Heavens Spot is the work of KEOS, one of Perth’s highly skilled and dynamic – yet cautiously anonymous – graffiti artists.
Following on from AGWA’s late 2021 project 100 Vandals, which featured 100 black book drawings by Western Australian graffiti artists, Heavens Spot welcomes a select painter from this community of artists to leave their mark directly on the walls of AGWAs rooftop gallery.
Its title refers to a graffiti location that is hard to reach and highly visible, and therefore highly prized. Located in AGWA’s uppermost gallery space and speaking out to the city’s high-rise backdrop, Heavens Spot is a dialogue between the cityscape that serves as the stimulus and surface for this artform and the cultural position of graffiti more broadly.
Cultivating a layered awareness of the ways graffiti engages with our surroundings, Heavens Spot shifts perceptions in subtle and bold ways. Typical encounters with graffiti are often fleeting; shapes and colours command a moment’s attention, leaving impressions of a maker, a mark, a motif, as we move on to some other place. Equally, both the smallest tag to the largest masterpiece can become comfortably familiar as we recognise the practiced hand of graffiti writers who mark out territory along shared local routes.
Though the walls of AGWA have been legalised for this moment, Heavens Spot does not seek to permit the act of painting illegally, rather it observes the significant creative influences that operate in this sphere. Part of an international network of painters, their marks remap cities and suburbs according to alternative feelings towards, and understandings of, the spatial frameworks that normally govern our lives.
This exhibition examines the ways that graffiti disrupts how space is occupied. With repetition, mastery of style and time, the names graffiti artists become a part of the fabric of our built space. Through painting, tagging, buffing out and reworking the gallery walls, KEOS frames the city with layers of graffiti and reveals how her work, and that of her peers, is temporary no matter how considered and laborious its creation has been.