Mr. Barlo Embraces Surreal Experiments on Hong Kong’s SoHo Streets
South of Hollywood Road in Hong Kong is often referred to as the SoHo of the city, steeped in neverending staircases that scale the pitched incline and pinched into back alleys full of skinny cats, fashionably urban youth, and a fair amount of homegrown organic graffiti and Street Art.
A home away from home for the Italian Mr. Barlo, who has explored his ideas on the streets here for four years or so, today we have examples of the creative range of ideas he is experimenting with in new wheatpastes and a recent mural (for HK Walls this spring).
“It is also the first attempt a pasting above ground – definitely not perfected yet,” he says of the undulating flag that is a metaphor for the anxiety and discomfort of changes percolating inside notions of modernism, and perhaps nationalism today.
Using the streets as a laboratory to test new ideas and techniques, Mr. Barlo is not worried that pieces may cause confusion, because whether it is surrealism or classical Western ideas of figurative beauty, all of it can be reappropriated, sliced into pieces, pulled apart and examined from within.
But whatever the implied or opaque meanings, watchers of Mr. Barlo will tell you that his technique is definitely progressing.
“These wheatpastes represent quite a new way of working for me, given the limits of paper as a medium and the higher risk of seeing work that still took hours to be made being taken down right away,” he says as he stretches to describe the experience of going out and hitting up walls as night with a friend or two with these new one-of-a-kind and often cryptically themed posters that have hidden meaning known mainly to him.
“It has been a very refreshing approach that has allowed me to work on pieces that are more focused on one specific subject while trying to still infuse character and a sense of mystery into the work.”