The Sang Bleu London Contemporary Art & Project Space is happy to announce an exhibition with Cockney opening tomorrow.
In his first publication, comprised of two inseparable volumes, Chiaro / Scuro, Cokney contrasts his alternative life and work with the way it is seen by the vandal squad who, in his case, have become art-critic-prosecution-witnesses. Cokney’s illegal painting, from metro depots to law courts, via the Palais de Tokyo art centre, is ‘clair-obscur’, chiaroscuro, light and dark: the contrast of pigments, the darkness of metro depots lit with neon, obscure anonymity next to the reputation of a pseudonym, exiting clandestinity, entering judicial and cultural institutions. Arrested and convicted in 2012, then charged in 2014, the artist was fined 228,000 euros for voluntary damage, and is awaiting trial for criminal conspiracy.
Book 1: Chiaro, the white book.
When Cokney was released from custody after his first arrest in 2012, the police handed him two rolls of undeveloped film: rolls no. 10012A12 and 10112A12. The artist didn’t yet want to see the photos that were saved from the material confiscated for his criminal record. He will discover them, like the readers, in this first volume, which assembles interviews, memories, analyses, manifestos… pages written by Cokney, of course, but also by guests invited for the occasion, pages that are bound in Japanese style and which, once their folds are torn open, will reveal these forgotten, secret photos – so many fragments of his clandestine life rendered public with his arrest. While the digital era has turned the graffiti milieu upside down, updating it to the web 2.0 era, Cockney continues to photograph his paintings the old-fashioned way, not wishing to forget the fear of finding spoiled shots in his prints, of losing forever the proof and memory of those ceaselessly effaced images. This policy is pushed to the extreme here, by making no selection for publication. Everything is delivered untouched, raw, and in the order of shots taken on the film.
Book 2: Scuro, the black book.
Arrested in 2012 by the anti-graffiti brigade, and searched in front of television cameras for the evening news on national TV station TF1, Cokney was fined 228,000 euros. Case N° 1203264038. Documents from the case, graphic analyses, photographs, complaints, obscure cleaning quotes, often duplicated or tripled to pump up the bill… All these documents, roughly photocopied and published in this black book are today considered by the artist as part of his artistic work. With an introduction by his lawyer, who defended him against the civil parties constituted by the RATP and SNCF (Paris public transport service and French national railway service), this second volume is the strict reduction of the life of the artist as seen through the spectrum of the legal system. Some of these documents were displayed in the exhibition ‘Guerre du Nord’ at the Palais de Tokyo exhibition in June 2014, when Cockney had just been arrested again, charged, and was under judicial supervision. By confronting his work in a conceptual manner, with judicial and personal archives, Cockney reinvents the way graffiti is exhibited and presented
The official release will take place tomorrow – Wednesday April 15th at Sang Bleu London from 6 to 9pm in presence of the authors.
Only open for 5 days from the 15th to the 20th
Sang Bleu London Contemporary Art & Project Space
29b Dalston Lane – London E8 3DF, UK
Join the Facebook event here