Saturday, October 4, 2014

Street art, a worldwide success – Télé

This is a piece of undeveloped city, at the corner of the Quai d’Austerlitz and Fulton Street; a hollow tooth in this popular area of ​​the 13th arrondissement, in full reinvention. Until last year there stood a small building quite hideous styling of its concrete tired a decrepit gas station … And then, in October 2013, the former residence of railway awaiting demolition (1) become the most-attended of all Paris’s most visible art work. Like magic, the anonymous 1960s building turned into temporary museum for the most popular art, most shared the 2010s: street art. Paris Tower 13 was born. Certainly she would die soon, but no one’s complaining: urban art knows sentenced to ephemeral

Formidable experience mind-blowing and free exhibition – eight hundred street-artists from sixteen countries. investing the nine floors of the building – the Paris round 13 (see special report) has been one of the highlights of 2013 in Paris artistic events. For a month, tens of thousands of people were willing to wait for hours before they can enter this precarious but fascinating temple stencil graffiti, trompe-l’oeil. More than a huge popular success, a founding act. With the Paris tower 13, street art has entered a new dimension. And now, what future for street art in France and elsewhere? The answer some questions.

A miniature work of Slinkachu (London).

A miniature work of Slinkachu (London). – © Slinkachu / Rex Feature / REX / SIPA

The street has it become the largest art gallery in the world

This is the best exhibition space, open twenty four hours out of twenty to four, seven days a week. No New Yorkers who lived in Manhattan or the Bronx in the 1970s (before the gentrification of the city) could not forget the eruption of signed tags Taki 183 (King of 183rd Street) and Julio 204 (the 204th of his rival). Attack against the surrounding gray, obviously illegal! “In New York tells Jérome Catz , author of the excellent volume Street art, Manual and curator (2 ) , types taguaient trains taking risks crazy and were a far cry to imagine that they would one day be seen as artists. It was an instinctive movement. “Graffiti” is also a word that was given by the press, not by them. “

Forty years later, street art is the bearer of this rash and savage power in countries, territories rocked by unrest, social tensions – even war. Thus, during the “Arab revolutions” graffiti and slogans painted played an essential role in popular mobilization as in the chronicle of events in real time … Elsewhere, urban design seems to find its place in the landscape more appeased. In many cities in Europe (including Scandinavia), walls are made available to the artists, with the consent and support of the owners. In Paris, the 13th mayor of Jerome Coumet (47), is active support and regular supplier of high walls to invest. In London, in Shoreditch, happily stirred Howard Griffin, a gallery near Phlegm, Thierry Black, Roa, Citizen Kane or Mark Dolan – a former SDF he discovered and supported at arm’s length. Griffin, 28, a former banker who left everything behind to live his passion, manages the allocation of several walls in east London and founded Street Art London, an association that organizes excellent guided tours of four hours. “The movement does not need criticism, but mediators need him, and that’s how I see my role. We know the good parts, are friends with all the stencil Brick Lane and Shoreditch. “ Griffin also opened a gallery, but hastens he added, ” where there is nothing to sell. I just mounted the first major exhibition of Phlegm. In the end, he and I painted his works in white, then cut into very small pieces and threw in the dumpster. The beauty of it must remain the key driver. And street, our field of expression … “

One of the most lifelike Mark Jenkins (Bes dummies

One of the lifelike mannequins Mark Jenkins (Besançon) – DR ©

 With the success, the street art he could become an art like any other?

Not likely. Street art is the realm of the base of the right idea at the right time unpinned. The equivalent of what was punk music – and more sophisticated and inventive, and more durable too. Mehdi Ben Cheikh, gallery activist (3) who had the idea of ​​the Paris tower 13 “This is the first artistic movement that affects the planet,” and not just the West. “Everyone can take the Internet bandwagon and only leverage this momentum by immediately returning the image of a work performed in unfamiliar or distant place. “ (4) An art all, art for everyone, of course in line with the age of the image and split instant in which we have projected digital technologies and Internet, in which he found a perfect memory tool and spread. Y circulate the works of self-invested driven by the same powerful idea artists go take their act to the heart of public space. Often provocative, sometimes funny, almost always political, street art reveals the poetic, the offset in a non-artistic context. Without asking permission. Without the need for control, producer, validation (commercial or critical). Within moments, any fence can become “the web”: no other art form does not offer as wide a golf game … and uncontrollable

This mixture ideological and physical commitment (. often with great risk-taking for the most underground artists), technical prowess and resourcefulness requires total investment. Therefore little risk to see him settle down, even if for Jérome Catz, “a heading of respectability has been crossed. In addition to the 13 Paris tower, remarkable things were held in Malaga, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe, where street art is taken more seriously … However, I do not think he can commonplace. It is now too diverse and spontaneous return to the nails … “ And unlike rock, film and contemporary art, which are fueled by the star system, urban art feeds on unknown, a spirit of discovery. Regardless of the name of the artist, provided we have the momentum, the gesture! The intimate relationship that the vast majority of stencil and graffiti artists have with the digital and the Web also explained that this community of artists is, according to José Manuel Gonçalves – boss Centquatre to Paris and artistic director of next-Nighter ( see box) – “one of the most accessible ever. There are few intermediaries, almost no agents, even for stars. It is an environment where it is very easy to cause meetings to launch projects a little crazy. ”

A heron by Roa (London).

A heron by Roa (London). – © Sipa

 Artistically, street art he starts spinning in circles?

Regularly, the issue reappears. But street art has repeatedly reinvented brilliantly. Has multiplied, diversified. One could even list ten subcategories of graphic expression in the public space, the classical forms early, still alive (the graffiti “vandals” in the New York subway in 1970) to the latest trends. Among them, the transition from 2D (murals) to 3D, including American Mark Jenkins is the most brilliant representative. His trademark: designing lifelike mannequins molded his own body, then plant them in the street or on rooftops, in disturbing situations. José Manuel Gonçalves says: “When you are faced with one of its facilities in the street, striking realism and both very weird, we do not know how to react … This is the real vocation of street art: confuse us. “

As a response to 3D and works very large (such as frescoes Brazilians Os Gemeos), the other trend of the moment is played with small format in bitumen. The Englishman Slinkachu is the most recognized of these geniuses of the thumbnail. The size and the delicacy of its facilities – tiny figurines face the frightening world of humans – make visibility almost impossible. Jérome Catz analysis: “Since no one can see the micro-Slinkachu installations, photography and online sharing become the sole medium. One can hardly imagine a more poetic … “

From the very big to the very small, the” set volume “. Misappropriation of advertising, anamorphic, the “reverse graffiti” (or graffiti in reverse: instead of adding material, one that exists is removed – paint, concrete or plaster). Real or fantastical animals (foxes leaping Belgian Roa, spellbinding cats French C215), but also human figures with ambiguous postures (the legacy of the French pioneer Ernest Pignon-Ernest). This is the catalog of a virtual bottomless global museum. The artists who exhibit there remain faithful to the spray paint, the stickers, stencil and Posca (this marker for tracing the painting), but they also use a hammer, chisel (see the work of Vhils) , plus the projection and video, or QR codes (which allow the load from content on their smartphone). The diversity of topics such as the technical means suggests that the very term street art has become too restrictive. So going in circles? No risk.


“reverse graffiti” of Vhils (Lisbon) who works the walls with chisels. – © Alexandre Farto / Rex F / REX / SIPA

 Street art he escapes critical judgment?

Yes … and no. Yes, in that it does not need any validation “official” or mediation (journalistic or academic). But the analytical gaze is nevertheless omnipresent: an anonymous face on a wall or an intervention by the French Space Invader, we are all critics … generally benevolent. For Jérome Catz, “street art lives on the street, and that’s the whole street which confronts them and reacts! It would have everything to lose if he abandoned this essential dimension to go retreat into galleries and adopt codes elitist world of contemporary art … We must work for a certain institutionalization of street art, but remaining faithful his rebellious spirit! In fact, this is the first time we’ve seen flourish art that is not regulated by the intelligentsia, with a circulation of up and down. The movement comes from the base, it is filtered by the public itself, before returning to cultural institutions. Which at present are quite overwhelmed by what’s going on … “ In any case, he adds, street art will necessarily go to the galleries – this is already the case in Paris ( 5), London, New York, Shanghai, Moscow … – because artists need to live. “And collectors, buyers, speculators, all will find their place in this ecosystem much more complex than contemporary art. “

In fact, the most tangible critical validation is done on the Internet: there are in the world hundreds of specialized sites. This is where aficionados discover new names, emerging graphics. Natural selection forces, the lightning hit, that number in the number of likes on Facebook, rub shoulders with stencils and collages dedicated to the digital graveyard … street art festivals, more and more (on the model of the pioneer Nuart, Stavanger, Norway), complete this validation protocol network. Once dubbed, artists can expect to earn (very good) living by selling numbered pieces modest gallery size prints. For five years, the ten biggest stars of the genre, such as Banksy, see their works fetch prices rivaling those of the market for contemporary art. Some, like Shepard Fairey, also sell T-shirts, hats and trinkets. “But it only works if the artist has gained credibility in the street, the hard way! “ moderates Jérome Catz, who ” the street is the best that is promotional showcase. All leavers of Fine Arts, if they want to live from their work, have to go to the street … and not in the galleries, or not yet. “

A work of Blu (in Sicily).

A work of Blu (in Sicily). – © DR

September universe graphics

Mark Jenkins: the star of public intervention in 3D. When the American files a dummy on the edge of a roof, balance, police and firefighters arrived sirens wailing
Vhils. Portuguese artist, whose real name is Alexandre Farto. Past graffiti wall to attack with the drill and chisel, often for a stunning result
Blu. Perhaps the mural artist most since 2012 for this Italian has traveled extensively – South America, Eastern Europe … His pop vocabulary gives his videos vertiginous viewing figures (11 million views for Muto)
Jan Vormann: Dutch repairs cracks, crevices. His favorite material? Lego
Nunca. Brazil in all its energy and complexity! A highly stylized and even futuristic, but incorporating ancestral graphics design codes. São Paulo love
Swoon. on the edge of contemporary art and street, the American impresses with its elegant works on paper, textiles and collages. A child of Klimt and Schiele – not least

And of course …
Banksy. the undisputed master of disruptive politics and urban art. Probably the biggest star in 2014 and always anonymous. Engineering

(1) The building, destroyed in April, will make way for social housing.
 (2) Also the founder of the art spaces Spacejunk Grenoble, Lyon, Bayonne and Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
 (3) He is also director of the gallery Itinerrance in the 13th.
 (4) On March 2013
 (5) For a list of galleries in Paris:


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