Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte / Hans-Georg Merkel
2014, in situ
240 x 600 cm
Spray paint, wood
Jean-François Perroy, alias Jef Aérosol, is an original member of the French pochoir movement. Together with fellow pochoirists like Blek le Rat and Miss Tic, he pioneered the stencilling technique so frequently replicated in the UrbanArt of today. Back in 1986, he created the cover artwork for "Vite Fait, Bien Fait", the very first book on the subject of street art, or rather, on the culture of rebellion that the art form represents. Translating as "Done Quickly, Done Well", the book's title sums up the punk spirit that characterised the early stencilists. Jef Aérosol's first graffiti series appeared in Tours in 1982. Based on photos from a photo booth, it comprises a set of self-portraits showing Aerosol making funny faces. The pictures are framed by writing on two sides in a format reminiscent of the record cover for "London Calling" by The Clash (Jef Aérosol is also a musician). The words that feature there include the artist's pseudonym as well as terms and slogans like "Click Clack" and "Sniffin' Paint " – references to the transgressive act of spray painting. Over the course of his career, Jef Aérosol has refined this initial silhouette-like motif style, to create more sophisticated detailed representations. While life-size portraits or figures feature regularly in the pochoiristes' works, Jef Aérosol now takes things further still, creating murals that cover entire house walls. Of course, pieces such as these can hardly be executed in passing using only cardboard and spray paint cans (the means normally availed of by street punks). But Aérosol has stayed true to the rough, grayscale look of his original works. Besides rock stars like himself, Jef Aérosol likes to portray ordinary people. In the piece shown here, a whitewashed assemblage of boards – reminiscent of the walls of a slum shack – serves as the background for his portrayal of a group of cheerful African children. Its title came to him as he was browsing through his record collection and came across an album by Soul Unlimited. Its name: "Black is Beautiful ".
140 x 120 cm