Berlin-based street art collective Mentalgassi, whose members remain anonymous, have had their work exhibited at galleries in London, Miami and Germany. Their wheat-pasted installations draw on the city environment for inspiration – “people going by bike, riding the subway, the harbour, music, crowded parks in the summer, the city by night…” – and have appeared, unofficially, all over the world. Transforming everyday street fixtures and fittings – from ticket machines to buildings – their cut-up poster technique aims to “reduce anonymity in public space”. Blowing up photocopy-style images to cover walls and objects, the works add a sense of fun and surprise to grey city streets.
Originally a group of graffiti artists, Mentalgassi evolved into a group producing work that was more accessible to everybody. They began to realise that they wanted to react with the city’s shapes and aesthetic, to make work that highlighted areas that would normally go overlooked, and some people didn’t see traditional graffiti as something that achieved that. Altering their work to stop it being strictly defined as graffiti has allowed the collective to install on and off the
street in institutes, museums and galleries. This evolution allows them to be seen legitimately by a broad spectrum of people, and their skill in adapting to different environments and situations, means the work they produce all has one common goal – to make an urban space visually more appealing. The idea of “the city belonging to the people, and art being for everyone” is at the centre of what the collective do and they describe their paste-ups as being for “everybody that’s interested, open-minded and willing to open their eyes”. (source .dazeddigital.com)