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In the streets of Paris, the coronavirus inspires street artists

Saturday January 2, 10:30 a.m., near the Place de la Bastille, in Paris, MGLO is heading towards a wooden fence that protects the fronts of the famous Bofinger brasserie. The street-artist is not at his best, he fears having caught the Covid-19. No sooner has he stored his cans of paint on the premises than he leaves for an antigen test. He returned a few minutes later reassured. He puts on a blouse the better to go unnoticed, dips his roller in the pot of white paint and gets to work.

Masked passers-by parade without paying too much attention to the disturbing work that takes shape before their eyes: a series of three castles from which monsters emerge. He then applies himself to tracing uncertain contours with a spray of neon pink paint. The haunted and organic castle, streaked with red veins, this new motif appeared in his palette with the pandemic.

The monsters that emerge from the besieged fortresses of MGLO are here to “Push back” the virus

“The castle is the ultimate refuge. I paint them on the palisades and iron curtains of traders to provide them with protection. Like an amulet to counter contamination, my strongholds bear the mention “Protect vs Covid-19” ”, specifies the artist. The monsters that come out of these besieged fortresses are there to ” repel “ the virus. Far from thinking that his paintings have magical powers, MGLO seeks above all to build a public work that acts as a mirror of the fears and vulnerabilities of society.

Known for the skeletons and skulls he has painted in the streets of Paris since 2009, but also for enigmatic faces in black and white, at the crossroads of man, animal and science fiction , the street artist, who publishes Clear line (True Story Editions), said to have painted “Savagely” a “Big ten castles” in Paris since the end of the first confinement.

Embrace prevented

The mask appeared first. It was on the eve of confinement, in mid-March: the last stencil in the open air by street-artist C215 in a street in Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne) represented a young Asian couple kissing with masks – an accessory that had not yet swept over France. This strict confinement was not, moreover, particularly conducive to spontaneous works on the walls.

Read the meeting with C215 (in “M”, in September 2019): “The portrait is an agonizing exercise. And it’s a portrait painter who tells you so »

Even the very prolific Invader, who took advantage of this confined spring to prepare for a summer invasion of Marseille, admits having stuck in everything and for everything only.“A little ten” of its mosaics in Paris over the two periods of confinement. “I was less active, but I couldn’t resist. And for the first time, I had authorizations, since I made exemptions myself ”, laughs the artist, whose successful application, FlashInvaders, punctuated the ” taken “ of his fans in the street with a special message: “Stay home”. The motif that came to sign the 2020 vintage, the final laid mosaic of the year, is a smiley face with a smile hidden behind a mask.

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