September 29, 2011
Street Art on the Cote d’Azur
With more than 150 art galleries dotted about this vast, varied and artistically-inspiring region of France, it is of little surprise that the French Riviera has become known as a modern art lovers’ paradise.
With such a large number of art galleries available on this stretch of coastline, art in almost every medium, is crying out to be explored. The artistic merits of street art has, however, always sparked debate, as ‘graffiti’, as some like to refer to it, examines the creative tensions and conflicts within this artistic arena.
When the Greek artist Taki first ‘let rip’ with an aerosol spray can more than 40 years ago, who would have thought that he was starting a movement that would later attract collectors from Moscow, Miami and now even Monaco?
This summer, the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, has been home to 400 examples of contemporary street art, more commonly known as ‘Pressurism’ on the Cote d’Azur, a name that has been derived from the aerosol can that has replaced the artist’s brush.
The ‘Pressurism’ exhibition proved extremely popular, as visitors and locals alike flocked to the Grimaldi Forum to view the works of the Italian architect Alain-Dominque Gallizia, who also curated the exhibition.
This tremendously individual and avant-garde display explored the 40-year history of the street art medium and represented ‘graffiti’ artists from across the globe, including Blade, Toxic, Dibo, Ces, Revolt and, of course, Taki.
Most of the pieces that were on display at the ‘Pressurism’ exhibition demonstrated a subversive message that is usually an expression of paradox or irony, which is a typical characteristic of street art in general.
So passionate is Alain-Dominque Gallizia about street art that he has integrated this ‘contested’ art form into the design of a building on the Cote d’Azur.
“London and Paris are so grey, so sombre. Graffiti lend colour, vivacity, life,” said the Italian architect.