Walking among the streets of Berlin, pedestrians encounter a U-Bahn ticket machine with the face of a blonde woman, her mouth the ticket receptacle. Utility poles are covered by a large-than-life size photo of an angry (or happy, or surprised) individuals. A concrete dividing wall with an overhanging tree is painted with the face of a woman, the leaves and branches as a full head of “curly” hair. These are some of the examples of the street art found throughout Berlin, and the work of Mentalgassi.
The trio met in school, and like many young adults in the 21st century, become interested in new media techniques, experimenting with graffiti and attempting to stay ahead of the police, who made it their goal to remove Mentalgassi’s artworks as soon as possible. As they completed school, they began to investigate other media for expression, including photography and printing.
They began creating their signature pieces in 2007 when they started dabbling in placing photographs of people (usually family and friends) on 3D items such as the recycling bins scattered about Berlin. They were exploring the combination of humans and everyday items and used photographs with exuberant expressions to entertain and intrigue their audiences.
What Makes Mentalgassi Unique
Photographs have been used in collage works for years, but in public locations, placed on—and utilizing the shape and purpose of—interesting objects was relatively unheard of when Mentalgassi began taking over the streets of Berlin.
They are quick to note that the quirkiness of Berlin has much to do with their success. It is uniquely unemotional, with supporters and opponents alike, neither of whom make any loud noise one way or the other about the images found throughout the city.
In Berlin, the trio has created:
- Public Intimacy
- Many other unnamed pieces
In Bilbao, the group moved their wit and works for a public exhibition, decorating balloons with faces for the Getxo Photo exhibition and setting them out in the harbor. In Serbia, they continued the human faced-balloons at the Novi Sad EXIT music festival, releasing them over the crowd.
In addition, they have worked on the following projects:
- Amnesty International. This collaboration led to additional displays of support for people wrongly imprisoned.
- Pori Art Museum “Street Art: The New Generation”
- Pimp My Carroça in Brazil. Mentalgassi used their talents to entertain visitors for the World Cup while promoting recycling efforts.
Mentalgassi’s focus has primarily been on urban life, and those public mechanisms which people take for granted (like recycling bins, fences, brick walls) as part of the tools of our existence. Their works have breathed life into the monotony of urban existence, providing interest and a laugh for passersby.
At Sybaris, we strive to find unique works of art in locations worldwide. From emerging to established artists in mediums as small as tiny digital prints and as large as installation art, we help our clients discover art which appeals to them, arranging for purchase and shipping, framing, and display. Our exclusive ARTClub events provide members with limited access to new artists, with special access to new pieces not found anywhere else. For those looking for a custom work of art for their established collection or specific display, our curator can help you find the perfect piece for your taste!