French graffiti artists Lek & Sowat have unveiled the second phase of their artistic intervention called ‘ Subway Art Breakthrough’ on the tunnel boring machine ‘Koumba’, building an extension to the underground tube line 14 in Paris.
For the artistic duo the ephemeral element has always played a part in their many years of practice working in the public space. Rust, erosion, erasure, destruction mingle, complete, sublimate their paintings in situ or in their artist’s studio.
In collaboration with NGE and Xpo Fmr their latest ‘Subway Art’ their latest ‘Subway Art’ production reflects their work. None of the works made during production have been permanent. They carried with them the signs of their inevitable destruction. During their brief existence, they proudly displayed the traces left by men, cuts, welds, shocks, drippings… The tunnel cutting wheel was cut, damaged, re-welded; the crushed piercing wall, destroyed by the teams of NGE and Webuild.
The new work produced for the breakthrough is no exception to the rule. Carried out during the last week, it was altered, transformed and improved by the men who worked on the preparation of the exit wall of the tunnel boring machine.
The new work announces the tunnel boring machine by referencing some notable elements of the cutting wheel. The use of yellow colour and fluorescent blue are a tribute to industrial construction site colours , and alert us of the imminent exit of the machine.
For Lek & Sowat, it is this idea of an exquisite industrial corpse that represents the quintessence of their collaboration with the construction world. By including on their works the traces of the work from men who built the extension of the tube line 14, they wish to pay tribute to all the builders involved and to the raw beauty of their places of intervention. .
View more pictures of their work in progress.
Pics by NGE / Stephane Bouquet