Tag Archives: Blek Le Rat

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


London: The Art of Politics & Blek Le Rat Interview

The Art of Politics

Coinciding with the General Elections in the UK, Lawrence Alkin Gallery is presenting a group show entitled ‘The Art of Politics‘ until 23 May, featuring paintings, sculptures , drawings and ceramics by international artists including Blek Le RatNick WalkerBen Eine, Peter Kennard, Darren Coffield, War Boutique, Jacky Tsai, Carrie Reichardt, Pablo P Casio.

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View the full set of pics here

Interview with Blek Le Rat

At the opening we caught up with the Godfather of stencil graffiti, Blek Le Rat who started out in 1981 in the streets of France, for a few questions. Some of our pictures have also been published in the Independent

The Art of Politics

Why did you choose the rat as your signature?

I like that the word ‘Rat’ is an acronym of ‘Art’. At the same time rats are an integrated part of the urban landscape. There are about 2 millions people living in Paris while there is the double amount of rats. It’s a very organised society, and sometimes more ‘human’ than us as they tend to help each others.  They adapt and survive to any situation.

Can you explain your creative process?

When you create an artwork you have to reveal yourself, it’s a part of your soul. The biggest inspiration is death and what surrounds it. I use photos and images that moves me and turn them into stencils, and then work multiple layers or spray paint background until the desired result.

But overall I have been sharing the same imagery for years because the public needs time to assimilate and understand.

For this show it was about Politics.

I don’t believe in Politics since a long time.  I used to belong to a political movement in my youth when I was studying architecture. I find that the political propaganda just make people dumb. When you vote, it’s like signing a blank cheque for 5 – 7 years for someone you don’t really know. Then you realise that you voted for someone who didn’t do what he promised. That’s why I don’t believe in politics.

I tried to illustrate this in my work. In one of my canvas there are some messages like ‘Vote’ and ‘Repeat after me You are free’, but it’s all a farce. I believe more in the Anonymous movement, who shares his views through the web and actions, even though we don’t know behind the scene if this is not also a movement manipulated by government. I find there is more freedom of expression.

What are your next projects?

I’m heading off to Dubai to work on a couple of projects and then I have an exhibition coming up in New York this October.

The Art of Politics

View the full set of pics here

The Art of Politics
Until 23 May 2015
Lawrence Alkin Gallery

Paris Match group show at Opera Gallery

Celebrating the 64th anniversary of French magazine Paris Match, in partnership with Opera Gallery in Paris, 19 artists paid tribute by revisiting some of their iconic covers in paintings, sculptures, photos and other mixed media. Participating artists included Speedy Graphito, C215, Blek Le Rat, The London Police, Kan, Dest, Paul Alexis, G.J. Plisson & Brusk, Andre Monet, Gully, Gris1, Brusk, Tilt, Hisham Echafaki, Ron Agam and Zeus.

Click to view the catalogue here.

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Pics of the opening here

Paris Match – Une histoire de couvertures
Opera Gallery
356 Rue Saint-Honoré  75001 Paris

Portobello Film Festival


Published in Juxtapoz