Calligraffiti: Letters of Independence
The Salamatina Gallery is pleased to host an unprecedented installation, Calligrafﬁti: Letters of Independence, by the cutting-edge artist Niels Shoe Meulman. This unique project will open on the evening of Thursday, July 1st with a live Calligrafﬁti performance. During his opening-night performance, Meulman will literally rewrite the 1776 Declaration of Independence on site at the Salamatina Gallery. His Re-Declaration, which will take place over several days, will highlight all 1,337 of the historic words, resulting in 262 U.S. letter-sized pieces, executed in ink on paper. Showcasing the artistʼs ﬂuid and hypnotic style, these “Letters” will remain on view and for sale until July 27.
According to the author Adam Eeuwens: “Calligrafﬁti is a combination of traditional calligraphy coupled with the speed of modern-day grafﬁti. It is an amalgam of an ancient, reﬁned art form, fused with the raw force of rebellious street art. It combines the rhythm and regularity of Frakturʼs precise stroke with the perfect accidents of the vertical drip and splatter of the horizontal drop, creating a synthesis of opposites.” Meulman, one of the pioneers of this revolutionary art form, will break new ground by reinterpreting a document of the length and signiﬁcance of the Declaration of Independence. The document has special meaning for the Amsterdam-based artist, who embraces elements of American culture as a whole, whether it be Pop Art, advertising, product packaging, skateboarding, grafﬁti or car design. “My work is dedicated to the art of writing,” Meulman explains. “I am inspired by ancient Japanese brush characters, Arabic pictorial script, illuminated medieval books and ﬂourish-ﬁlled quill writing, of which the Declaration of Independence is one of the most beautiful and eloquent examples. My interest in this document runs deeper than its being an emblem of U.S. courage and democracy. Its powerful words set forth human rights which are universal and resonate with my own personal beliefs, especially with regards to taking risks in order to exercise oneʼs freedom of expression.”
Niels Meulman (b. Amsterdam, 1967) is an internationally recognized artist, graphic designer, and art director. Meulman began tagging under the pseudonym Shoe in 1979 and became a grafﬁti legend by the time he was 18. In the 1980ʼs, he met New York artists like Dondi, Rammellzee, Haze, Quik and Keith Haring. He then formed the Crime Time Kings with Bando from Paris and Mode2 from London. Together, these seminal groups gave a distinctive style to grafﬁti in Europe. In the 1990ʼs, he furthered his technique by apprenticing under the Dutch graphic design master, Anthon Beeke. Meulman ran his own design company, Caulﬁeld & Tensing, and was a partner in the advertising agency Unruly, which he later turned into a brand for silk scarves.
Calligrafﬁti was ﬁrst shown in a large solo exhibition in Amsterdam in 2007. Since then, it has become a revered art form and Meulmanʼs pieces (signed NSM) have been exhibited in over a dozen international exhibitions. The artistʼs designs and works are also in the permanent collections of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as part of numerous private collections. In 2010, the book Calligrafﬁti -The Graphic Art of Niels Shoe Meulman was co-written by Adam Eeuwens and published by From Here to Fame Publishing, Berlin. Salamatina Gallery is the ﬁrst venue in the United States to host the Calligrafﬁti tour – a series of lectures, exhibitions, book signings and site-speciﬁc Calligrafﬁti events around the world, during which books, markers, T-shirts, silk scarves and art by Meulman are for sale. This tour will include other events in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York.
Salamatina Gallery [MAP]
2032 Northern Boulevard
Manhasset, New York 11030