Tag Archives: Sowat

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.

CAPITALE(S) – 60 ANS D’ART URBAIN

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

15 October – 25 March 2023

Free entry, but booking is essential here

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Lek and Sowat Sandcastle for the LaBel Valette Festival

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Marking the fifth anniversary of the LaBel Valette Festival in France, artists Lek and Sowat have given a new identity to this 19th century castle, by painting all its surfaces and transforming it into a monumental sandcastle.

Located in Pressigny-les-Pins, around one hour from Paris by train, Château de la Valette sits on just under 100 acres of wooded land and is comprised of the castle, a chapel, and two three-storey dormitory buildings. After the colourful works of Okuda (2018), 3ttman (2019), the giant calligraphy of L’Atlas (2020) and the optical illusions of Astro (2021), this mythical duo open the LaBel Valette festival that will take place on August 26 and 27, 2022.

The LaBel Valette Festival, organised by UAC (Urban Art Crew) and U2A (Urban Art Agency), will take place on August 26 and 27, 2022 at La Valette estate in Pressigny-les-Pins.
The two days programme includes graffiti battles, a musical production competition, live painting, workshops as well as a series of music concerts. Full programme here

Check pictures of the work in progress below:

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek and Sowat were struck by the intense history of the ‘Domaine de La Valette’. Firstly belonging to the estate of a Count and a Countess, it then became property of Franco, followed by the Spanish republicans. It was later transformed into a college, then fell into abandonment. And was bought by an individual. The castle holds eventually a strong position of Street Art in France thanks to the LaBel Valette Festival project.

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

The artistic duo decided to work around the image of the sandcastle, which refers to the ephemeral nature of Street Art, and pixels, which evoke the aesthetics of the 80s.
Using bright blue and neon colours, they painted 10 000 square meters to transform the castle entirely.
Lek and Sowat ’s Sandcastle illustrates this year’s theme of the festival “Believe in your dreams”: A sandcastle can be erased by the rising tide but is rebuilt thanks to the venue of a new artist.  A sandcastle is fragile, requires attention and commitment. It is imagined, hoped for, then built.

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Lek & Sowat - LaBel Valette Festival 2022

Covid’Art: Get creative with colouring packs from your favourite artists

During this quarantine period, we would like to thank artists who are offering generously their artworks for download as colouring sheets to keep the little ones busy but also get everybody to show their artistic sides. Only requirement is to either print the templates or use a tablet and then share your input back to the artists.

But feel free to donate or purchase artworks to support living artists. Stay home , stay safe and get creative!

Here is a first compilation :

  • Eelus has launched the Contagious Creativity Club with multiple templates (link)             
  • Editions Terrain Vague have produced a 31 pages colouring book (link) with 1984 crew and their friends including Lek and Sowat

  • Illegal Painting has gathered 25 artists in their Street Art Kit (link) including Mademoiselle Kat, Sherio, and Tilt

  • Phlegm is doing a Pandemic diary with multiple drawings to download ( link)

  • Italian association ‘Il Cerchio e le Gocce‘ created a colouring pdfColoravirus featuring over 150 artists (link)

     

  • Speedy Graphito is offering a Cahier de Jeux (link)

  • Urban Signature has gathered 57 graffiti and street artists templates. Just indicate your email HERE to get the link to download  or try this

ARDIF – Cameleon Mechanimal

La Rochelle: Graff on Tour(s) with Lek & Sowat

Lek & Sowat - Graff on Tour(s)

The Towers of La Rochelle, managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN), are currently presenting Graff on Tour(s) until 25 June 2018 with a focus on historical graffiti as well as artistic interventions by contemporary artists ( see our first preview here. Following a month residency, internationally renowned graffiti duo Lek & Sowat were given total freedom to create contemporary artistic installations in the Saint Nicolas Tower and the city of La Rochelle.

After having archived and documented graffiti on the national monuments as traces of history and archeology for decades, and referenced graffiti on thirty historical monuments, the CMN is dedicating its 2018 cultural season on historical graffiti with a series of exhibitions and events called “Sur les murs, histoire(s) de graffiti“ on nine of its national monuments curated by Laure Pressac .

Wandering in La Rochelle, a few signs announce an atypical invasion.
Local buses adorn abstract geometric and dynamic shapes…


Bus Yelo La Rochelle, Lek & Sowat ©Théo Larmaillard/CMN

Looking up we noticed that the French flag on the Saint Nicolas Tower has been replaced by a pirate flag floating high with graffuturism and calligraffiti letters. There is no doubt: Lek and Sowat have taken over La Rochelle.

Lek & Sowat - Graff on Tour(s)

Known for their interventions both in abandoned places such as Mausolee ( see here) or institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo ( more here), Lek and Sowat were particularly interested by the historical monument of the Saint Nicolas Tower due to its architecture, context and history.

Some quick historic facts: during the 14th century La Rochelle was a centre of maritime trade and the Towers were controlling entry to the port by the many trading ship. From the 16th to 18th centuries, the Saint Nicolas Tower and the Chaine Tower were also used as prisons for Huguenots (French protestants) and foreign sailors, followed by military prisoners from the 19th century. Over 600 graffiti have been recorded, engraved in the walls of the Rochelle Towers, as testimony of imprisoned sailors during the various wars.

Lek & Sowat were inspired and intrigued by the story of the junction between the Saint Nicolas Tower and the Chaine Tower, mentioned in an old historical book of La Rochelle, added to the calculations of the architect Juste Lisch whose illustrations concurred with the possible existence of an arch between the two towers.


Illustration by Juste Lisch (1864)

Based on this historical and utopian idea, they have imagined a graffuturist gateway with the help of their friend David ‘Tcheko’ La Tulipe.

Lek & Tcheko - Graff on Tour(s)
Lek & Tcheko

In the continuity of their work done at the Pavillon du Carre Beaudoin , both artists pursue their quest to push the boundaries of graffiti and contemporary art, this time by creating a multisensorial and immersive installation inside the Saint Nicolas Tower.

They wanted to recreate the feelings of fear and unknown so present when doing urbex (urban exploration), not knowing what you might find, but being excited as the same time.
Visitors descend the Saint Nicolas Tower’s stairs in total darkness until their feet touch the floor of the lower ground space. Then the adrenaline kicks in: Boom !

It’s an explosion of lighting effects and shadows, revealing a three dimensional metallic bridge with geometric shapes, reminiscent of the abstract geometric shapes found in Lek & Sowat graffiti paintings.

Vibration sensors connected to a set of nine lights trigger an infinite combination of light variations which evolve through the stamps of visitors. All the surfaces from the floor to ceiling are transformed and the shadows appearing from the metallic structure create characters and shapes on the walls of the Tower.

The immersive installation creates a new dynamic dialogue between the viewer and the historical tower, a vibrant and interactive display for all ages, where the viewer is also an active participant in the creation of the installation.

Shy visitors start an impromptu dynamic dance to activate additional lighting and discover more fractal shadows and projections, characters and shapes. The interaction is fun, liberating and addictive.

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View the full set of pics here

The arched shape of the ground floor combined with the artistic installation also reminds us of a cathedral and its colourful stained glass windows with the graffuturist metallic structure recreating the stained glass windows outlines, giving a sacred aura to the historical space.

With their installation Lek and Sowat successfully take graffiti and contemporary art to another dimension, while giving a second life to the historical monument.

Simply magical.

In addition to their installation, Lek & Sowat are releasing a special limited edition Tote Bag to support the protection of the French cultural heritage, available in CMN’s gift shops.

Stay tuned as we continue our visit of the CMN Cultural season across the summer
“Sur les Murs, Histoire(s) de Graffiti”.

Graffs on Tour(s)
Until 25 June
Saint Nicolas Tower
Lantern Tower
La Rochelle

La Rochelle (FR): Graffs on Tour(s) with the CMN

The Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) is France’s biggest cultural and tourism operator. Its mission is to preserve cultural heritage and provide public access to 100 national historical monuments throughout France.

After having archived and documented graffiti on the national monuments as traces of history and archeology for decades, and referenced graffiti on thirty historical monuments, the CMN has decided to focus its 2018 cultural season on historical graffiti with a series of exhibitions and events called Sur les murs, histoire(s) de graffiti on nine of its national monuments curated by Laure Pressac .

From 31 March to 25 June 2018 the historical sites of La Rochelle Towers present “Graffs on Tour(s)” with a focus on historical graffiti as well as artistic interventions by contemporary artists. Over 600 graffiti have been recorded,  engraved in the walls of the Rochelle Towers, as testimony of imprisoned sailors during the various wars.

Following a month residency, internationally renowned graffiti duo Lek & Sowat (covered) have created a series of contemporary installations in the Saint Nicolas Tower and the city of La Rochelle, which we will focus on in more details shortly.

To kick start the cultural season with the Quinzaine du Numerique (QZN), five artists including Philippe Boisnard (FR), Vincent Dubois (FR), Collectif Impact (FR), Julia Masvernat (AR) and Julia Suero (AR), invaded the Lantern Tower  by creating a transmedia journey with digital installations, visual mapping, videos, and sound installations.

Through the ascending progression of the Lantern Tower, this transmedia path evokes the transition from figuration to abstraction as well as the transformation from analog material into digital material.

Upon entering the tower, visitors are given a booklet and at each stage of the journey, the public can discover more about the architecture of the building, historical graffiti and artistic installations and interpretations of the QZN.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 06

On the second floor, Collectif Impact highlights the most important graffiti (depending on their quality, size and state of conservation) with visual mapping on the prison doors, while a life-size projection features testimonies of the past left by sailors, pirates and prisoners. A dark room reveals invisible graffiti using black UV light.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Collectif Impact 03
QZN - Graffs on Tours - Collectif Impact 02QZN - Graffs on Tours - Collectif Impact 01

On the third floor, also nicknamed ‘dorm room’, graffiti are even more prolific. Through lighting effects, Vincent Dubois presents selected graffiti in a museum setting, with audio creations by Julia Suero for a full immersive experience.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 04QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 03
QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 02QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 01

A room with interactive games and books let you discover more about the history of graffiti.

QZN - Graffs on Tours La Rochelle 02QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 05

The fifth floor features the first dungeon of the nineteenth century. Artistic installations by Julia Masvernat and Julia Suero invite the viewers into an oniric journey with ‘Magic Lanterns’ . Through a projection, shadows reminiscent of historical graffiti evolve on the walls of the room.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Julia Masvernat & Julia Suero 04
QZN - Graffs on Tours - Julia Masvernat & Julia Suero 03QZN - Graffs on Tours - Julia Masvernat & Julia Suero 02

For many years the Lantern Tower was a place of confinement, and graffiti are traces left by these isolated and immured people. Philippe Boisnard ‘s installation is a 270 ° mapping on the sixth floor of the Lantern Tower, which poetically and graphically opens horizons through these walls. Each stone has been visually mapped and transformed into a new skyline, a distant desert, burning fire, depth underwater. Through computer generated images, the prison walls disintegrate and show the viewers  how imagination can go beyond confinement.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Philippe Boisnard

Stay tuned as we continue our visit of the CMN Cultural season
“Sur les Murs, Histoire(s) de Graffiti”.

Graffs on Tour(s)

Until 25 June
Saint Nicolas Tower
Lantern Tower
La Rochelle