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Paul Insect

Emerging artistEmerging artist
Born in 1971
United Kingdom


"People have two sides: the one we want everyone to see and the one we prefer to keep to ourselves. Paul Insect questions identity, both what we are and what who we choose to be. Her mixed media works blend portraiture and abstraction with painting, print, collage and sculpture. The figures wear balaclava-like masks, surrounded by energetic brushstrokes and bold graphic shapes. The compositions evoke Dada and Pop Art, and clearly reference Insect's roots as a graffiti artist. But behind the fun and playful facade lies a more pernicious feeling - people are trapped in inside the canvas, questioning themes of individual freedom. In his work, Insect critiques digital identity. Like an Instagram feed, the characters look directly at the viewer - their sense of self being linked to the approval of others. Moreover, the masks they wear both reveal and hide their faces, just as we choose what we share and hide online. This is reflected in Insect's choice to keep his face and personal identity a secret. It thus mixes our projected identities and our lived identities, suggesting that it is increasingly difficult to separate them."

Paul Insect's bright, multi-textured collages feature cropped portraits, patterned color fields, benday dots, and decorative elements such as diamond dust and glitter. The UK-born and based artist, who prefers to remain anonymous, first rose to prominence as a member of the artist collective "insect", active between 1996 and 2005. Insect subsequently enjoyed a great success in 2007, when Damien Hirst reportedly purchased the artist's entire solo exhibition before it even opened at the Lazarides Gallery in London. Hirst isn't the only one who appreciates it: Insect has exhibited in numerous galleries in New York and London, and his works were included in Banksy's 2015 pop-up exhibition "Dismaland" and the traveling survey on street art “Beyond the Streets” by Roger Gastman in 2018.


Emerging artistPaul Insect

The Observer2021
1 700 €

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