mercredi 18 mai 2011

Urban Art can be happenings!

Have you heard about Orlan?

Orlan is a French artist famous for her performances and her conception of body. Indeed, she considers her body as an artistic medium. She gets dress up and uses esthetic surgergy in order to metamorphose herself. These transformations belong to an entire artistic approach and become a way of creation. She always has fun by provocation.
People mostly rembember Orlan’s trash works like Omniprésence (1993, esthetic surgery on her face) but I want to speak about another aspect of her Work.
Sometimes her happenings take place in the street. Orlan chooses places which are quite a crowd in order to meet many people. The relationship between the artist and the viewer is inversed. This is not the viewer who meets the work, this is the artist who meets the viewer. The artist directly calls people in the street and the confrontation is the creation. Happenings and performances give to the viewer a place of honor. There is a part of chance in the creation. The viewer is an actor of the work of art and “makes a half of the creation job” !

One of Orlan’s work is particularly representative of the questions raised by happenings. In “Le Baiser de l’Artiste”, Orlan was waiting in the street with a banner that announced “free kiss of the artist!”. She called the crowd by crying “who wants a kiss from the artist?”. The event was filmed by journalists and in videos, we can see some people who were very shocked while other were very amused and gave kisses to Orlan. 


Watch the video of the happening:

Viewers’ reactions are a primordial point of the work. The work cannot exist by itself, an interaction with the viewer is necessary. As a matter of fact, this happening is not a material thing, this is an idea, a concept, an event and a remind.
What is the limit between art and non-art?
This happening is one part of Orlan’s entire Work. Her artistic point of view and the importance of body are still the same. She wonders the common idea of the woman’s body in society. Can we pay for a kiss? Can a woman be only a sexual attractive body? Can human body become a kiss robot?
I stay dubitative about several works of Orlan. Her provocations and her works about esthetic surgery show that she is such a crazy woman! I found this happening representative of what kind of artistic events artists can organize with people in the street.

Interview of Orlan, she speaks about "Le baiser de l'artiste":

Street Art can be Architecture!

The construction of the city is already art ! 

Architecture is a mix between ingineering and artistic job.  Even if sometimes property developers forget this dimension in order to make money, each city is full of monuments! Architects' first goal is creation. They belong to artistic movements like “Gothic" and “Art Nouveau”. It is linked with Art History.

Have you heard about Gaudi?

Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish Catalan architect, he is representative of Catalan Modernism. Gaudi's works are marked by a highly individual style and most of them are located in Barcelona. Catalan Modernism is an anti-traditionalist movement which took place on Barcelona (1888 to 1911). This movement is very close to Art Nouveau.


His conception of Architecture is very close to art and ornament. He created organic buildings. His architecture is based on details. He designed everything, even windows or doorknobs!

Gaudí meticulously studied every detail of his creations, integrating into his architecture a series of materials, such as ceramics, stained glass, metal  and wood carpentry.

He was inspired by Nature and found a new architectural language in order to build organic forms.

For instance, The structure of the Sagrada Familia is composed of many columns which remind us of a forest. Some details of the cathedral looks like canes, reeds or bones. 

Gaudi is also famous for his colored architecture! He dared to use bright colors onto façades. He blended art and architecture, he created sculptures and sometimes integrated his creations into architecture.

There is something fun and refreshing in Gaudi's buildings that I like very much ! 

mardi 10 mai 2011

Street Art can be packing !

Have you heard about Christo ?

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff comes from Bulgaria and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon came from Morroco (she died in 2009). They were a married couple of artists who created environmental works of art. They are famous for wrapping objects and buildings. They both become American by naturalization.

They created ephemeral works of art and fabric is their raw material. They wrapped landscapes, monuments and places for a while. 
They hid buildings and objects in order to highlight their shape. By hiding colors, details, trompe-l'oeil, fabric allows us to rediscover buildings.  
Fabric is a way to reveal the pure form. Art critic David Bourdon has described Christo's wrappings as a "revelation through concealment."

Christo allways creates outsized  and very ephemeral works of art (a few days). The couple traveled a lot and wrapped monuments all around the world !
           The most famous wrapped monument of Christo is the Reichstag (1971).

With Christo, the relationship between the work of Art and the reviewer has evolved. Indeed, these impressive works of art are located in the street. 

For instance, Parisians are used to walking on the Pont Neuf, so when the bridge was wrapped, people still walked on it ! The contact is natural. The entire artistic concept is based on the interaction between the viewer and the work of art. The  viewer becomes an actor of the work. 

  The street is a public place, sometimes the works are located in places where there is quite a crowd. So, works are very accessible. This is not the viewer who is going to the museum, this is the work art which meet the viewer and makes him active.


Sensation is a primordial point in Christo’s works. The viewer’s feeling makes part of Christo's artistic approach. Usually, people are very impressed by these wrapped monuments. The works are gigantic and overscale. 

When the viewer is far from the work, he can see the entire fabric. But, when he draws near, he just can just see a little part of the work ! Christo plays with this frustration.

To put it in a nutshell, we can say that package, wrap, fabric and hijack are all words that show Christo's projects. The stretched skin over the building makes us think differently about what was very commonplace before !

jeudi 28 avril 2011

Street Art can be mosaïcs !

I want to make you aware of Street Art diversity.

Have you heard about Space Invader ?

He is a French artist who imagined characters inspired by the Space Invader game made up of small coloured square tiles that form a mosaic. He does this in cities across the world. Then he documents this work as an "Invasion", with books and maps of where to find each invader.

He started this project in 1998 with the invasion of Paris, then spread the invasion to 31 other cities in France and 22 other European cities !
Space Invader’s characters are reproducted as mosaics, the tiles representing pixels. 

His mosaïcs are often located high on walls and on street corners in order to be seen by a large number of people.

They are very coloured and sometimes they are funny !

There is always an interaction between the mosaïc and the wall. Space Invader make contrasts between gray tones of city walls and his coloured mosaics.

Mosaïcs are particularly resistant (weather and damage) and most of Space Invader s’ urban works are intact. I have one of these mosaïcs in my street in Paris and I am very proud of it !


Since 2000 Space Invader has shown in many galleries, art centers and museums, for instance in Lyon, Rotterdam, Istanbul and Los Angeles.

The feature documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" of BanksyThierry tells the story of Street Art birth. The camera follows famous artists like Banksy himself and Space invador. To see artists while they are creating is very interesting. 

dimanche 3 avril 2011


I introduce urban art by Street Art, a famous and international artistic movement. I’ve chosen two representative artists: Banksy and Miss-tic. They are both known for their stencils.


Banksy is a pioneer of Street Art, he comes from Great Britain and lives in USA. His stencils style is well known and he has inspired a whole generation of street artists. He literally became an international icon of Street Art.

By using city walls as a medium, he shares messages. Indeed, Banksy still combines political and humoristic tones. The street is the best place to make people who never go to the museum aware. Citizens are spectators and street art is a way to awareness people who never goes to museums.


Miss-tic is a French poet and artist. She is famous by her Parisian stencils. Since 1985, she has painted by night feminine figures. She always combines a sentence with a picture. She recently made exhibitions and published a number of books.

Miss-Tic is an engaged artist, she writes poems and sometimes she shares feminist thought or polictic ideas.

Miss-Tic gives women a place of honnour.
She shows us feminine beauty. Provocation has become her signature.

WHY IS STREET ART A SUCCESS? What about Banksy and Miss-tic?

Both artists keep their real identity and faces unknown, they act like outlaws.
In this way, they have a “super hero” side. We imagine Banksy at night on a roof, his ladder on one hand, his paint spray on the other hand. Misstic is also a masked women, she creates herself a sexy-mystic-femme fatale image with the character she always paints. She is perhaps as sexy as Cat Woman ! Overall, they both denounce politic and social situations.

In my opinion, Street Art success is linked with the creation process. They are true rebels. When you see a huge stencil on the front of a building, you think “God, how he did that? How is that possible the police didn’t saw anything while he was painting?”. We love Street Art because of the rebellious dimension.

You are spectator but you can become an artist whenever you want. It seems to be so easy  to buy a spray and to paint anything onto the nearest wall. The distance between the work of art and the man of everyday is very thin. Indeed, you are not in a museum, you are in your street, the one of your hairdresser or your grand-mother's home!

The street creation gives to the works a particular statute, they are “works in progress”.
Time, weather, human degradations, adds of other artists… make the works in a permanent evolution. The degradation makes part of their artistic approach.

So, street artists create together, they share walls and sometimes their works meet.

The works are ephemeral, you easily can pull a sticker or cover a stencil! As an advertising in the street, their works may have a very short life. In this sense, street Art can be a reply to advertisings.


The street creation is ambiguous because it is often considered as a degradation. A wall is not a public thing, by this way graphitties are often seen as ugly words written on walls by nasty young delinquents.

Where is the frontier between degradation and Street Art ?

It maybe depends on the viewer’s point of view, his preferences. According to me we have to consider the artist’s approach. Has he got deep views on our society? What are his inspirations? Is there any emotion shown through the work?

Art is everywhere! I’ve even heard about tours of Paris focus on Street Art! You can rediscover your city!

mardi 29 mars 2011

Hi !

This blog is dedicated to Urban Art. 

Nowadays, Impossible to walk down the street without running into tracks of street art. The city has become the raw material of young artists. Art is everywhere and has become interactive and understandable to everybody.
As you know, street art can take different forms like graffiti, stencils, mosaics or stickers.
I want to meditate with you about a larger definition of urban art: all the works of art that use the City as a medium. I include into “Urban Art” several works of Land Art, Architecture, Sculpture, Facility and even some Commemorative Monuments. Indeed, art is everywhere and every time!
What is the limit between ornamentation and art? 

What is the statute of these ephemeral works of art?  
Can everybody create? Is there joint creation?
Tell me what do you think about these ephemeral works of art !