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  • Written by Dana Aufiero


Royal medieval cloaks reworked with leather and cow print fabrics drape the alien figures guarding Deitch’s gallery.

Under the purple cloak, the iris-headed alien king wears a belted leather jacket- reflective of the New York City punk and hip-hop influence that enveloped Rammellzee’s times. His queen, headed with a resourceful toy figurine mask, matches his style with layered studded belts and splattered neon elements on her gown. The futuristic majestic pair parallels the images on the gallery’s walls- alluding to Rammellzee’s philosophy of “Gothic Futurism” that surged a renaissance to graffiti art.

Rammellzee, the abstract visual artist from New York, transcended his art by scavenging the city’s undergrounds. He utilized scraps from New York City’s subterranean streets to abstract sculptures and masks.Through his collection of materials, he drew inspiration from the graffiti art that covered the streets and buildings.

In the birthplace of hip-hop and graffiti culture, the artist utilized the street culture surrounding him to bring its excellence to a higher art form. Rammellzee wanted to break the stigma put on graffiti art as a destructive act: he did so by taking on a more sophisticated approach to the medium in his philosophy of “Ikonoklast Panzerism.” The ideology focused around liberating language and symbols by distorting them like the medieval monks once did - coining the term “gothic.”

The gallery’s wall is encrypted with ikonoclastic equations and symbols that meet bright neon splatters. Hyperphysical acrylic paintings depict alternate universes, yet still feature the urban elements of Rammellzee’s environment. Ghoulish warped faces sit in the foreground of the paintings, wrapped in lines and patterns of the artist’s freeform graffiti-edge.

Rammellzee’s work is psychedelic and time warping: leaving it unclear to the viewer if they have traveled to the past or the future. He warps the objects of reality around him and transforms them to fit a world of his own- something like Jupiter and New York City in one.

Jefferey Deitch, American contemporary art curator, met Rammellzee through Basquiat in 1982. Deitch made plans to showcase a gallery with Rammellzee, but never got around to it before his passing. Nearly 40 years later, Deitch decides to recover his paintings and sculptures to display in Los Angeles. Rammellzee: Gothic Futurism is live from November 5th to February 14th, at the Jefferey Deitch Gallery in Hollywood.


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