National Monuments Centre in Paris invited the artist Zevs to create an exhibition specifically designed for Le Château de Vincennes, an ancient fortress. This exhibition is intended to embody the clash of historical and political contexts in a truly explosive mixture.
The melding of historical heritage and contemporary street art has came to relevance in Europe over the past years as artists like JR applied his large photographed faces to the floor of Pantheon. This time Aguirre Schwarz, known as Zevs, was given carte blanche to fill a castle with new works. The exhibition is titled Noir Eclaire (black lightning) which refers to the opposing ideas with which Zevs experiments in the space.
The exhibition site is an essential part of French heritage. It has a long and complex history of serial abandonments and rebirths. The castle was a royal residence, prison, and porcelain factory. Reflecting on the historical context of the castle, Zevs created some of the artworks specifically for the site-specific exhibition and some were adopted for the castle environment. The exhibition presents 24 works of graffiti, videos, paintings, sculptures, photographs— and a museum shop, Zevs tells The Creators Project.
The exhibition starts with a moat adorned with flames on its sides. Zevs created them by using the clean graffiti technique — a method of creating temporary images on surfaces by removing dirt from them. Some of the artworks closely interact with the history of the site. For instance, Zevs made new versions of engraved inscriptions on the walls made by prisoners of jails in Vincennes. The up-to-date version is made with luminescent fluorescent pigments leaving the artwork partially visible, only fully appearing at night.
The 25th work of art is the museum shop of the fashion brand LDV that Zevs has worked with for more than 10 years. The brand is comprised of Leonardo da Vinci’s monogram with the Louis Vuitton logo as a representation of the constant dialogue between art and luxury items. While you can buy luxury items in the store, priced accordingly, there is also a black market version of the luxury shop called “Ali Baba.” Zevs got in touch with the biggest web sales portal of the same name in China, “I sent a picture to Ali Baba asking if they could make a cheap version of my LDV luxury bag. A few weeks later, I received hundreds of versions of it,” explained Zevs.
Click here to see more work of Zevs.