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April 27, 2018 to June 01, 2018

Pretty Portal presents the exhibition ODD MARKS, with selected works that can be called Calligraffiti.Calligraffiti is combination of Calligraphy, Typography and Graffiti. It is related to abstract expressionism and abstract vandalism. Calligraffiti contrasts the beauty of scripture with the provocation of it’s placement, it’s precision with the impulsivity of it’s execution, the tradition of the scripture used with the modernity of the interpretation.

We are happy to present BLAQK, EGS, Jun Inoue, Patrick Hartl and Zepha as an interesting selection of some of the most progressive artists of this movement. The participating artists are from Japan, France, Finland and Germany. Additionally we show TOM71, a Calligraffiti artist from Düsseldorf. Due to their different geographical and cultural backgrounds, leading to fundamentally different calligraphic heritages, the exhibition will show an exciting mix of different new interpretations of the classic clash with scripture.


BLAQK-EGS-Jun Inoue-Patrick Hartl-TOM71-Vincent Abadie Hafez / ZEPHA


Blaqk is a collaboration of the two greek artist Greg Papagrigoriou and Chris Tzaferos (Simek) Blaqk’s style is a combination of graphic elements – calligraphic forms, letters, lines, geometric shapes, patterns, negative space, textures. They work in the studio as well as the public space. Greg works mostly with calligraphy and sometimes with geometric forms while Simek works with geometric shapes and lines. They have participated in numerous exhibitions, festivals & projects around the world.


EGS (*1974, Helsinki) is a self-proclaimed graffiti anthropologist. He has been pivotal in the historical documentation and dissemination of the graffiti practice itself. An artist-archivist spurred by an intense desire to explore both the formal and folkloric truths of graffiti, to uncover its deeply social and material foundations.
While EGS’ output is becoming increasingly abstract, his ongoing illicit works are the result of long and intense study’s of the graffiti form, in which he has juxtaposed the different eras he loves through a collagist style.
EGS started out in the mid 1980s as part of the first wave of graffiti in Finland. Since then he travelled the globe to both paint and investigate, to build relationships and share knowledge with many other artists.
One of EGS’s main motifs are world Maps, usually pen-and-ink renderings in his classic “inkblot” style, which are deeply influenced by the calligraphic essence of graffiti. EGS twists and reshapes the topography until it proclaims his own name. The maps exemplify his inimitable chirographic style of graffiti. Egs use of the deep black Indian Ink in his fine art work forces the viewer to see the equivalent purity and complexity of his graffiti images. Moreover, through using the tool of a syringe to paint, he intimates both toward the outcast role of graffiti as well as the backstage environments where this art is often created. The maps Egs has produced, are not only an abstracted version of the world map however; they also play with the idea of europeans conquering “new” continents and dividing them with pen and ruler. They reference the power of ink to effect our environments, the ability of paint to radically change the way we understand space.
Egs paintings are part of numerous private collections and can be seen in the Finnish National Gallery.

Jun Inoue

Jun Inoue combines traditional japanese calligraphy with gesturual painting from the era of the informel in his works, creating images reminicent of german artist K.O. Götz. In his works he reinterprets the „Sen“ inspired aspects of authentic japanese handwork, and combines them with wildstyle graffiti. This way he unites tradition and modern influences. Jun Inoue paints his pictures both in his studio and on walls. His works can be seen in galeries all around the globe.

Patrick Hartl

Patrick Hartl (*1976) is a German contemporary artist with a passion for handwriting and lettering. As of age 15, he was painting Graffiti and learning the ropes of art within the urban sphere. His graphic studies revealed a love for calligraphy and stylized writing with deep roots in the gothic script of his native Germany. Patrick Hartl connects old craftsmanship with modern street style – with a fantastic result.
On closer inspection, Hartl’s seemingly monochrome works turn out to be the result of a multitude of layers of paint and a colourful diversity. His favourite canvas is a ten-years-old wall, which has been bombed, cleaned, bombed again, crashed, washed, damaged, but which always tells a new and unique story. As a master of handcrafted designs and analogue works, and one of the foremost urban calligraphers, Patrick Hartl has been involved in making art for more than two decades.
An avid collaborator, Hartl belongs to the “CALLIGRAFFITI AMBASSADORS” and, in addition to exhibiting in traditional galleries from New York to Buenos Aires to Tokyo, and he has painted murals across Europe and beyond.


TOM71 is a german urban artist, who was one of the first graffiti writers from Düsseldorf. His works are a symbiosis between typography, calligraphy and graffiti, belonging to the new art form „Calligraffiti“. During the last years his works focused on evolving the connection between scripture, form and colour.


In a choreography showing a virtuoso-like ease, Vincent Abadie Hafez “Zepha” composes a ritual score that frees the letter from its semiotic restraint, thus keeping only the essence of a certain kind of aesthetics, the cultural bearing of a symbol. Interlacing characters of mixed origins give structure to a multiplicity of contrasts. Formal logic and confusion in lines, instinctive pragmatism and gestures, the anchoring point is embodied in the movement, and the abstraction emerging from it. The whole unfolds a condensed rhythmics, galvanized by regular spaces, silent, and sometimes even unsuspected breathings, revealing a demanding and involving artwork. The gesture is technical, legatee of ancestral calligraphic practices and is being enriched by an urban context, contrasting and unexpected, so essential to the artist.
The imbrication of arabic shapes and latin characters writes the premises of a collective history, of a timeless language, of an abstraction to be interiorized. Our alphabets as disparate as they may be, hold a unifying significance, transcending the origins of each of us. To calligraph in order to unite, Zepha’s work is impregnated with his values, like an incantation to what is universal, a contemporary humanism induced by the power of the symbol, common foundation to civilizations, revealed by an art going beyond all frontiers, all alterity.


Galerie Pretty Portal

Brunnenstr. 12

Duesseldorf 40223


Opening reception 27.04. 19-22h
MO – FR 11-19h
and by appointment

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