A solo exhibition by SHOE featuring his most recent work at The Curators Room in Amsterdam. Internationally known for his graffiti art, Shoe created Calligraffiti; an experimentation concerning the nature and the aesthetics of the written language. Now, the artist reached what he semi-ironically calls Carrigraffiti: signs, interventions, actual paintings created by using his car as a tool.

Central to the exhibition
The car (a 1992 Buick Park Avenue) is used as a brush, it’s a utensil, whose traces create a pattern, a sign that is here, however, not merely an index: the car is central to the exhibition, presented in its glory as evident source and testimony of the pictorial signs. Interesting aspect to the works featured here –and to the active working process– is their inherent decadence. By driving over expensive spray cans with a car or by casually burning freshly made canvases, Shoe reenacts the arrogance of capitalism, in a neoliberal world where sourcing painting tools is a luxury to many. This nonchalant attitude is an ironic take to the current socio economical climate, as well as a hint to the contemporary status of the art world, often seen as increasingly elitarian.

Graffiti pioneer from Amsterdam
Niels Shoe Meulman is a visual artist, known for his gestural paintings which reveal vivid traces of graffiti and calligraphy. He revolutionized the art of writing when he initiated the Calligraffiti movement, claiming “a word is an image and writing is painting”. Being a graffiti pioneer from Amsterdam, Shoe tagged along with New York counterparts such as Dondi White, Rammellzee and Keith Haring in the 1980s. Equally influenced by the great painters of Abstract Expressionism, he gradually found his own way to translate street attitude to gallery walls.

Photo below: Yann Shoe on car, 1985, Amsterdam.

To the Dokumenta
Pulling Carrigraffiti into historical perspective, the following anecdote is more than interesting. In the mid-1980s, New York graffiti writers such as Rammellzee, Dondi, Blade, A-One and Koor visited Amsterdam. At the home of Vincent Vlasblom, one of the biggest art collectors in the Dutch art world, Rammellzee and A-One created graffiti works. Among them was a 12-cylinder Daimler, which Vlasblom had bought from racing driver Sterling Moss. The plan was to drive it to the Dokumenta**. But at the German border they were refused entry: the car was not highway-worthy with all that graffiti art, customs thought.

Photo below: Rammellzee & A-One and the 12-cylinder Daimler, The Netherlands, 80s.

Invited to join
After the grand opening of Unmovement, Amsterdam based artist Niels Shoe Meulman has been finalizing his most recent sculpture in the exhibition space at the Prinses Irenestraat 19 in Amsterdam. Everybody is invited to join on Thursday 11 May from 17 to 21 hrs for the reveal of the work and to visit Unmovement.

Part of text taken from Sara van Bussel, Milano, March 2023
Still from video ‘SHOE – CARRIGRAFFITI’ by Sander Lanen
Photos Shoe on car mid 80s by Rob Alderlieste
Photos Rammellzee & A-One by Vincent Vlasblom

* Shoe’s recent and upcoming public and gallery exhibitions include Unmovement, The Curators Room Amsterdam; Beyond the Streets London, Saatchi gallery, London ; Shoe bij Six, Jan Six, Amsterdam; What the fuck?, Straat Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Unstallation, Ghost Galerie, Marseille, France; Unidenticals and Reverse Paintings, Galerie Droste; Beyond the Streets, The Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom; Capitale(s), 60 years of urban art in Paris, Hotel de Ville, Paris, France and Post>andalism: Unruly Gallery tenth anniversary show, Het HEM, Zaandam, Netherlands. His work can be found in the permanent collections including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam ; SFMoMa, San Francisco; Museum of Graffiti, Miami and Jan Six, Amsterdam.

** Documenta is the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world and takes place once every 5 years for exactly 100 days.