Howard Griffin Gallery London

Howard Griffin Gallery presents Jazz, a unique synthesis between the worlds of art and music as seen through the eyes of infamous Berlin Wall artist Thierry Noir.

In the 1980s, Thierry Noir moved to Berlin to follow a burgeoning underground music scene. Berlin was the capital of alternative music at that time, from Nu Wave to Hip Hop, Punk Rock to Jazz. Fuelled by the creative energy that electrified the city in the midst of intense political and social upheavals, Noir began to spontaneously paint his characters. As Noir says, "If I had not been an artist, I would have been a musician". With Jazz, Noir returns to the musical influences that brought him to Berlin, capturing the spirit of the times through art that has come to visually define an era.

Many parallels can be drawn between Noir's iconic visual language and the music that inspired it. Clashing colours appear like discordant notes that, once played, reveal an unexpected beauty. The spontaneous nature of his practice emphasises speed, movement and immediacy; like jazz, it is never static. The dance of line and colour is instinctive and energetic. For Noir, art is a performance.

In Jazz, Noir will exhibit new works exploring the harmony of art and music. His depiction of instruments draws many allusions to Picasso, and in fact Noir has often called himself 'The Picasso of the street'. In the exhibition, Noir will show an exploration and refinement of his use of line as a primary tool. This emphasis brings his work further in line with the Primitivist tradition, elevating simplicity in form and execution to become a primary concern.

Upon entering the gallery space, the viewer will find themselves enveloped in an overwhelming sensory experience as they are drawn into Noir's world. On all sides, Noir's vivid imagery will assault and absorb the eye. The exhibition will explore the unending line of Noir's work as it moves into other forms and objects. Within the space, large scale sculptural works and playable musical instruments inspired by Noir's imagery will act as a continuation of the feeling of his works in physical space. The instant recognition of these objects show the power of Noir's artistic vocabulary and its adaptable and free flowing form. These sculptures are a collaboration between Noir and Chris Tsonias.

Chris Tsonias' practice sees discarded materials like paper and fabric reimagined into sculpture, musical instruments and functional audio speakers. Music has long been central to his work, expressed through beautifully crafted, original sculptural forms of fully functioning violins, cellos, flutes, recorders and other instruments. For Jazz, Tsonias brings to three-dimensional sculptural life a selection of Noir's most iconic images and characters.

Alongside the exhibition a series of new screen prints based around the theme of Noir's musicians will be released. Howard Griffin Gallery has also commissioned several new murals to be painted throughout the course of the exhibition by Noir in London. Throughout the run of the exhibition internationally known bands and DJs will play exclusive gigs and sets with the uniquely designed instruments in the form of Noir characters. 

Selected Press

German Embassy
Arrested Motion