When I found out Andenken was hosting the latest offering from street artist and poet Laser 3.14, I had concerns. Having never seen his work off the street, I doubted it's ability to translate. What would happen when you pulled the anonymity of Laser 3.14's work out of it's natural habitat?I did a fly by of the installation before the opening and was conflicted. At a glance, I saw a concocted line up of something that is part of our Amsterdam culture. An experience that usually happens organically has been trapped inside with it's energy compacted and compressed.
However, once inside, the work shifted in a couple of ways. First, though the materials are similar to what we see outside, the finish makes the natural textures more dynamic. The high gloss creates a tangible container for the raw content. Here, take a look:
The second shift, and definitely more poignant, is that caging this work provides us a valuable opportunity. Laser 3.14's commitment to what he does as a writer and public identity is absolute. Less than three months into living here I came across his work while walking the dog. I had no idea what the statement was, but I noticed it and now his work is stuck in my mind as an essential part of living in Amsterdam, it's iconic. It doesn't matter whether you like his messages or not - if you live here you know his signature. The opportunity then is a chance to capture a piece of Amsterdam. Like it or not, Laser 3.14 is building the culture of Amsterdam and that is worth caging and selling from time to time.
Overall, Andenken and it's Laser 3.14 tagged floor make a great cage and, after hanging out a bit with owner Hyland Mather, I got a bit of an insider tip, things are changing for our icon... so making an investment now is a VERY good idea, because it runs about 300 euro - which won't last. It shouldn't last - it's ridiculously low for keeping the city stamped with messages that make you pause at 3am and discuss - even if it's to argue about the rampant graffiti artists that need to be jailed.
You want more? There's a ton out there about Laser 3.14, just google him - here's a few of the pieces that stood out: From StreetART.nl - a great site and basic background on the man behind the can, The Essence and their interview and last but definitely NOT least the interview with CFYE - a great online rag that stands for "Crack For Your Eyes." But to get a real perspective behind the man, we recommend his new book, White Phosphorous - best read in the gallery.
Hopefully Laser 3.14 is here to stay - but his work may not be - catch it if you can at Andenken (Passanistraat 17, Amsterdam), but if you can't make it to the site, you can invest online here.