“If I hadn’t been an artist, I would have been a musician.” Thierry Noir‘s love of music is strong — in fact it’s what prompted the infamous Berlin Wall muralist to move to Germany from France in the first place. Back in the 1980s, when Noir swapped Lyon for the divided German capital, all sorts of musical movements were happening, both mainstream and underground. Punk was still around, hip-hop was coming up, and jazz was ever-present.
A theme of dissidence and a rejection of conformity permeated music and spread its influence through Berlin’s creative community of the day. The anti-authoritarian funk in the air prompted Noir to raid a building site for paint supplies and begin his famed assault on the Berlin Wall one mural at a time, and his latest show, at London’s Howard Griffin Gallery, sees the artist revisit music in its role as a primary influence on his career. In Jazz, Noir further explores his primitivist direction. The apparent simplicity of his boldly-coloured line drawings contain skilful visual interpretations of the musical form, and Noir’s representation of instruments shares an affinity with his great inspiration Picasso. The show also features sculptural collaborations with Chris Tsonias, and there will be a new series of screen prints made available. The show runs until 26 July.