THE STREETS OF EUROPE

New Works and Installations by:
Blek Le Rat, Blu, Bo130, D*Face
Microbo, and Space Invader

December 1, 2007 through December 29, 2007

NEW YORK, NY (November 12, 2007) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce The Streets of Europe, a group exhibition featuring installations by six of Europe’s most dynamic Street Artists. Continuing the gallery’s series on International Street Art that began with Ruas De São Paulo : A Survey of Brazilian Street Art, Jonathan LeVine Gallery has invited Blek le Rat, Blu, Bo130, D*Face, Microbo and Space Invader directly from the streets of Europe, to present their work to New York audiences.   

The Streets of Europe brings the vibrancy of urban art scenes currently found in London, Paris, and Milan into the Chelsea gallery setting, through newly created original works and site-specific installation pieces. The six talented artists in this show each have their own individual aesthetic, form of medium, and means of expression. Together they will transform the gallery using a variety of materials including paint, wheat paste, stencil, mosaic tile and digital animation—merging techniques and traditions, from the old and new world.

Street Art culture has grown from its graffiti roots over the past few decades and has since evolved into a global movement. Often conveying political or social commentary, the intent of many Street Artists is to create an open message to society, introduce unconventional ideas to the general public and engage the masses. When European artists—influenced by American Graffiti and Hip-Hop culture—first began to experiment in the streets of their own cities, their approach naturally translated into distinctly different techniques, in contrast with those found in the US. Street Artists in European cities developed applications that would compliment the classical architecture of their native environment, within the context of their own urban landscapes.

Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s goal in organizing this series of International Street Art exhibitions (First Brazilian, and now European) is to help create a visual dialogue within our global community, a creative exchange of ideas that transcend class and cultural differences, while crossing geographical borders. The objective is to promote freedom of expression through exposing new artwork to people in different cities worldwide.

Blek le Rat  
Blu  
Bo130  
D*Face  
Invader  
Microbo  

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Blek le Rat  

Blek le Rat was born Xavier Prou in Paris, France in 1951. A pioneer of graffiti writers in Europe, he was one of the first to use stencils for creating icons instead of writing his name. He was first exposed to graffiti in 1971, in New York, but didn't start making his own until ten years later, in Paris. Inspired by a stenciled portrait of Mussolini he created a silhouette of a rat running along the streets, which quickly became recognized around Paris. Blek’s work has been exhibited in galleries around the world and featured in publications such as TIME Magazine, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. In 2008, his first monograph, Blek le Rat – Getting Through the Walls, was published by Thames + Hudson. In 2011, Art Publishing, Ltd. released Blek le Rat: 30 Year Anniversary Retrospective.

Blu  

With a penchant for drawing and public art, Blu started painting walls around his native Bologna in 2000. Inspired by graffiti culture, he developed his signature style, which was much more figurative than the work he had seen on the streets of Italy. Blu’s inspiration stems from “a need of creating that is otherwise stifled by domestic walls; from the sheer pleasure of transforming ordinary and decaying places, showing how creativity may redevelop from urban degradation.”
 
Originating as sketches made in his notebook, Blu fleshes out his initial ideas first on paper. The second phase of his work is the fusion of his ideas with the location; allowing his ideas to react to the surrounding environment and architecture. His pieces often cover entire sides of buildings, which he paints using brushes mounted on long sticks, or simply standing on a friend’s shoulders.
 
Blu has painted walls in Italy, Spain, Germany, Brazil and England. In the fall of 2006, Blu, filmmaker Lorenzo Fonda and two friends documented an unscripted trip across South and Central America entitled “Megunica”. Painting murals and making friends along the way, the group traveled through Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Argentina. As a fan of Blu’s work, Fonda conceived the idea with the intention of exploring how such different cultures and lifestyles would influence and inspire Blu’s art. The project is set to be released in late Fall of 2007 as a package including a DVD of the documentary as well as a book which will include travel photos, wall pieces and a reproduction of an illustrated travel diary.

Bo130  

Born and raised in Milan, Bo130 studied at the Liceo Artistico in his hometown before traveling to London where he continued his education at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and eventually graduated from London College of Communication, the largest college within the University of the Arts London, with degrees in Graphic and Media Design. Bo130 explores different levels of visual communication through animation, art direction, graphic and web design. He experiments and blends different techniques such as painting, stencils, stickers, markers and spray paint to visually describe his interests and influences. His main inspirations grow from urban lifestyles, music, food, sex and graffiti. Bo130 has exhibited in galleries across Europe and the US, often collaborating with Microbo. In December, 2006 he participated in the Wooster on Spring project at 11 Spring Street organized by the Wooster Collective. This will be his largest exhibition in the United States to date.

D*Face  

D*Face is among a cadre of street artists whose goals are neither egotistical, nor political, but conceptual. Whereas urban dwellers may have grown tired of the repetition and redundancy of some stencil artists, whose endless reproductions of logos and names may be making Walter Benjamin smile in his grave, D*Face is more like a stylized cartoonist whose characters are too alive, demanding and confrontational to be limited to television sets, canvases or drawing boards. They’ve completely escaped the pen of their creator and are repopulating the walls of London, transforming the streets into a hyper-cartoony landscape of slit-eyed spheres and sharp-eared gremlins.

Invader  

Invader was born in 1969 in Paris, France, where he is currently based. In the late 1990s, he began placing popular 8-bit video game characters of the late 1970s on the streets of Paris, using mosaic tiles to simulate digital pixels. The project has spread on a global scale as the artist continues invading public spaces across five continents, on the streets of over seventy cities, worldwide. Invader was featured in Exit Through the Gift Shop, the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary film directed by world-renowned British street artists Banksy. In 2007, Invader was the subject of an article written by Michelle Kuo in Artforum. He has also been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, ARTINFO and The Miami Herald. His work has been exhibited in numerous institutions including Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASD) in San Diego, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP) in Brazil and Musée Ingres in France. Invader has released several books containing photos, maps and other documentation of his work. In 2008, Trans-Atlantic Publications, Inc. released Invasion in the UK. In 2012, CTRL + P published L’Invasion de Paris 2.0 and in 2013, Mission Miami. In 2012, he launched a piece into the stratosphere, becoming the first artist to send an artistic creation into space and produced a short documentary film about the project, titled Art 4 Space.

Microbo  

Born and raised in Sicily, Microbo studied art in London before moving to Milan. Heavily influenced and inspired by microbiology, she developed a unique visual language using organic shapes, filaments and shapeless organisms, which she uses to express life’s complexity and diversity. Her paintings, drawings, stickers and stencils embrace a wide range of references, from traditional graffiti style to surrealist imagery. Often collaborating on projects with her partner, Bo130, Microbo’s army of underground creatures can be found on the streets and in galleries across Europe and the United States.
Blek le Rat  













 

Blu  















 

Bo130  

















 

D*Face  

















 

Invader  









Microbo  













Opening Photos








 
Jonathan LeVine Gallery | 529 West 20th Street and 557C West 23rd Street | New York, NY 10011 | Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm | 212-243-3822