Graphic Surgery was set up by is an Amsterdam collective set up by Erris Hugens and Gysbert Zijlstra. Their visual output combines hard- edged abstraction with influences of Dutch modernism and graffiti from the past, present and future. Interview by Eko from Ekosystem.
Eko – Can you tell me about some of your influences?
EH&GZ – Major influences are Dutch art and design, particularly artists like Theo van Doesburg, Joost Baljeu and Piet Mondrian, alongside international artists and movements like Franz Kline, Malevich, Constructivism, Futurism. We are also influenced by the creation and demolition of modern architecture. We like the spontaneous freestyle effects of failure and so called glitch.
Eko – Would you add the city of Amsterdam to your influences?
EH&GZ – As it is the city we live in we are influenced by it, but Amsterdam is a relatively small city, and there isn’t much undeveloped space left . We love to travel to other cities.
Eko – You have collaborated with various graffiti and street artists and recently have had a few shows in galleries. Do you still feel close to the street art scene?
EH&GZ – We started with art in the streets as a joke in 1999, we did not take it very seriously. Placing posters that did not make any sense on walls in cities. Every now and then we apply our work in public space. It’s very interesting and inspiring to work with other ‘street’ and graffiti artists. For us it was never really a case of wanting to be part of the street-art or graffiti scene. We realize that our work in public space can be labelled as an abstract form of graffiti (letters or drawings on walls). If an exhibition concept from a gallery/ art institution is honest and we fit in we have no problem with the label street art or graffiti. Still we prefer to stay out of any box.
Eko – What draws you to say that’s the right place for my work?
EH&GZ – We have a strong preference for untouched surfaces in abandoned, industrial places. Unfortunately, spaces like these are extremely hard to find in the Netherlands. Luckily we know several artists who have a keen eye on spotting these for us.
Eko – What are your current plans?
EH&GZ – We will continue to paint on walls and create art. In May we’ll be painting a big wall in Poznan, Poland. We have a wide variety of upcoming projects, within art, fashion and music. We will participate in several group exhibitions in Amsterdam, France and elsewhere.