Mick La Rocks exclusive report about Boris Tellegen in MiMa

Posted on February 09, 2017

Thanks to the more than crazy friday night rush hour in the city and a close encounter with Brussels’ traffic control for unintended speeding, we arrive an hour late, but we’re here and very excited about what is to come. We have seen a couple of sneak previews online and can’t wait to see the show ourselves.

I have known Boris personally since the 90’s, visited his studio over the years and followed his development. Boris was always 5 steps ahead of most others in the graffiti scene: his 3-D style graffiti of the 90’s, the combining of industrial design with graffiti letters from the 00’s and the total autonomity of his current work.

I have always admired his art, his never ending eye for detail and perfection, his level of production: sometimes I wonder if Boris ever sleeps.

‘A Friendly Takeover’  is the sum of over 20 years of all of the above.

The show starts with a glimpse into the earlier years of pure graffiti, mixed with current work, displayed in corridors designed by Boris and built from wood.

Curator Daniel Hofstede did not choose for a traditional museum display. Not every work (whether it is a drawing, a blackbook, a painting or an installation) can be viewed as a whole. There are layered scenes created in the corridors and the glass displays. The individual works are shown as part of a bigger composition and overlap each other. Surely: the eye never gets bored in this exhibition. Frustrating: not being able to see the whole works. My favorite canvas was hidden behind 2 other works. (Am I glad I know this one from the studio).

Good thing: there is So. Much. Work.

It does not matter not to be able to view every piece in its entirety.

The choices of display force the viewer to humble down to such an amazing amount of work. Intense work. Layered work. In materials that vary from fragile blotting paper to cold and shiny bronze, from wood and cardboard to painted canvas.

In sizes that vary from a small plastic figurine in between drawings to a huge, almost desolate hand painted mural.  From a moving miniature freight train inside of the biggest installation to a  hidden floor. From an original 1984 Dondi drawing to Boris’ early photography.

This show uncovers the friendly soul of the artist and a lifetime of exceptional art work. Boris Tellegen’s work took over. The title of the exhibition is well chosen.

Photograpy and text: Aileen Middel/Mick La Rock.