The David Bloch Gallery is pleased to have received Lek, Sowat and Arnaud Liard for their exhibition “CONTREBANDE”.
The opening was held Friday, February 28 in the presence of the artists and the exhibition lasted until March 29, 2014.
Following the succes of their “Mausolée” project, Lek and Sowat are in the spotlight since putting together two major group shows at the Palais de Tokyo in 2013, “Dans les entrailles” and “Terrains Vagues”, both of which gaining international recognition.
They have also been invited to discuss their work at Centre Pompidou with Jacques Villeglé and recently created a dark light installation in the Tour Paris 13 basement with Roti and Legz.
Along fellow artist Arnaud Liard, they did completely re-imagine the David Bloch gallery’s space during their three weeks residency in Marrakech, through canvases, wall paintings and installations.
“Pioneers in an experimental and collective form of Graffiti, Lek, Sowat and Arnaud Liard have roamed France’s abandoned territories and buildings for years, turning the XX1st century’s post industrial decaying ruins into their playground.
This urban and out of frame practice led them to develop a radical and minimalists aesthetic that can be found in their recent studio works, in galleries and in art institutions, places they invest like public spaces: meeting areas, crossroads, passages, fringes where they need to break the limits.
Past conjugated in present tense, desecrated symbolic shapes, calligraphic abstractions , reflections and asymmetries , mathematical rigor , interlacing curves and stips against strips : acting as counterfeiters , Lek , Sowat and Arnaud Liard transcribe the grammar of art of Moroccan Islamic craftmanship into the geometrical complexity of their deconstructed work.
Graffiti is seen as an urban pollution, so the trio chose to confront themselves to the prestige of Moroccan ornaments , the treasures of the country’s history and its tourists’ clichés.
Functioning like large scale croped zooms, the paintings of Lek, Sowat and Liard retain the infinite and colorful combinations of these ornaments , focusing on the process of creation, using geometrical grids used as patterns while preserving the canvas’ linens raw material. Painted lines weave and collide, interrupted as fragments of unfinished networks , fractured and sometimes cemented.
In the middle of Marrakech’s Biennale , the artists have chosen to work around the notion of fake and the original copy of an artwork. This is a way for them to question , while not just commenting, the status of an artwork and the merchant value of signatures.
This comes as no surprise from artists who made their classes in an underground culture that is transmitted through groups, between ” kings” ( the maallem ) and beginners ( the matalleems ), in the shadows of the streets, where the repetition ( of the tag, of the gesture ) and the absence of the works’s preservation are at the heart of the practice. An art of contraband. ”
Hugo Vitrani, Journalist at Mediapart, Curator of the Lasco Project (Palais de Tokyo)