ICY (born 1985) and SOT (born 1991) are stencil artists from Tabriz, Iran currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2006, the two brothers have made paramount accomplishments in Iranian urban art culture as both skaters and artists. They continue on their creative crusade to dismantle pre-conceived perceptions of a fleeting Iranian tradition through their striking stencil work depicting human rights, justice, social and political issues. ICY and SOT have held and participated numerous international exhibitions and their outdoor artworks can been seen across the cities of Iran, The United States, and Europe.
Stencil cutting Iranian brothers ICY & SOT present CUTitALISM, a slicing condemnation of many true costs of free-range rampant capitalism using world currency, razor sharp blades and aerosol. Social and political critique has played heavily in the street work of the Tabriz natives since they first experimented with one-color aerosol stencils on city walls and makeshift skate parks in their hometown in 2006.
The intervening years and the artist duo’s gradual evolution as world travelling players in the current street art scene have only emboldened their pointed opinions on matters of social injustice. With CUTitALISM in the gallery setting, this new collection of stenciled paintings, collaged works, photography, and sculpture leave little room for misinterpretation for viewers.
Originally taking stylistic inspiration as teens from monochromatic Street Art originators like Blek Le Rat and Jef Aerosol and the sarcastic political bite of Banksy, ICY & SOT take their knives to cut open the desperation of economic refugees and other discarded peoples, the desolation of lands destroyed by an ever growing war machine, the doublespeak of political/corporate leaders on the take, and the demoralizing forces of systemic economic violence that they see the world over. Using the stark simplicity of masking and stencil cutting, ICY & SOT depict soldiers atop soil draped in currency, clustered homeless people awash in bombed rubble, and a last supper of queens and ayatollahs and heads of state on a dollar bill.
Since leaving their country for Brooklyn, New York in 2012, the brothers have continued their creative crusade to challenge what they see as hypocrisy in their homeland as well as some new unwelcome discoveries outside of it. Whether it is human rights, social justice, environmental degradation, immigration issues, harrowing economic inequality, or the ubiquity of guns on the streets, ICY (born 1985) and SOT (born 1991) have not shied away from creating challenging work on the street and in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Iran, The United States, and Europe. With CUTitALISM on exhibit at Reed Projects the stencil-cutting brothers are using the persuasive currency of art to examine the corrupting effects of currency around the globe.
– Text by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo
Preview, Thursday August 27th 19:00
Exhibition August 28th to September 19th
Reed Projects Gallery, Salvågergate 10, Stavanger 4006, Norway