Category Archives: Paris

CAPITALE(S) 60 Years of Urban Art in Paris

Butterfly Art News is pleased to partner with the Ville de Paris for the Exhibition ‘CAPITALE(S) – 60 ans d’art urbain’, hosted within the Hotel de Ville, Paris City Hall, and running from 15 October until 11 February 2023. Free entry, but booking is essential here

Through the creations of more than 70 artists, works from prestigious collections, archive documents, photos and videos, in situ interventions, painted walls throughout the city, CAPITALE(S) presents a wide panorama of the Urban Art Movement and the importance of the Parisian scene spanning across the past 60 years.

The exhibition starts with pioneers from the 60’s and 70’s like Jacques Villegle, Raymond Hains, Ernest Pignon-Ernest or Zlotykamien.

Then the early 80’s feature the white man figures of Jerôme Mesnager, robots by Speedy Graphito and the proliferation of stencils by Miss Tic, Blek Le Rat, Mosko, Jef Aerosol, Epsylon Point.

This period of intense urban activity allows the emergence of artists’ collectives such as VLP (Vive la Peinture) affiliated with the punk culture or the Ripoulin brothers.

French-American teenager Bando (b. in 1965) introduced graffiti in France after writing in New York, followed by the New York City Rap Tour in 1982. Graffiti writers invade the banks of the Seine and adorn the palissades of the Louvre construction site. Stalingrad, a spot found by graffiti writer Ash, becomes the Hall of Fame for the prolific graffiti scene until 1989, featuring writers like Mode2, Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulman, Lokiss, Nasty, SKKI and numerous graffiti crew. In parallel  Psychose paints in the catacombs and the underground sewers system.

In 1987 Keith Haring paints the emergency staircase of the Hopital Necker to provide hopes of brightening the spirits of sick children in the world’s first pediatric hospital.

Like in the US, graffiti was severely repressed in Paris in the early 90’s. American artists like Futura, A-One or even Rammellzee gain recognition from the European artistic community and present their works in galleries and museums in Paris.  JonOne will settle permanently in Paris.

In the 2000’s, urban art has become a global movement with a multitude of techniques: from graffiti to street art, paste ups, stickers, stencils, mosaics and more. International artists are coming to Paris to leave their mark:  Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Banksy, Vhils.   

French artists have also gained international recognition: Andre, Invader, Zevs, JR, Dran, Lek and Sowat, Seth, L’Atlas, C215, Ludo, RERO, Philippe Baudelocque to Levalet.

Specially for CAPITALE(S), Invader has put two new aliases to be flashed for all the Flash Invaders addicts and shared a fully updated map of his invasion of the streets of Paris.

The exhibition presents also immersive and playful experiences.

Kashink, Kraken and Madame have created 3 entirely virtual works, hidden in a secret room of the exhibition: “The Fifth Wall“. A hunt for clues in Augmented Reality can be found through QR codes to be scanned under the works.

Visitors can try out graffiti with a digital spray can through GRAFFITI DIGITAL Picturae.

Artist Cristobal Diaz has created a GRAFF BOX, an immersive experience combining urban calligraphic production with playful digital devices featuring 250 artists.

While it is difficult to include the full scope of artists that have been active in Paris in the past 60 years within the City Hall, the four curators Magda Danysz, Elise Herszkowicz, Nicolas Laugero Lasserre and Marko93 have gathered following artists:

• Jacques Villeglé • Zlotykamien • Ernest Pignon-Ernest • Surface Active • Captain Fluo • Edmond Marie Rouffet • Blek le Rat • Miss.Tic • VLP • Speedy Graphito • Jean Faucheur • Mesnager • Mosko • Jef Aérosol • Bando • Ash • Jay0ne • SKKI • Keith Haring • Mambo • Nasty • Slice • Psyckoze • Lokiss • Shoe • Futura • A-One • Rammellzee • Jon0ne • André • Zevs • Dize • Invader • Shepard Fairey • JR • Vhils • Swoon • Banksy • C215 • L’Atlas • YZ • Seth • Tarek Benaoum • eL Seed • Ludo • Rero • Dran • O’Clock • Tanc • Lek • Sowat • Cristobal Diaz • Philippe Baudelocque • Levalet • Madame • Kashink • Vision • Pest • Greky • Sébastien Preschoux • Romain Froquet • Kraken • 9eme Concept • Les Francs Colleurs • Saype

There is also a prolific programme throughout the exhibition:

  • New murals will be painted at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin and in several Parisian districts,
  • A selection of pictures will be featured on the gates of the City Hall,
  • Workshops, conferences and screenings of films and documentaries.
  • A book accompanying the exhibition is available at Gallimard / Editions Alternatives

Big thanks to all the teams, artists, photographers, lenders and institutions that have participated to the exhibition, specially Clemence Demolling, as well as all the artists that have contributed to the scene over the past 60 years.


PARIS HOTEL DE VILLE ( Paris City Hall), 5 Rue Lobeau 75004 Paris

15 October – 25 March 2023

Free entry, but booking is essential here


Jef Aerosol – 40 years of stencils

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs

2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the first stencil by Jef Aerosol, French multi-talented artist (stencil artist, painter and musician) and one of the pioneers of Street Art and renown internationally.
Part of the first wave of street art in the 1980s, Jef Aerosol painted his first stencil in Tours, France in 1982, illustrating a self-portrait. Spanning across 40 years, Jef Aerosol’s work has been displayed in the streets and galleries worldwide, influencing many younger artists.

Under the curation of the Mathgoth Gallery, hundreds of artworks have been gathered for an extraordinary exhibition, hosted in a raw space of 600 square meters opposite the François Mitterrand Library in Paris. With free entry, the show runs until 5 November.

Jef Aerosol’s work is two folds. A part of the work is created in the public space, using multi-layered stencils to paper collages to creating black and white life size figures and animals in various situations, with a signature bright red arrow. Jef Aerosol often creates portraits of popular figures such as Elvis Presley, Gandhi, Lennon, Hendrix, Basquiat, Dylan, etc. But most of his work focuses on anonymous people from the streets: musicians, passers-by, beggars, children, and so on. The other takes place in calm and the intimacy of the studio in Lille where the artist designs his stencils and produces the pieces dedicated to the collections and to the galleries.

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol – London 2008
Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol – London Cans Festival 2008

Like his practice, this XXL exhibition is conceived in two folds, showcasing the work in the streets and the work conceived in the studio.

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs

Upon entering, a large wall section features some photos, personal documents and videos that allows the public to discover the universe of the artist, his inspirations and witness the evolution of his 40 years of creation.

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs

This space brings together studio works using recurring themes in Jef Aerosol’s work such as children, music, self-portraits, city landscapes and people.

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs

But the jaw dropping space hosts a monumental immersive installation echoing the urban environment and its chaos, featuring 200 spray painted life-size figures on cardboard.

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs

Jef Aerosol could not resist spraying in the surrounding areas :

Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol – Paris 2022
Jef Aerosol - 40 ans de pochoirs
Jef Aerosol & Jace – Paris 2022

Jef Aerosol – 40 ans de pochoirs
147 avenue de France, 75013 Paris
From 24 September 2022 to 05 November 2022

Animal Secrets by Mark Ryden (Perrotin Paris)

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Perrotin and Kasmin are presenting a jointly organized exhibition of new work by American artist Mark Ryden (b. 1963, US). Running until 30 July, ‘Animal Secrets’ comprises 10 paintings and 12 works on paper that further develop the artist’s series of portraiture, featuring mysterious and mythical creatures created during lockdown.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Conceived alongside the artist’s most recent exhibition at Perrotin Tokyo, the resulting gallery of enchanted characters embodies the artist’s meticulously-realized signature blend of archetype, kitsch, and narrative mysticism.

Mark Ryden’s imaginative artistic play manifests itself through deep layers of meanings and connotations: mythology and folklore mingle in this baroque universe as if to better explain the secret order of the universe.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

His interest in the subject of animals as spiritual entities was first explored in his series. For his exhibition ‘Anima Animals’ in Shanghai gallery, Mark Ryden completed his paintings in early 2020, just as the entire world went into Covid lockdown. During this time of isolation in his Pacific-Northwest studio, Mark Ryden began a new series that further explored his reverence for these animal beings that act as guides through a landscape of the unknown. The figures in these paintings are neither human nor animal, they are spiritual entities that create a bridge between the human and animal worlds in which so much disharmony exists.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

The artist’s practice is an ode to craftsmanship and refined materiality, from exquisite pictorial imagery to lavishly carved and embellished frames. At the same time, the artist probes into the invisible and secret order of the universe and interprets the life of things that are filled with
spiritual essence.

Mark Ryden explores intimate anxieties and archetypes with a pop surrealist vision. Aesthetics juxtaposed with a certain folkore, taste for the bizarre, his style is distinguished by a remarkable technical mastery, with intricate details and symbols.

Several works in the exhibition are presented as ‘tavolettas,’ a handheld form common in Italy between the 14th and 17th centuries for devotional instruments of consolation.
The Tavoletta series’ composition resembles a full-face representation of Christ and other saints in the tradition of byzantine icons and late medieval portraiture. Animal Secrets - Mark RydenAnimal Secrets - Mark Ryden Animal Secrets - Mark RydenAnimal Secrets - Mark Ryden
A figure rendered in a symmetrical pose in the center of the picture directly looks at the viewer. This time-honored, artistic craftsmanship elevates heavily sentimentalized elements of American tradition and antiquity, collected as though for a cabinet of wonders. The laborintensive canvases deftly rework centuries of art history, combining the grandeur of Spanish and Italian religious painting with the layered richness of Old Master compositions.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Ryden’s enigmatic characters dwell in harmony with nature amidst idealized landscapes. His tranquil sceneries evoke the nostalgia of Romantic imagery with a dream of the lost Golden Age from classical antiquity to the present day. The power of this iconography is in its simplicity and balance, where an unavoidable piercing gaze of the mythical entity entices the beholder into a silent conversation. A longing for harmonious coexistence with nature, with each other, and oneself.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Animal Secrets - Mark RydenAnimal Secrets - Mark Ryden

The friendly surroundings, pastel colours, fluffy coats, pale children with large melancholy eyes, reveal worrying signs. The perception of the half-unveiled mystery becomes a lyrical invitation to dream. The reminiscences of childhood and the mystical essence of cruel tales constitute the essence of a form of pantheistic spirituality through which, under the brush of the painter, the human being tries to reconcile with nature.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Animal Secrets become spiritual guides to connect us with the surrounding world with a sensitive, humanist philosophy.

Animal Secrets - Mark Ryden

Animal Secrets, Mark Ryden, Perrotin Matignon, 2bis avenue Matignon Paris 8.

Artist Focus: Icy & Sot (IR)

Icy & Sot - Crystal Ship

During this period of lockdown, we look through the artistic journey of Iranian brothers  Icy & Sot and their recent show ‘Fences Faces’ at Magda Gallery in Paris.

Iranian refugees now living in New York, they started their practice using stencils to highlight political and social messages. We first met them in Norway in 2014 for Nuart (covered) and again in 2015 in Berlin for Urban Nation (covered here).

Icy & Sot - NuArtIcy & Sot - NuArt
Icy & Sot - NuArtUrban Nation PM7 - Icy & Sot
Icy Sot 18

For the past four years the brothers have detached themselves from stencils and moved on to experimenting with new materials which helped them sharpen and strengthen their political and social messages.

They created sculptures like the refugee boat in Dresden (Magic City 2017) or in-situ installations made of iron and barbed wire in Berlin (Urban Nation 2017), Ostend (Crystal Ship 2018), or London (Watch this space 2019) which we were fortunate to witness.

Magic City - DresdenIcy Sot - Urban Nation 2017 - 04Icy Sot - Urban Nation 2017 - 02
Icy Sot - Urban Nation 2017 - 03Icy Sot - Urban Nation 2017
Icy Sot - London 2019

While exploring new techniques and tools, they have continued questioning and reflect on immigration, borders, refugees, social issues, women rights, freedom and capitalism.

The result is a new body of work presented earlier this year at ‘Fences Faces’ , their first solo in Paris at Magda Gallery.

The show features sculptural installations using raw material like barbed wire, iron wire, old rusty shovels or oil cans, new paintings created with a self- made cut-out steel tool, as well as photographs of previous ephemeral installations they built in different countries.

Icy & Sot 24
Icy & Sot 23Icy & Sot 22Icy & Sot 30

Through their unique visual language, they are delivering powerful, moving universal statements on the human condition, with poetry and fragility, while letting the door open to hope and dreams.

Icy & Sot 21
Icy & Sot

View the full set of pics here

Icy & Sot – Fences Faces
Magda Gallery