Should artists steer clear of politics on the theory that engagement with social issues stifles the pure nature of art? The spectacular failure of that utopian question unleashed a darker, more active strain of politically oriented art that aimed to expose the corruption and injustice of real societies.
The debate over the role of politics in art continues today in conflicts between defenders of quality and proponents of critique. Beast lies somewhere in between these black and white views, far to assume a mantle of victimhood and to interpret the world through his own frustrations, he adopts a variety of strategies to address the complexities of the political world, exploring modes of persuasions that engage the audience’s emotions and intellect.
Beast presents a deceptively friendly veneer behind which political supremacy and cultural dominance lurk. He is promoting the idea of a participatory democracy, trading culture as a collaborative process in which no distinction is made between fine art and mass media, he has no “home” but rather operates like a nomad, installing frames in disperate cities, from historical buildings to posters on the sides of buses.
In particular, he is interested in forcing “elitist” art institutions to open they doors to a more diverse constituency and a more engaged set of political and social causes.
Beast turns the street into a stage, using pre-existing structures as a template for his concerns, ranging from the banal to images that actively engage the specific history, community needs, or cultural memory of a particular population or neighborhood.
With this gesture, he went some way toward restoring a forgotten history, his canvases reflect an identity formed through virtual contact with an idealized distant world.
Beast recreates his images not to debunk them, but to pay what seems to be the sincerest homage, in the process giving back to the politics fractured, humanised version of its most cherished fictions.