Broken Fingaz are a world-renowned artist collective from Haifa, Israel. Since its founding in 2001, its members Unga, Kip, Tant and Deso have worked prolifically on the international art scene, with a practice that extends to graphic design, animation, graffiti, music, film and installation. Their work has been exhibited in major galleries including Haifa Museum of Art and Tel Aviv Museum alongside solo shows in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, St Petersburg, Tokyo and Vienna. Broken Fingaz’ unique visual aesthetic draws on the rootless culture of their homeland, creating a visual identity for a generation of young Israelis who find themselves within the contentious and problematic Middle East. At the same time, over a decade of travelling has lead to an absorption of cultural influences from both East and West.
Using bold lines and acid colours, Broken Fingaz’ work visually alludes to 1980s comic book illustrations and pulp horror. Their distinctive subject matter explores themes of sex and death as a means of understanding human nature and the human condition. By confronting viewers with controversial and sexually explicit imagery, Broken Fingaz draw in notions of the abject through a confrontation with the baseness of humanity and its suppressed desires. Bodily dismemberment, mutilated limbs and skeletons represent not only death, but the need to understand the physical body and the unseen side of our corporeality.
In both style and subject matter, their work is heavily inspired by Japanese Shunga woodcut prints. In their recent work, this has been combined with motifs from Indian spirituality, interrogating the duality between the sacred and the profane through symbolic imagery. In this way, their art feeds off a tradition in which the East has long been used to represent the wild, primal side of humanity. Employing themes that transgress and threaten, Broken Fingaz’ intention is to shock the viewer. This is made more significant in the context of the street, as private desires invade public space.
Humorous, enigmatic and mysterious, the hallucinogenic imagery of Broken Fingaz’ work provokes a visceral reaction that disturbs conventional identity and notions of the self. In this way, their work represents a return to truly subversive public art - a practice in which undermining the foundations of social order was once a founding principle.
Broken Fingaz' exhibition Journey Galactiko opened at Howard Griffin Gallery Los Angeles on 20 June 2015 and ran until 22 August 2015.
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