Street Art piece
Van Gogh & Johan Cruijff
Street Art Museum Amsterdam
Spray paint on brick
Gone / Illegible
Created on a brick wall, this monumental piece of urban art decorated the street of Dirk Sonoystraat in Geuzenveld from 2013-2017. The subjects are the famous Ajax footballer of the 1960s and 1970s Johan Cruijff and the well-known neo-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.
The artwork is a clear example of a street art work belonging to the new school style: designed in the spirit of neo-Cubist aesthetics, the figures are composed of multi-coloured geometric fragments assembled together. The result is a surprising mosaic effect, in line with 19th century pointillist style, which allows a distinct kind of contemplation depending on where one is standing. This colourful neo-geometric taste forms part of a prolific street art tradition, especially in recent years, which includes artists such as the spaniard Okuda or Kenor himself, one of the artists in the SAMA collection.
With this work, Uriginal celebrates Dutch culture and its double characteristic: academic-museum in the case of Van Gogh and also popular-urban with the figure of Cruijff.
Uriginal's work is a clear reference to the artistic and cultural stereotypes of the city of Amsterdam. The artist initially intended to produce a mural 'outside the rules' of institutional conventions but then, under pressure from them, decided to depict a classical Van Gogh. Despite his esteem for the Dutch artist, Uriginal felt that yet another painting of a Van Gogh was a stereotypical and rather clichéd choice, so he decided to add a second, more spontaneous portrait to the original.
Faced with the constant sight of Ajax's red and white shirts, the artist said: "If one asks a person in Barcelona what they know about Amsterdam, they will answer: Cruijff, Marijuana, Van Gogh. I was not allowed to paint Marijuana, so I depicted the two most famous faces. The choice of Cruijff also establishes a parallelism between Ajax and Barcelona, the artist's hometown. This explains why the footballer is depicted with shark's teeth and an icy stare, because according to the artist, the best of his career and his serenity would have been in Spain.
With this work, Uriginal wants to play ironically on the cultural and social stereotypes of the city of Amsterdam through the eyes of a tourist, but at the same time build an element of social cohesion within the neighbourhood with the football figure of Cruijff in a district so close to Ajax and the contemporary footballer Nouri. In this sense, Cruijff is also a tribute to the community which, as the artist says, has been extremely kind and welcoming towards him.