EVOL utility boxes spray paint

You may remember his large-scale interior mural work … but EVOL has also taken his fantastic art to the streets as well, wallpapering odds, ends and eyesores of the urban landscape of his native Berlin with building patterns, making little cities out of ordinary utility boxes, street planters and more.

EVOL small village
EVOL tiny building

Much like the Modernist housing blocks after which his pasted-on photo prints are patterned, these are not always considered artworks and are often ‘demolished’ by authorities who see them as vandalism rather than creative graffiti.

EVOL building detail
EVOL painted utility box

So the source architecture is widely recognized as ugly – particularly by those who have had to live in such drab modern concrete box-housing projects.

EVOL buildings street art

The question remains: is the art derived from these real-life photographs of boring buildings ultimately beautiful, disturbing, or (perhaps better than both) a thought-provoking commentary on the tension between what we find pleasing and ugly from one time or scale to the next?

EVOL building with tree in foreground
EVOL building installation

“Berlin-based Tore Rinkveld, aka Evol, is perhaps best known for transforming everyday features of our cityscape into miniature concrete tower blocks through the medium of paint. Inspired by architecture, which he sees as a mirror for society, he paints directly onto the surface of electric enclosures, concrete planters and other familiar elements of the modern city, as well as working on found materials such as cardboard. Drawing on his background in graffiti, he uses his artistic skills to explore the inner workings of the city and makes us look at our surroundings in a new light.”

“Evol often takes photographs of buildings as he wanders around Berlin, with a particular interest in the postwar socialist architecture of the former East Germany. Although originally constructed with the ideology of a socialist utopia, areas of this city – and others like it that have been subject to governmental programmes – are, architecturally, a far cry from the original vision. Many of the buildings Evol depicts are grey, functional and in a style that has fallen out of favour, yet they have a brutalist, monumental appeal.”

“The artist draws our attention to the striking geometry of the architecture and everyday details we sometimes take for granted: a billowing tarpaulin hung from a scaffolding, shadows cast from a balcony or light falling on a curtain. Unpopulated by figures, these works contain signs of life – the exteriors of compartments in which people live and work – but are eerily quiet.”