VERMIBUS – The fascinating art of Subvertising

The route taken by the work of the Berlin artist, Vermibus who has made subvertising his raison’d’etre, is as short as it is intense. It starts and ends in the street. His art? He collects advertising posters from the streets, transforms them, both aesthetically and morally, completely subverting their message and takes them back to the street with an entirely different message, a new and original meaning, his own. An action that might appear to be similar to painting but it is not. Vermibus doesn’t use new colours to create a picture, he removes the colours from the existing image, of an existing face, to create a new image. A technique mindful of tribal makeup, faces of ghosts, mummies, voodoo art that uses human parts such as teeth and hair to create anthropomorphic figures. Like the vertiginous paintings of the Irish painter Francis Bacon, who, like Vermibus, worked the paints to make the image more interesting, breaking down the subject until he has, effectively, generated a visual conflict. Vermibus dehumanises the models in these posters thus giving them more individuality, with, according to him, what they had to start with. What has been taken away by the brand advertised has returned to have its own identity thanks to his intervention and interpretation. And it works: now people stop and look at the posters. They are intrigued, they pause and take photographs.

Valentina Uzzo