EMBRACING LIFE’S FRAGILITY: BRYANT GILES IN BERLIN

Everyone is seen inside out: On November 24th, Bryant Giles opened his first solo exhibition in Germany, titled “I am alive?” at Schlachter151, the creative space and gallery behind OOR Studio, reflecting on what it essentially means to be alive now.

With his 32 works of paintings and drawings, sculptures  and a video work, Giles challenges themes of mental health, societal issues and human existence and starts a conversation that invites everyone seeking for honesty and pureness. Impressions of a very special evening in Berlin.

Bryant Giles’ work feels like a modern form of social studies, a moment in life that everybody can relate to, an exchange that touches the soul. The internationally celebrated artist and designer born and raised in Chicago  and now working between Tokyo and Los Angeles – although at the same time living a nomadic life being constantly on the move –  brought his work transcending traditional art concepts and ideas to Berlin. In his unique solo exhibition, supported by Premiata, he explores the human psyche to bring us closer to the answer of what it really means to be alive and shows exclusively for Berlin created works that are based on his memory, exploring the concept of time that for Giles is nothing else but God. He reinterprets persons he has met in drawings, poems, sculptures or biblical references. Some of the people pictured battle with addiction others depression. He depicts their flaws not as flaws, but as battle scars if will. Bryant wants each portrait to be a mirror of the economy, mental health and self depiction. „At this point, it’s just a way of me giving a home for all the people I’ve met. The millions of faces I’ve seen in the hundreds of places I’ve been that all have stories , names and people who care about them. That I may and most times never will see again. I use the memory of their image to narrate my own pains and loves. And in the most human way, doing that helps me see myself in everyone. Every portrait of you is a portrait of me“, explains Giles in a Numéro Berlin conversation with artist Ruba Abu-Nimah. 

In a time that is highly defined and ruled by mass consumption and social media, it becomes more and more difficult to face the question of who we really are. We keep on running, trying to find pieces of ourselves in different countries, cities or even industries and other people. But what if we stopped for a moment and open up to moments of true human nature and moments of raw emotions? What if we tried, every day and every moment, to be as present as possible? „Being present while simultaneously creating for tomorrow has consumed my mind in whole. I can only illustrate pictures I’ve seen in passing“, explains Giles. In the way he approaches his work, he tries to be as honest as he can possibly be, to live a life of unfiltered pureness. What nurtures him are real human connections that he tries to establish throughout his travels and has found, in particular, in Tokyo where he spends most of his time now. „I find purpose through traveling, being a student, learning from those around me. But I’ll say this: to die full of knowledge without release, is to die a sealed book without a key. So teach, wisely“, states Giles. „There’s too much information everyday. I figure loving yourself  is the act of censoring your intake of information. As a lot of it is bullshit. Gossip. Fast food. I’ve made work in response  but it just feels like  an attempt to reject  you end up injecting that rubbish into your own system.” 

His Berlin show ventures the human being as what it is, breaking it down to its insides visually almost. “I think it’s instinctual for people to take a shortcut in their mental development. Conforming to labels and walking around topics is easier than facing ourselves, who we really are.“ The day after his show, the artist hosted a beautiful format that travels with him too: His art therapy session which is a two hour life drawing that invites a group of people to come with their scatchbooks to draw and talk with him about life and its challenges. We can’t wait to see of what is still to come for the artist and are grateful to have shared such a special moment in his career.

SPECIAL THANKS FOR THE FRIENDLY SUPPORT GOES TO PREMIATA, HAPPY SOCKS, SWEEF FURNITURE, PERONI AND NIO COCKTAILS! PHOTOGRAPHY: SPYROS RENNT, ROMAN MAERZ

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