French Street Artist L’Atlas ‘Tags’ the City
With just about anything he can get his hands on, French street artist L’Atlas draws on themes of Arabic calligraphy, Greek mythology, Oriental philosophy, art and architecture as he “tags” the city with his labyrinthian symbols that are at once contemporary and primitive; questioning our direction and inviting us to get lost in the urban maze. Using a spray can, paint, gaffer tape or chalk, L’Atlas creates metaphors for the city that make us go around in circles but never shut us in. “We should take the time to get lost in order to be able to find the way out. To (re)find ourselves, to get to ourselves again.”
The artist is inspired by architect Yona Friedman as an observer of daily life, of the city and what it offers us, and aims to further explore the realm of architecture by participating in projects like the Tripoli Green Belt with Gilles Clément. L’Atlas has spent the last decade tagging every edifice the city could give him in an exploration of man and city, internal and external.
A video of L’Atlas at work during is visit to New York’s Washington Square Park:
After New York 2009, he visited India for his exhibition at Alliance Francaise, proceeding to tag the streets of New Dehli. Loca Indian media had this to say about his work:
“The 31-years-old has spray-painted two huge canvases at Alliance Francaise and is planning to temporarily vandalize the floor and turn it into a work of art, a painted warren. The canvases are a crisscross of interlinking lines resembling a maze a compass giving directions. They are not chaotic; instead they exude the symmetry of the mandala and have similarities with Indian rangoli patterns. […]
When he is not painting at the Alliance Francaise, L’Atlas walks around Delhi looking for ‘a suitable manhole’. Manholes, he says, are ‘amazing, more beautiful than all the paintings in the museum’”. (Indian Express)
You can also read an interview with L’Atlas here.