Jef Aerosol

Art Free
Exposition Jef Aerosol au MAC
Courtesy de la galerie Magda Danysz

Street art has had more ‘street’ moments: for the last few years, the stars of spray paint and stencils have become more and more common in galleries and museums, occasionally calling themselves ‘interior artists’ for the sake of the official milieu of contemporary art. A slow phenomenon of institutionalisation which, seen in a positive light, seems to offer new opportunities and the possibility of recognition to a field of expression too little valued at its true worth (and completely ignored, between the 70s and the 2000s, by ‘the establishment’). But from another point of view, it's easy to predict that the trend could end badly, in corrupting, for example, the ‘underground’ status of street art, and in so doing tipping the balance of the counter-culture into the favour of the mainstream.

Like any other artistic ‘movement’ that installs itself comfortably in the official museums, street art has been establishing its own history for a decade or so, defining its pioneers, honouring its ‘masters’. Amongst them is Jef Aerosol, a self-taught French artist who has been daubing walls in Toulouse, Tokyo, London, New York and Barcelona since the 1980s with his life-size figures and his trademark red arrow. And so, to confirm his stature as founding father, Aerosol signs off his first big one-man show this winter, at the Maison des Arts de Créteil. On the programme: new stencils on the artist’s favourite themes, he who printed his ‘Sitting Kid’ on the Great Wall of China. He portrays stars of rock, punk and cinema as well as historical figures and anonymous people from the streets (the homeless, travellers, musicians). It’s an opportunity to see the work of the artist in a new way, while hoping that it doesn’t lose its force, and that it will be able to hold its own in the MAC gallery space as it does in the urban environment. Fingers crossed that this little entry in the history of the museumification of street art will be an occasion for celebrating marginal cultures, rather than domesticating them.

Opening hours: Tues-Sat, 1pm-6.30pm

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