Graffiti artists and calligraphers demonstrate the importance of tradition in today’s most cutting-edge street art.
The portmanteau term ‘calligraffiti’ refers to a burgeoning new art form in which the ancient art of calligraphy combines with the traditionally anti-establishment urban culture of graffiti. Manufacture 111, a white-brick gallery space in the 20th arrondissement, explores this unlikely artistic amalgam with ‘Calligraffi’, inviting four resident artists to create a host of collaborative works. Two of the four are self-taught graffiti artists (The Blind and Soemone) and the other two are older, formally trained calligraphers (Noureddine Chater and Larbi Cherkaoui). Together, the quartet have thrown all generational and scholastic differences aside to offer a vibrant and fascinating look into the place of tradition – symbolised here by Arabic-style scripts – in one of today’s most exciting and yet under-valued art forms.
TRANSLATION: HUW OLIVER