LUAP, UK visual artist, floods a Kensington High Street shop front with plastic as his iconic The Pink Bear peeks through the window close to the Design Museum on the same street.
The Pink Bear, who “used to be a polar bear,” is dedicated to raising awareness while bringing smiles to peoples faces through art, despite the challenge of contemporary existence. In collaboration with Kensington + Chelsea Art Week(end) LUAP takes his iconic pink bear to London’s reputed Kensington High Street, where his “anti pop-art” leaps out at passers by with a message for the future, to be installed on 27th Nov and set to remain until the shop is leased. The piece, entitled, the “Plastic Flood,” lays bear our consumerist hunger, and how it consumes all, even art.
“We consume not because we don’t care, I think. Rather, it’s because of our lack of per- spective of the impact our collective addiction entails,” explains Luap. “We view items one at a time, we don’t view everything we have used in a week, month or lifetime. Take just plastic bottles for example: Around the world, almost 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute. That’s enough to pile up as high as the Eiffel Tower every other day.”
To create the piece The Pink Bear climbed just such a mountain of plastic waste, where he was photographed from on high by LUAP, perched upon a cherry picker.
Through colour adjustment, the resulting work illuminates and sharpens each object so they come together to create the illusion of snow capped mountains or bright sand dunes, alluding to the fine artists’ previous works featuring The Pink Bear in pristine natural set- tings. Upon closer inspection though, the fine print is made evident as product labels be- come visible. Similarly, micro plastics are easily ignored and confused when gazing at a beautiful ocean landscape. Unseen, but painfully present.
The creative process itself was performance art, commenced as The Pink Bear climbed up the rubbish heap. The artwork is completed when that which was discarded is welcomed back into one of London’s distinguished, glittery high street as a shop front, and celebrated as art. This closing act exposes our hypocrisy born out of blissful ignorance, and highlighting how easy it is to disguise the grotesque with a little bling. The Pink Bear is challenging us, the consumer and the designer to look in a mirror, and rethink the climate and ecologi- cal emergency and asks “What if we had perspective and consciousness as we consume?”
LUAP, a multidisciplinary artist, carries his adult-size Pink Bear suit and 20 kgs of professional equipment to the ends of the earth, having visited every continent except Antarctica. This is his alter ego, muse and model, his escape and a bridge photographed alongside Argentina’s famed glaciar, Perito Moreno as readily as Indonesian jungles. The photo- graph he brings home acts as a bouncing-board for the next step of his creative process. By employing different mediums and techniques he tackles issues eco-anxiety, the climate and ecological emergency, and isolation head-on.
“The Pink Bear is born out of being uncomfortable in your own skin, within that hunt for your true self, to overcome the disconnect generated by discomfort with reality. Similarly, he connects with nature in his search, hoping to reestablish a connection long since lost through the degradation of the environment. The Pink Bear, who used to be a polar bear, is thus an honest bridge to connection, looking at reality straight in the eye, hoping to find a paradise lost,” explains the artist.
LUAP sells and exhibits his work globally in London, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong & Berlin. He has exhibited alongside internationally renowned artists including Picasso, Banksy, Warhol & Hirst at Andipa Gallery Knightsbridge and created large bespoke art- works for exclusive London Members’ Club and Daisy Green. A Pink Bear print recently sold for three times the listed price at Christie’s on behalf of the Terrence Higgins Trust.
LUAP confronts issues with the hope and innocuousness of a cuddly pink teddy bear, light- ing up what are often otherwise ominous, vast or lonely backdrops. Through this technique he invites the onlooker to explore the world, inwards and outwards, in one single image. His process layers a 30 something’s personal experience with depressions, anguish and the loneliness big city living often entails. Ever more so in times of Corona.
LUAP will also be staging a major exhibition in London at the end of February in collaboration with the renown mental health charity calm early next year to tackle the issue of anxiety and mental stress brought on by contemporary life.
An art installation of one of his photographic pieces in London’s Kensington High Street is soon to be on display. (27.11– Aptly Black Friday the day when packaging and plastics are a gogo especially this year with the pandemic).
The piece, entitled, the “Plastic Flood,” lays bear our consumerist hunger, and how it consumes all, even art and hopes to drive home the message about boycotting plastics and how immense and catastrophic plastic pollution is in our world today. An entire shop front will be wrapped with the image immediately below, as a part of Kensington and Chelsea art activities. LUAP will also be staging a major London based exhibition in collaboration with mental health charity CALM in Feb 2021.