The Street Art Beat: Red Arrows and Big Faces in China
This is the first post of a new series on street art in Asia, and we start in my current place of residence: China.
China is hardly the place one would expect to look for street art — what with the recent Ai Weiwei crisis and all — but surprisingly, many iconic, international street artists have been leaving their marks in the People’s Republic as of late.
Though street artists working in China have always limited their works to dilapidated buildings, fairs, and removable elements (pasted-on stencils, for instance), they’re slowly but surely beginning to take larger, more public risks.
Here are two of the top offenders:
1. Jef Aérosol
Born in Nantes (where yours truly studied abroad), Jef works with stencils and leaves a signature red arrow on all of his works, which are found in Paris, London, Lisbon, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, Chicago, New York, Brussels, Zurich, Tokyo, Dublin, Belfast, and most recently… the Great Wall of China. Kudos, my brave man.
Also hailing from France, JR’s large-scale portraits have spotted from Paris to Los Angeles to Kenya, and now he’s got Shanghai under his belt, too. He embarks on large series, such as his “Face 2 Face” exhibition, an illegal project where he posted giant portraits of Israelis and Palestinians in 8 Israeli and Palestinian cities on both sides of the separation wall.
In 2008 he completed a “Women are Heroes” project in France, Kenya, Brazil, and Cambodia where he used large images of women making funny faces to bring humanity to these often faceless victims of conflict. This project also includes a film; see the trailer below:
His Shanghai works, including the image at the beginning of this post, focuses largely on the elderly of China. His commentary is clear in his choice of location. Absolutely genius, and definitely worth checking out here and here.
Angela Kung graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in art history. Currently based in Shanghai, she blogs at kokomo.
(images via unurth)
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TAGS: Art & Design • Chinese art • Jef Aerosol • JR • street art
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