If you Google “Redflagg Herakut opening”, you will undoubtedly be directed to a number of art forums, each with multiple frantic posts from Herakut fans stunned that they hadn’t heard about the opening party Thursday night that kicked off the Herakut installation at the RedFlagg Gallery. Personally I was a little miffed when Scallywag called me last minute to cover it, as Thursdays are generally reserved for happy hours and pre-weekend prep parties.
But the lack of publicity buildup was no mistake. The German duo, Jasmin Hera and Falk Akut, made the decision to wait until the day of to release the press statement for very specific reasons. “It’s just so much pressure, you know?” explained Akut with his wonderfully German accent. “We don’t like the pressure of having a show, being part of this high society art world, acting like we are so great, you must come and see us, you know? We enjoy what we do very well, we enjoy other people enjoying it, this is why we are here in New York. We like to be spontaneous!”
This free-spirited sentiment perfectly sums up the feeling of their work. They seem like complete opposites: Akut is male, Hera is female; Akut is from a small town, Hera’s from a large city; Akut is from East Germany and Hera’s from the West. Even their artistic styles are very different. Hera creates large, gestural paintings of human figures with slightly unrealistic proportions that somehow make them incredibly sympathetic and moving. Akut’s art is hyperrealistic and stands in stark contrast to Hera’s instinctual pieces. For the most part, they use spray paint and markers. Together they’ve created a stunning installation at the RedFlagg Gallery, with many of the pieces painted directly on the walls.
Each piece contains elements from both of the artists, combined to tell a story or express an emotion. One of the largest pieces in the installation takes up an entire wall and is dominated by a grief-stricken, slumping figure with eyes flowing from its head and down its back like a gruesome wig. A small girl comforts it, standing in front of it and stroking its face. The differing styles of the artists give the piece a collage-type feel. It’s representative of the entire installation in that all of their pieces are unassuming but powerful in the emotions they inspire. Above our heads, cut-out cardboard clouds spin slowly and serenely, hanging on strings from the ceiling.