French-born, Hong Kong-based artist Charles Munka extracts the energy, animation and intensity of Asian cityscapes via his layered painting and collage works. Alternate Takes is a collection of recent pieces marking the artist’s first Australian solo exhibition and is currently showing at Chippendale’s MCLEMOI Gallery.

Munka draws Inspiration from the psycho-geographical theory of dérive (or drift), which involves an accidental urban journey, subconsciously directed by the aesthetics of surrounding architecture, resulting in a new, authentic experience outside the everyday. Each layer of Munka’s paintings is taken from a specific place, making up scattered visions of his own drifts or explorations throughout Asia. The very base coating takes the form of a series of Greek inscriptions – clues to the true location of the work. Standing before the piece Calypso (N.C.), one has the sense of moving forward through layers: vibrant lime lettering stripes diagonally across, almost floating, unveiling more of the journey.

Alternate Takes incorporates Munka’s careful collage of old and new Japanese manga magazines, combining snippets from the nearly infinite range of pop culture titles to form new stories. The artist has collaborated with brands like Adidas, Chanel and Cartier, and earlier this year created a mural high above Hong Kong’s city streets for the Converse Wall to Wall project as a part of the Art Basel international art fair.

Munka’s work exists outside of the predictable city landscape – hyperactive colours, signs and words crisscross one another to fashion a new and exciting form of urban adventure.

Alternative Takes shows until September 12 at MCLEMOI gallery, 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.

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