The East West Propaganda Project

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E’ in fase di chiusura l’eccezionale mostra che ha visto collaborare insieme per la prima volta Obey Giant e WK Interact. Per l’occasione Silvia Reissner ha fatto un salto ad Agnès b e fatto qualche foto per noi.

Il manifesto dell’evento dalla viva voce di Jean François Sanz curatore di questa iniziativa che da Tokyo è arrivata in Europa.

In the east/west propaganda project, agnès b. brings together for the first time two preeminent figures of the international street art scene for a confrontation of their respective graphic spheres. Based on the principal of emulation and collaboration, this project initiates a visual dialogue between Shepard Fairey and WK Interact, two artists working in divergent yet surprisingly complementary styles. The artists will produce original works for the show both individually and collectively – calling upon the practices of two-handed drawings, cadavre exquis and graphic ping-pong.

The exhibition will be inaugurated at the Tokyo Wonder Site art center in Tokyo, (March 22 – April 22), before traveling to the galerie du jour agnès b. in Paris (May 16 – June 30). In addition to original works and editions produced especially for the occasion, the show will be enriched by wall pieces created in situ for the Tokyo and Paris galleries. This experiment will provide the public the opportunity to observe that their work is as convincing in the exhibition space as it is in the street.
The city centers of megalopolises where they ordinarily travel to paste-up their works are saturated with signs and images. In order to exist visually in the urban jungle, the artists must hit hard:  produce graphic artifacts strong enough to compete with the multitude of other stimuli to which each person circulating in the street is exposed. To this purpose they each forged a characteristic aesthetic, effective and easily identifiable, associating a certain number of proven graphic techniques and processes with their own visual codes. These they invent and experiment daily in the effort to produce maximal effect, notably in order to vie with omnipresent advertising, from which no one can escape, and towards which Shepard and WK show general distrust.

Beyond the purely visual aspect, one of the essential qualities of their images is to produce meaning, and by doing so to incite questioning.  Their images intrigue and their goal is often to destabilize the viewer, to interpolate us if for only a few seconds, to rip us out of the mechanical stupor of humans in the city.  Thus the injunction “Obey” – which Shepard Fairey has made his leitmotif over the last fifteen years, systematically associating it with diverse visuals – is essentially designed to create a reaction in the viewer.  In the case of WK Interact, this desire manifests itself in an even more obvious way through the term “Interact” of his pseudonym, calling unequivocally for an interaction with each person susceptible to see his images. The East/West axis evoked in the title of the exhibition makes reference to the geographic location of the two artists in the United States (WK Interact is based on the East Coast, in New York, and Shepard Fairey on the West Coast, in Los Angeles), as well as on the show’s itinerary (Tokyo-Paris).  The term “propaganda” refers to a central problematic common to both artists:  trafficking with the aesthetic codes of propaganda posters, the artists engage in veritable visual guerrilla warfare at their own level, which in their case means on a world-wide scale.

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