In 2003, when the American artist Shepard Fairey aka Obey Giant first left his mark on countless façades in Berlin-Kreuzberg in the form of ‘paste-ups’, nobody could have imagined that the subversive intervention into public spaces, which would go on to become known under the name ‘street art’, would develop into one of the most important subcultures of the modern day.
For artists like Shepard Fairey, who started out with his ‘Andre the Giant’ campaign back at the beginning of the nineties, it has always been a major priority to win back public spaces, which are increasingly being taken over by advertising, and, by means of socio-critical perspectives, also to make the observer more sensitive to their surroundings.
Shepard Fairey is meanwhile one of the most significant artists of the present day and a large number of his artworks can be found in important contemporary collections and museums. Despite this, the artist and activist is still wholeheartedly committed to supporting alternative ideas and projects that go far beyond commerce and the mainstream.
It was during their meeting last autumn that Sebastian Pohl succeeded in getting Shepard Fairey, currently one of the world’s most sought-after artists, on board for a joint project in Munich.
The result of this cooperation is a 15 x 13 metre mural, in which Fairey tackles the issue of internationally operating oil companies and their influence on global politics, warning of the permanent destruction of nature and the environment inherent in their policies. He is reminding us that this is a topic which doesn’t only concern the USA.
In 2014, for example, the British oil, gas and mining conglomerate Rose Petroleum was given permission to begin test drilling for fracking in Germany, in areas such as Weiden/Oberpfalz in Bavaria.
Leading scientists and NGOs already fear that the signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – the free trade agreement between the USA and Europe – will become a carte blanche for corporations like Exxon Mobil, and that fracking will soon also be permitted in Germany.
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