Other than comic book superheroes like Superman, Batman or Thor, the ancient gods of Greek mythology have nearly vanished from our present-day cultural consciousness. Nonetheless, the Spanish design collective ‘Hey Studio’ playfully tries to reinstate the old order of Zeus, Heracles or Hades with its most recent series ‘Oh my God’ at Kemistry Gallery:
“In ancient Greece they had something better than superheroes. They had gods – each with their own powers, weaknesses, history and followers. Jupiter and Mars came, Jesus and Mohammed, Buddha and Elvis. 2,500 years later, they return to claim their place and remind us that there is nothing more dangerous than believed immortality.”
However, the legendary characters and creatures of ancient scholarly books are not unleashed in their dusty, cryptic and impalpable form of Homer’s or Dante’s narrative, but approach the observer with a slightly updated, simplistic comic-style, sparkling with cheekiness. Welcome to Mt. Olympus 2.0!
True, compared to the images of the flashy Clark Kent, the gadget-lover Bruce Wayne or the hammer-swinging son of Odin, our exhibited Greek gods appear rather innocent, tame and somewhat cute. Well, maybe that’s the trick here. The real deal seems to be hidden somewhere deep beneath the clean lines, geometric patterns and the minimal colour palette. Our superheroes could be described as the ancient gods of today, but Hey studio’s de-mystified and graspable masters of distraction might just be waiting for their chance to reclaim what is rightly theirs. Don’t get me wrong, but what are Medusa’s stone-congealing looks, Hades’ reign of the Underworld or Zeus’ affinity for thunder and lightning stacked up against the (undoubtedly cool) features of Wolverine’s adamantium claws or Hulk’s superhuman strength? Equally badass and yet superheroish traits. Watch out, a new storm is approaching…
The exhibition ‘Hey Studio “Oh My God” still runs until 14th September 2013 at Kemistry Gallery, 43 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PD.