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Updated: Mar 1, 2019

Artist 54 ROBBBB Street art Static drama

ROBBBB was born in Beijing in 1990. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Department of Stage Design, The Central Academy of Drama. Now he is living and working in Beijing.

ROBBBB is an iconic figure in China’s contemporary street art field. His artworks are created based on inspirations from his living environment and his reflections on the relationship between today’s era and people, society and people, as well as city and people.

With penetrating insight into the constantly changing reality, he has created many artworks featuring a sense of black humor, which focus on exploring the contradiction and absurdity of existence as well as the anxiety, distress and weakness deep in our minds under a certain disordered state.

Meanwhile, he also tried to remind us of inquiring the awkwardness and hostility that was ubiquitous again. ROBBBB attaches great importance to the value of situation and makes the situation work in the overall works through special architectural approaches.

“Theatre is the laboratory that examines the behavior of humans in certain situations," says dramatist Bertolt Brecht.

Based on this theory, ROBBBB thinks there exist various coincidences between city and theatre such as a functional overlap and volitional coincidence. ROBBBB builds a relationship between city and theatre so that his artworks have intensely dramatic effects. Therefore, his works have been described by critics as a "static drama".

Chinese street art is an odd beast, but artists like ROBBBB prove that odd can be really, really good. For all the tales of strictness and censorship in China, it may come as a surprise that graffiti is perfectly legal.

It therefore doesn't come with connotations of danger and deviousness like it does in the West, and also means that artists can spend more time on pieces, so pictures rather than words dominate the streets.

Despite these ideal conditions, a good street artist (or any of them) is hard to find in China—perhaps social acceptance makes it less fun for some. ROBBBB has taken advantage of the freedom, and developed a unique and refined style.

“Urban ruins ... are the intersection of the city’s development. They’re just like street art .... I hope that years from now, people will see my art and think of Beijing of that time.” - ROBBBB

He uses abandoned buildings as his canvas and the idea of ‘static drama’ and that we perform in public spaces resonates with me. His art is extremely realistic and I can imagine if you were busy walking down a street you might miss the art as a piece of reality. I believe that is part of the theatre a reminder we sometimes move so fast we miss the art before us.

Fun fact: ROBBBB said his name came from his English name, Rob. The second ‘b’ stands for Beijing, the third for Blek le Rat – a stencil graffiti artist in Paris – and the fourth for “best”, to encourage himself to work hard.


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