Evelyne Chevallier‘s photo collages take us across a graffitied world, on a journey into the daubed painted word of people living in cities such as Buenos Aires, New York, Montreal, Madrid and Paris. Each image a memento of a mark, a declaration of existence by the anonymous, those that have a need to make themselves known, express their innermost fears, desires, love.
All graffiti is the expression of life, there is an immediacy to it from the simplest tag to the most intricate stencilled painting, each a graphic expression, an idea rooted in the culture of that society. For Chevallier these public declarations moved her to record them. And as she travelled she collected those pictures that struck a chord, formulating and indexing them, re-imagining and re-interpreting the meaning behind the images to create a new form; photo collages of what she had seen on her wanderings along the streets of the worlds greatest cities. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
When someone takes a walk, at the best he will come across a nice word, a lovely phrase but most of the time he will only see tags, swearwords and a few love declarations. The collages allow a concentration of the most creative, poetic, comical or unusual messages that I gather according to themes.
Scribbled words, drawings daubed with paint on the walls of public spaces reflect popular, rebel, protesting and political or even philosophical thinking. Today we can add a strong notion of identity illustrated by what are called tags. In a world where anonymity takes over, people need to impose their name or their signature to prove their own existence in a repetitive way. Imposing oneself.
Like music, graffiti may be compared to a universal language with it’s local specificities. It is interesting to note that in Buenos Aires as much as in Paris walls are covered with animals just as if the need to reconcile with nature became vital in these megalopolis. Whether issued from a rural culture or from an urban culture, the messages add, complete and enrich one another.
Graffiti are living testimonials that reveal many original aspects of the societies that generate them. The Vox Populi says it: If media belong to you, walls are ours.