Forum Box serves as a great partner for EGS’s latest exhibition, Constantly Dreaming of Concrete, allowing the artist to indulge his love of concrete through the space’s surfaces. The architecture and surfaces of the Forum Box make up part of Helsinki’s concrete jungle, a geography that the artist EGS has explored as an adventurer in the city, across its wastelands, and by its bridges. He has both onlooker and participant as concrete bursts into bloom and graffiti takes over Helsinki.
EGS belongs to a generation that feared nuclear war and associated concrete with bomb shelters and walls dividing Europe. A little later, these walls were painted frantically and people danced in illegal raves in bomb shelters as these structures brought together young people like EGS, who traveled around a formerly divided Europe getting to know each other through their shared pursuit of concrete. Today, EGS continues to travel the world in search of concrete landscapes that unite instead of divide.
The Forum Box exhibition features paintings, sculptures, and installations in a way that ultimately makes the entire gallery an installation that the viewer walks through. EGS has grown concrete plants, built mass media sculptures with a rougher aesthetic seeking to emulate the authentic aesthetics of abandoned spaces. Within this space the visitor can see paintings featuring strong colors and raw expressive forms, as well as a selection of EGS’ new glass sculptures incorporating a new found diversity to this strand of his work, which brings a street aesthetic to the practice of glass blowing . They are unrestrained and courageous. The exhibition as a whole is a holistic experience for the visitor, not just an aesthetic experience.
EGS is a visual artist who has held several exhibitions in Finland and abroad. He is currently exhibiting at the the first Helsinki Biennial and has previously held major solo shows at the Finnish Glass Museum and at the Kunsthalle Helsinki. The name EGS itself came about as his graffiti tag, though the artist has metamorphosed across the ages into an artist brand who, at the same time, continues a life in pursuit of concrete surfaces.
The 19-year-old EGS interrailed in Europe looking for new paintings, spending time with foreign graffiti painters. He read Esa Saarinen`s Imagologies, as well as academic texts on political history on the train, while listening to The Orb on his Sony Walkman. At 25 he went to live in London where he studied art and graphic design. He was caught between graffiti and practicing the visual arts formally yet made the most important graffiti of his career. He read The Guardian, listened to pirated radio stations, and hung out at drum and bass squat parties. The 47-year-old EGS now lives in Helsinki and works as a full-time visual artist. He tells stories through a repetition of the three letters E, G and S within his artworks, which can be seen in museums and galleries. He is still looking for industrial hinterlands.
More works by EGS is also on display at the Helsinki Biennial this summer!