and art”. The surface of the weapons is filled with flowers, animals, and people’s faces. One says, “Hello soldier”, and then continues “the wind, the ocean…”. All this is aimed at the appreciation of life and prevention of killings and violence.

ironandnature_mackevichironandart

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All in all, “Hello my name is no”, or “Привет, меня зовут НЕТ!” as it is called in Russian represents the modern society from different angles, and often reveals the darkest sides of human nature. It praises the spirit, and contemplates the material. It encourages people to live in peace, rather than fight and kill. It is absolutely amazing. Take a chance to see it live, while it is still in Barcelona. The current exhibition will be available till the 15th of October at El Barri Gòtic, Carrer dels Arcs 5.

UC

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Comments
One Response to “Hello My Name is No: A Bitchslap to the Modern Society”
  1. vilks12 says:

    Hope the people will see it, understand it and will take it to account 🙂

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