Welcome back Street Art Lovers!
Today we accompany you to discover the street artist Pure Evil and some of his artworks belonging to the Nightmare series. They all were on show during the exhibition Not my circus, not my monkeys held at our Milanese venue the last autumn. In Nightmare Pure Evil portrays public figures and icons of the American cinema of the 1960s, proposing works on paper, canvas and perspex. In these works, Pure Evil refers to Andy Warhol and Pop Art, with the difference that the Welsh artist’s protagonists hide a deep sadness behind the apparent perfection of their lives, as evidenced by the characteristic tear that runs down the faces of the celebrities.
1. Marilyn classic (2022)
Mostly known as the undisputed icon of Hollywood cinema of the 1950s, in this work of Pure Evil Marilyn Monroe appears differently from how she was usually represented by Pop Art artists. In the 175×200 cm canvas, the portray of Marilyn Monroe distances itself from the desire to represent the actress at the height of success. Marilyn’s face is marked by a tear, Pure Evil in fact tries to highlight the hidden suffering behind her fame. The American actress lives a trouble existence starting from her childhood: she will never know her father, her mother suffers from schizophrenia and Marilyn spends her youth between orphanages and foster homes. Although her worldwide fame thanks to successful movies as Niagara, Gli uomini preferiscono le bionde and Come sposare un milionario, Marilyn in private can not find serenity: three failed marriages, several lovers, including the President of The United States John Kennedy, and the abuse of alcohol and drugs, which led to her death August 5 1962, at the age of only 36.
2. Basquiat (2022)
The works dedicated to Basquiat within the Nightmare series once again show the artist’s admiration for Pop Art. Pure Evil, street artist who was deeply inspired by this artistic current, in Basquiat takes up the concept of reproducing the same subject countless times and uses the silkscreen technique to do it. But that’s not all. In a second step, Pure Evil makes each of its silkscreens a 1/1 edition by finishing them by hand with spray paint and tags and makes each one unique. For Wunderkammern, Pure Evil has created 20 silkscreens with different colour combinations: from pink to green, from blue to yellow, from beige to black.
In Baquiat, Pure Evil portrays the American street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat who, together with his friend Keith Haring, succeeds in bringing American graffiti art to museums and art galleries. Again, the artist inserts a dark tear on the subject’s face, which indicates the pain that trobles Basquiat, despite his rapid rise in the art system. In 1988, in fact, the young graffiti artist prematurely died at the age of only 28, due to drug abuse from which he is never able to detox.
3. Liz Taylor – Richard Burton’s Nightmare (2014)
In this unique piece dedicated to Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, Pure Evil places a grey tear that runs down the face of the Hollywood star, referring to her tormented love story with actor Richard Burton: the two met during the filming of the colossal Cleopatra in 1962, fell in love, divorce their previous marriages and got married. From that moment on, Liz Taylor e Richard Burton become the most talked-about couple of the 1960s: protagonists of several magazine covers, mainly due to the costant, often public, quarrels and the considerable ups and downs that their relationship went through. Despite their careers proceeded very well – two Academy Awards for her and seven Academy Awards nominations for best actor him – Liz Taylor and Richard Burton definitely ended their difficult marriage in 1976, after getting married again the previous year, following the first divorce in 1974. In this small-sized canvas Pure Evil uses shocking pink as the dominant colour, both for creating the background, and for the hand finishes that crowd the actress’s hair where you can trace the most recurring writings and symbols of her artistic production: such as hearts, stylised stars and his tag the bunny with fangs.
4. Sharon Tate – Roman Polanski’s Nightmare – In flames (2022)
Sharon Tate – Roman Polanski’s nightmare – In flames represents a uniqueness within the Nightmare series by Pure Evil: work in which, although starting from a screen print with a blue background, the artist entirely hand-finishes the portrait of Sharon Tate with a fuchsia marker.
The artist portrays the Hollywood actress while she is looking ahead in a melancholy way, almost as if observing the future that was denied her on the night of the murder. Sharon Tate, in fact, was murdered on August 8, 1969, in her Cielo Drive house by members of the Manson Family sect. The death of the American actress comes just when she was beginning to be considered one of the most interesting news in Hollywood, also because of her marriage to director Roman Polanski. The drama was amplified when it is discovered that Sharon Tate, at the time of her death, should have given birth only after two weeks.
5. Pure Jackie (2016)
The artist Pure Evil in Pure Jackie represents Jackie Kennedy who wears the sadly iconic pink suit which has gone down in history as “blood dress”, with the aim of making her immediately recognizable to the viewer. Even in this small canvas Pure Evil’s reference to the subjects of Andy Warhol is evident: the artist does not represent the former first lady as a celebrity of popular culture, but he tries to highlight the dramas she faced: the murder of her husband in Dallas, the murder of her brother-in-law Bobby and the death of er second Greek husband Onassis. The street artist Pure Evil seems to go beyond the fame of the public figure, focusing on the woman who stood out for the dignity with which she faced the tragic loss of her husband.