More ways to bring the energy of graffiti indoors

Lek, Sowat, Liard, Larbi Cherkaoui and Nour Eddine Tilsaghani. Photo by Louis-Brisset.
Lek, Sowat, Liard, Larbi Cherkaoui and Nour Eddine Tilsaghani. Photo by Louis Brisset.

A note from the editor: I expected some people to object to my recent post about The Wa, but I’m glad that Sowat used it a chance for discussion. He emailed me after reading my post to let me know about a recent show of his where he, Lek and Arnaud Liard tried to bring of bit of graffiti’s spirit to a gallery setting. I thought his argument and the whole idea of the show was interesting, so I asked him to contribute this guest post about the project. – RJ

A few days ago, one of RJ’s post titles made me cringe. Documenting The Wa’s work, he wrote, “The Wa brings the street inside, but not in that cheesy ‘I’m a street artist painting on canvas, therefore I’m bringing the street inside’ way”

I was just back from a three-week residency in Marrakech with Lek and Arnaud Liard, organized by David Bloch Gallery. Except for Soccer slogans, Graffiti and Street Art, let alone muralism, seems to be relatively new in Morroco, which in itself was exciting. In addition to painting murals in the Medina and New Town with Local artists Larbi Cherquaoui and Nour Eddine Tilsaghani, we had put together a show with Lek and Arnaud Liard, called ‘Contraband’. Despite our own harsh views on the subject as teenage graffiti writers, most of this show was constituted of canvases… Had we done something cheesy?

Photo courtesy of Sowat
Sowat on the left and right. Liard in the center. Photo courtesy of Sowat

Just like a lot a artists around us, from day one, our main motivation in accepting David Bloch’s proposition, was to find creative ways to keep in touch with 20+ years of writing freely around abandoned buildings when transitioning to the coded atmosphere of a white cube. How could we apply what Graffiti had thought us in this brand new territory?

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Mausolee: Sowat and Lek’s abandoned supermarket

Mausolee is the latest street art/urban exploring combo project to emerge. Like The Underbelly Project or The Ghostvillage Project, Mausolee is the takeover of an abandoned space by graffiti art. Mausolee was put together in an abandoned supermarket outside of Paris by Sowat (of the DMV crew) and Lek, who found the last in the summer of 2011 and have since taken 40 artists to paint there.

This week, Sowat and Lek will be unveiling (through documentation) the space this week in Paris from April 12th-14th.

More photos and more info at Arrested Motion.

Photo by S.Butterfly