Monday, 27 September 2010

Take-Away Art

Street art comes in many shapes and forms, but few are as simple as the creations of an artist known as Liox. Operating at night, Liox wanders the streets, creating trails of sketches that stretch through the east of Paris.

Mon nom d'artiste est LIOX , je suis peintre et graphiste”, he says as way of introduction on his website. “Je colle dans la rue des dessins originaux offerts au bon vouloir des passants. Des dessins à redecoller et à s'accaparer... ou même s'ils ne plaisent décidément pas à déchirer, tagger, annoter” (I stick original sketches in the street, leaving them for whoever wants to take them. Drawings to grab and stick somewhere else…or if they really don’t please people, to rip, tag or write comments on).

The real name of the artist Liox is Lionel Andeler, but it seems a little pointless to dig any further into the identit(y)ies of a man who dresses as a woman. Concentrate on the art and the creations, this seems to suggest, and there is much to investigate. As an illustrator he has produced several children’s books (one of his declared heroes is Tomi Ungerer), and as an artist he has exhibited in France, Germany and Brazil, but for several years now he has also taken his art directly into the streets.

His signed sketches can be found attached to fences, signposts and walls across the city, generally “représentant…les symboles de la république sous une forme nouvelle, créative, atypique mais surtout porteuse d'un sens concis" (representing the symbols of the French republic in a new form, creative, atypical but above all with a concise signification). Recently, his primary target has been Marianne, the national emblem of France. In the two examples I found most recently, Marianne is first tired and haggard in ‘en retraite - in retirement’ (a comment on the proposed raising of retirement ages in France) and then crying (O larmes etc, a play on words with ‘aux armes’ from the French national anthem - particularly the Serge Gainsbourg version!).

Did I take them and are they collectable? I prefer the idea of the sketches staying in the street, questioning the passers by who stop to look at them, so I didn't take one, and collectability implies rarity, but Liox is in fact quite prolific. During the 2007 Nuit Blanche event, he created 2007 of the sketches that were hung in the town hall of the 4th arrondissement for visitors to take away. He later repeated the action during the 2008 Ateliers d’artistes de Belleville event, this time with hundreds of sketched angels.

Anyway, I’m sure that I will have other occasions to take away a piece of this art in the future. Despite having certain problems with the police in the past, he is unwavering in his desire to continue posing questions and to continue offering his drawings. As
he summarises on his website, "il y en a eu, il y en a, et il y en aura encore" .

You can see the artist in action in this interesting film:


ArtSparker said...

Love this idea- so inspiring. Maybe I could organize something...

Kasia Dietz said...

WOW! I will look for his/her work...I love this type of provocative 'street art'!!

Philippa said...

I'm not sure that I would have been as unselfish as you...I think I would have taken one home!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Thank you for this intriguing post. I do know that if I had seen one of his angels, that it would now be hanging on my wall.

Bon weekend!

Sandy's witterings said...

Such resistance to temptation - I'm afraid I would have been off with it.
Much enjoying your tours around Paris and still even older pages to go back too. Thanks

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