Interview with pro golfer turned artist, Ken Sortais

Artist, Ken Sortais – most visible for his huge graffiti present all over Paris - is currently exhibiting indoors at the London-based, Galleries Goldstein, one year after his solo show at Palais de Tokyo, a consequence of his winning at the 56th edition of Le Salon de Montrouge.

Part of the vanguard Parisian graffiti crew, Peace And Love (PAL), along with Horfe, Sortais’ work is to be found everywhere in the streets of Paris, and most often high up on the rooftops of buildings. Check out our interview with Sortais filmed at the vernissage of his debut London exhibition at the Galleries Goldstein, Princes of Darkness, as follows:

Directed: Hal Arnold

Camera: Adam Singodia

Edit: Matt Owen

Music: Pali Meursault

Research: Fernanda Hinke

Producer: Demian Smith

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Sortais’ art evokes the style of Walt Disney, mixing pop and esoteric references and offering a rich and mysterious world in which to lose onself.

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (2)

Photo: lesmysteresdeparis.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (1)

Photo: lesmysteresdeparis.com

The description of the exhibition available on Galleries Goldstein’s website reads, as follows:

“If your indisposition is a burden, if it affects your life, if it tyrannises you and annihilates your desires, here is an ancestral remedy to cure almost everything, but be careful, it is precarious. This method is not taught in any books and can not be accessible to everyone. To make it work, you need to believe in it. Believe blindly.

“You have to devote yourself to the spirits you will try to call. From this moment, such an act of submission is not accessible to all : prudes, cowards and religious people may rebuff. This is nothing else but black magic, magic that has harmful repercussions on your life and on the ones close to you. In order to act, there is no other choice but to empty yourself from your consciousness : you must sedate it.

“Firstly, you will give birth to eighteen entities, each of them symbolizing evils buried since the beginning of Humanity. Eighteen apostles of evil whom you will know nothing about, whom you should not try to give meaning, but rather materialise as soon as you detect them. These spirits can take different forms, and their representations change according on the person considering them. Their nature is never-changing, buried in the most archaic layer of our minds. Once materialisation is operated, you have to prove allegiance by exposing these evil faces : these forces arrogantly feed themselves vicariously through the individual’s attention, here is the secret of this unusual recovery.

“By flattering the egos of these insatiable visages, you will allow them to enter their own process of creation, and the magic will happen. By entrusting them with a feeling of independence  you will fully prove that you are only the hand submitted to their will… I must recall that this is not an entirely safe experience for you and your loved ones, but past recoverings (sic) have proven the cure’s efficiency… Therefore, after a period of gestation, these small evils will concentrate their energies, all carrying a common will for revenge and you will see, nights after nights, the birth of their univocal venger (sic) arbiter : the golem.

“Protean, and largely capricious, the golem’s power of healing is immense. Traditionally  the spirit would penetrate darkest abysses of individuals to make them vomit on the surface. Do not be shocked or the magic would be shattered. Embrace the interpretation of your real nature. Do not fear recovery anymore.”

Indeed!

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (10)

 Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (3)

  Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (4)

  Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (5)

  Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (6)

  Photo: Adam Singodia copyright 2012

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (7)

 Photo: Adam Singodia copyright 2012 

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (8)

 Photo: Adam Singodia copyright 2012

The exhibition at Galleries Goldstein also includes an accompanying print edition, available through the gallery shop, editions.galleriesgoldstein.com.

To see Sortais’ exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo last year, which took place after he won the Prix du conseil général des Hauts-de-Seine at the prestigious Le Salon de Montrouge, check out the coverage by these guys.

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Galleries Goldstein

20 Coronet Street London, N1 6HD

info@galleriesgoldstein.com

+44 (0) 789 174  6965

Show runs until 12th January, 2013

Palais de Tokyo entrails painted by Lek, Sowat & Dem 189

Abstract graffiti on the ceiling, floor and walls, mostly in black, red and white, tags everywhere. Few dashes of colour in drained graffiti and a soft pallet in the room beside of it, make this space in Palais de Tokyo a messy temple of graffiti culture.

Dans Les Entrailles Du Palais Secret [In The Entrails Of The Secret Palais] is an intervention created in the basement of the museum, and the next step after the astonishing Le Mausolée project presented earlier this year by French graffiti artists (not street artists) Lek & Sowat.

Inside the massive Palais do Tokyo complex, the project has been realised in the passages leading to the emergency exit, a space that has never been open to the public before, let alone used to show art. The space has been purposely chosen in an attempt to stay loyal to the original roots of graffiti, even inside the environs of a rich and powerful contemporary art museum.

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (2)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (10)

 

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (9)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (3)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (12)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (8)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (5)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (1)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (4)

Firstly, about the artists leading the project: Lek, one of the first generation of Parisian graffiti art, learned his craft between the north-east Parisian districts of La Chapelle and Stalingrad, where French street culture emerged. Nowadays, he works with the crews French Kiss, LCA, GNS, RAW and 1984, with a focus on abstract graffiti, graffiti futurism, post-graffiti – whatever you want to call it, but directly connected to the artistic culture that started on the sides of New York subway cars in the 1970s and 1980s – graffiti, not street art.

Meanwhile, Sowat is a Franco-American graffiti artist who grew up between Marseille and Los Angeles. He was inspired by Chaz Bojorquez, an important figure in the Californian graffiti scene, who developed “Cholo writing”, a calligraphy used to mark the territories of Latino gangs in Los Angeles. Sowat works with one of the most sophisticated graffiti crews in Paris, Da Mental Vaporz.

Both artists are practitioners of Urbex, short for Urban Exploration, a discipline that consists of finding abandoned spaces, and in these artists cases, creating artistic interventions. The curatorial idea of this project was to reproduce the feeling of Le Mausolée, inviting artists from other generations with different artistic practices, to work together as a collective.

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (11)

Other artists who were involved in the creation of Dans Les Entrailles Du Palais Secret at Palais de Tokyo, are as follows:

ALËXONE, AZYLE, BABS, BOM.K, COKNEY, DEM189, DRAN, HONDA, HORFÉ, KATRE, LEK, OUTSIDER, RIZOTE, SAMBRE, SETH, SOWAT, SWIZ, VELVET, WXYZ, ZOER

The Palais de Tokyo installation is inspired by Lek & Sowat’s, Le Mausolée project – one of the most astonishing ever illegal graffiti interventions, which was unveiled in 2012. Produced over a year long period by 40 of France’s best graffiti artists at a 430,000 square foot abandoned supermarket at Porte de Pantin in north Paris, you can watch a stop-motion video of the event, below:

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Palais de Tokyo

13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris

www.palaisdetokyo.com

Runs until 1st September, 2013

Tomek & Skube (PAL crew) exhibition at Jour et Nuit

Paris art exhibitions don’t come much more underground than Paris main hardcore graffiti art crew, PAL. Tomek and Skube are two of its most active members. Their ‘indoors practice’, however, is a little departed from what you’ll see sprayed on walls around Paris, but not so dissimilar.

Open to the public at the ‘art squat’ Jour et Nuit in Paris’ 15th arrondissement, next to the Eiffel Tower, here is a photo report of the artwork for sale.

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (1)

Click the image for larger size

Tomek comes from the Paris street art scene with a focus on typography and gestural painting. His style shows an orbiting of energetic materials and calligraphy. His generous painting invites us to question certain aesthetic limits from the speed of his stroke, to consider other approaches due to the ease of its forms and innovative technique. Its appeal can be sought from the general movement that proposes us to follow the evolution of an artist aware of his era, which is constantly changing.

Skube, also from the Paris street graffiti movement, meanwhile, presents us with eddies of a turbulent world, from which he first emerged as an artist, in the year of grace, 2001. From a timeless decade Skube searches for the absolute, his eyes main ally, his curiosity as a faithful adventurer. His understanding of graffiti supports his quest: to break the time and manners, laws and good taste of this stylistic movement.

The show is organised by the specialist graffiti art dealership, Pour la Gloire.

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (7)

 

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (3)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (4)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (5)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (8)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (9)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (10)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (11)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (12)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (13)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (14)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (15)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (16)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (17)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (18)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (19)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (20)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (21)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (22)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (23)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (24)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (25)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (26)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (27)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (28)

Paris graffiti art exhibition by Tomek & Skube - Alternative Paris. Photos: Demian Smith (29)

Exhibition runs from 2nd to 9th September, 2012, 12pm to 7pm.

Jour et Nuit

61, Rue Saint Charles, Paris

(Metro Charles Michels)

http://www.pourlagloire.eu/

http://jouretnuitculture.blogspot.fr/