FLOATING.BSTRD: A Retrospective of 5 years of club culture poster design
Opening Thursday 29th 7-11pm 30th September - 9th October 2022
17 Soho Square LONDON
For its inaugural exhibition at its new home in 17 Soho Square, FAWW Gallery is thrilled to present Floating Bstrd (the creative alias of Serbian graphic artist Marko Vuleta-Djukanov).
Rising to prominence for his rave flyers, Floating Bstrd has for many years worked with musicians to graphically interpret their work for the purpose of event posters. Insofar as the scintillating colours and strong identity of these posters have captured the imagination of both musicians and the public, Floating Bstrd has come to be regarded as an artist in his own right. Working at the intersection of sound and visual arts, the designs possess a synaesthetic quality which reveal an attenuation to the sonority of form, or the inference a shape can make in relation to sound. The harmony of these two senses is owed simultaneously to intuition as well as a more practical position: how to relay and communicate music? To these ends, the artist remarks, ‘I see design as a tool for problem- solving that has a particular purpose and target. Staying away from routine when it comes to visual style will keep you sharp and force you to go forward (or backwards).’
The anachronism cited by the artist rings true, for many of the posters inhabit the space of retrograde futures. The works are fresh and contemporary, yet uncannily familiar, such that when we view them, we experience a distinctive double movement which propels us to the future and the past at the same time. This may be because they reminisce major art movements such as Surrealism and Modernism, and their creator is deft and learned in both referencing and reinventing their nuanced languages. Floating Bstrd’s use of cut-outs – blocks of flat colour with torn-looking edges which infer the weightless quality of paper – is one such instance. The presence of details like these in the AWEH or Kristijan Molnar posters, for example, could bring to mind the late Henri Matisse. (Struck by arthritis in his later years, Matisse had been forced to transition from painting to cut-out paper shapes).
Elsewhere, the graphic artist’s inclination towards geometric abstraction is self-evident. As though iterating upon the cut-outs, blocks of colours become animated by their compositions in joyfully tumbling stacks. Following the conceit of Cubism to distil visual reality, these works refer to perceptual exercises in colour, as well as the architectural logic of the Modernists. However, in a playful gesture or narrative twist, an occasional figure may be gleaned (Tiljana T, Christopher Tubbs or DJ Vajo Svadbe Pudla), or a hard-edged shape may be given hints of animal qualities with quirky suggestions of toes or a tail (Smala). Following these ideas to further-reaching ends, numerous posters by Floating Bstrd can be seen to do away with the principles and precepts of art history altogether. As though its sole aim were simply to bring together the remarkable pleasures of sight and sound, designs such as 121 June, Cruising, Familiar Faces and Ed Longo instead give way to psychedelic repetitions, swirling patterns and cosmic puzzles.