Galleria MLF is proud to inaugurate the exhibition ICONIC | IRONIC; a group show of three talented illustrators, Neal Fox, Fausto Gilberti and Hell’O Monsters, who make their singular elegy to the great masters of art, with an ironic and playfully sarcastic work of desecration-consecration.
Their respect and admiration for these masters is demonstrated through the iconoclastic confrontation and comparison seen this apparently irreverent and light-hearted show of their work. The three illustrators attempt to interpret these great artists, praise them and go beyond them with a series of witty laudatory and deconstructive citations. A rather impertinent homage by these three which stems from their admiration and deference of the protagonists of the “old school”, who still represent powerful references and inspiration today for their immediate recognition, their unrivalled professions and personal lives. In this exhibition they become source of inspiration for surreal and dreamlike suggestions, puzzles and paradoxes in a fun and caustic journey, that enhances through their drawing technique, the strong individuality of each illustrator, transversely linked by an ironic, mocking trait.
Neal Fox's works are a melting pot of Pop culture inspired nightmares in which legendary personalities are idolised and desecrated at the same time. Irreverent and obsessive, his contorted vision portray figures such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalì torn from their habitual contexts and engaged in grotesque, violent episodes. Sometimes they are accompanied by renowned serial killers or famous invented characters such as Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald, thus turning their cultural significance upside down. Definable as modern phantasmagoria — close to the style of Robert Crumb and Otto Dix — Fox's work is a masterful blend of black humour and Theatre of the Absurd.
The true protagonists of Fausto Gilberti's work are his little, monochrome men. These elemental figures with large, round eyes and a droll expression of wonder, impersonate and mime well-known persons and events. With his comic strip style laced with a hefty dose of cynicism, Gilberti ironizes the dramatic actions of Marina Abramovic, or exasperates the comic vein which pervades the famous video The Way Things Go (1987) by Fischli and Weiss. Paradoxical personal interpretations of popular culture set in an everyday scenario, easily recognisable contents and immediacy of expression are fundamental elements in these art works.
Hell'O Monsters is a Belgian artist collective composed of Jérôme Meynen, François Dieltiens and Antoine Detaille. The three artists successfully blend their individual styles to create an imaginary scenario filled with hybrid characters: monsters with multiple eyes, two-headed human beings, mutant animals inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. Both tender and at the same time gruesome, these make-believe beings inhabit the impossible spaces found in the works of M. C. Escher. Short narratives mock the frailty of humankind through a series of metaphysical reflections and sheer nonsense.
Neal Fox (London, 1981) studied graphic design at Camberwell College of Art and illustration at the Royal College of Art, London. He started his career as a graphic-illustrator for The Guardian, The Independent and The Times, until his talent was noted by galleries such as Daniel Blau (London) and Suzanne Tarazieve (Paris) which have hosted numerous personal exhibitions from 2009 to today. He exhibited at Art Basel in 2008 and 2009.
Fausto Gilberti (Brescia, 1970), winner of the Premio Cairo 2007 and the Premio Acacia-Miart 2004, lives and works in Brescia. He has exhibited in many national and international institutions such as the Triennale di Milano (Schermi delle mie brame, 2014), Museo d'arte Contemporanea di Lissone (MB) (Il collasso dell’entropia, 2014), Proje4L Elgiz Contemporary Art Museum, Istanbul (Alienation | Estrangement, 2013), Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (L’arte incontra il rock, 2011), and Colleccìon VAC, IVAM, Valencia, Spain.
Hell’O Monsters (Brussels, 1990) is an artistic collective composed of Jérôme Meynen, François Dieltiens and Antoine Detaille. From their origins in the world of street art, they soon started to exhibit in galleries and contemporary art fairs such as Agnes B Gallery, Paris - Hong Kong; Espai Tactel Art Gallery, Valencia, Spain; A.L.I.C.E Gallery, Brussels; Art Brussels; Drawing Now Paris and Pulse Miami.