Partir un jour
FRENCH GRAFFITI BEYOND OUR BORDERS
Presented in the Frac Bretagne’s Canyon, the exhibition Partir un jour recalls how travel has been part of graffiti culture since its earliest days and illustrates the explorations of French graffiti artists around the world. It gathers various documents and objects gleaned during their excursions, photographs and video testimonies, travel diaries as well as works inspired by these experiences in unknown territory. The variety of these documents allows the visitors to apprehend the specificities of these trips dedicated to the practice of graffiti, but also to understand how the discovery of new horizons inspires the studio work of these artists.
Beyond the aesthetic aspect, the question of territory has always been at the heart of graffiti and its practices. Marking one’s pseudonym, first in a close environment and progressively in a wider and wider perimeter, is one of the foundations of this movement. To be a graffiti artist is to observe the city, to explore it, to appropriate it and always to leave in search of new territories.
This “culture of travel” inherent to the practice of graffiti is largely unknow to the general public.
While the United States (the cradle of graffiti) have for a long time been reduced to the New York and Los Angeles scenes, Europe on the other hand was, from the very beginning of this movement, the scene of incessant back and forth between different European capitals.
From the middle of the 1980s, the secret community of European graffiti artists gathered around the mythical Parisian wasteland of “Stalingrad”. Hidden behind the walls of the building site, the French, English, Dutch, German or Scandinavian graffiti artists met there, and this well before the appearance of new technologies.
Following in the footsteps of their elders, the new generations of graffiti artists have continued to cross borders in search of new supports, new contexts, new cultures, discovering local scenes that they sometimes did not know existed. United by a universal visual language, they met, sometimes confronted, shared their know-how, their customs, their identity and defined a global scene while propagating their practice in the most remote areas.
This taste for adventure, for discovery, for meeting and sharing has nourished their creative sense as they have matured. In doing so, the graffiti artists became urban artists, making travel as important as the practice of graffiti.
Painters, illustrators, sculptors, performers, photographers or video artists have all in common this atypical path where the work is mixed with life, and reveals in various forms the peregrinations of their authors.
Sonik, Honet, Poch, Seth, Pablo Cots, Road Dogs…
Nicolas Gzeley and Patrice Poch
The exhibition is completed by a hanging on the Mur du Fonds of photographs related to the various trips made by the members of the MILES UNLIMITED TOURING CLUB, site founded by 2SHY and HONET with many guests: MILES UNLIMITED TOURING CLUB.
Image : Honet, Rock and Poch, India, 2007 – Photo credit : Rock