Skate Through Gallery: Zuk Club’s Swiss Skate Park Perfects the Graffiti Aesthetic

Beautiful Lugano, Switzerland becomes the latest site of Moscow based art group Zuk Club’s outdoor art exhibitions, this time a 1000 square meter pool renovated into a skate park, impressive for its Spector pattern of art and its spectral incorporation of light.  And it’s even a sundial. 

Zuk Club has honed its craft in a large number of outdoor street art expos, and the Lugano Skate Park is a large, robust reflection of their talent for a focused take on the randomness of urban street art.  Initial impressions of the skate park reverberate with a graffiti aesthetic, multiple contrasting colors from across the spectrum lying next to each other, terrifically out of place amidst the greenery of Switzerland’s central European mountainscape, but whereas the tone of discontent from which graffiti art arises lies in its continual accretion and accumulation over time, and perhaps by many artists, Zuk Club controls that chaos and shortcuts right to the rebellion.  The rush for time that might leave street art hastily scrawled onto an urban surface is gone, allowing Zuk Club to perfect the stark transitions from color to color that are more chaotically displayed on the walls of the back alleys of European cities. 

Rainbows rim one of the edges while the outline of a skull arises from a interlocking backdrop of black and white streaks arranged into a complex diamond pattern.  The central, conical ramp of the park utilizes the same black and white shades without the complexity of that diamond pattern, which redefines the use of those colors and lends innovation to the pool as a whole; and the two sections are distanced by a sea of other designs, a separation that allows them to be taken on their own without the worry of too much undue cross referencing between the two on account of their similar colors. Elsewhere, a red and white checked pattern is overlaid by a gray one, creating a delightful confusion of shapes and colors. 

This confusion contributes to the Spector pattern of the artwork, which is created by overlaying shadows.  Horizontal transitions from color to color create the dynamic of the skate park, but vertical transitions from shade to shade, shadow to shadow, lend character to it.  Zuk Club also plays with the light directly, as the time of day can be deduced via the sundial function that the pool serves.  Morning light passing through the pool is divided into its spectrum and adds further levels of rhythmic geometry to an already geometrical take–as appropriate to street art–on the design generally. 

Zuk Club showcases the gallery-level potential of street art but keeps it from the confinement of galleries, laying it bare in the middle of an urban locale like Lugano and allowing natural light to catalyze its myriad perceptive qualities.

Photography by Zuk Club