The Genius of C215 In One Storied Tome : La monographie

A rich and storied collection from one of the streets most loved modern stencillists is C215: La monographie.

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On the street and in the studio this guy has pretty much mastered the art of stencils over the last decade in a way that makes the medium have a human depth; something that few can do. He manages to give his subjects a character, revealing even the soul of his subjects in the lines on their faces, bringing life in their eyes. A proud and tormented fellow who honors art history as much as the suffering of people today, this is a talent that is fully engaged in the modern world.

Every letter of the alphabet demarks a new chapter – from Amsterdam to Barcelona to Cinema to Enfants, Justice, Prisons, Tel Aviv and Zurich; An interesting method of marking the travels of an artist as he circles the world that we live in and the one that lives in him.

“I paint in the street for my pleasure as well as for the others, fairly shared. But always and more and more I paint outdoors for the others,” he says in his preface that lays across from a series of photos showing him on various streets in many countries with stencil and can, alone and with an audience.

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Each chapter gives a few examples of Christian Guémy’s work pertaining to the title and as you turn the pages you are struck by the poignancy and the skill, the element of surprise as he moves from homeless to goddesses, cats to couples, religious icons to icons of his daughter Nina as she grows. In studio and gallery you see the translation he makes from the street, but it is most rewarding to gaze upon mottled walls, mailboxes, doorways and remnants of plaster or broken window, seeing well-placed works of monochrome sometimes bloom into full riotous color.

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A small text from the artist in most chapters will bring you back to earth as he describes a memory or an observation, his biography told through his work, and you feel like he is there on the couch next to you narrating his book for you. Notable exceptions are a treatise and recollection of a public display of support he made for the French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira and to decry racism and incivility, and his remembrances of the Charlie Hebdo killings.

It is in these texts where you see the fire that burns deep in the artist and you understand how he is able to make that same fire burn bright in the eyes of his subjects.

“All of you carry me on your shoulders and it helps me see farther away and makes the pathe less painful. You are the one who makes me go ahead and I thank you for that.” – C215

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. La Monographie. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

C215 La Monographie / The Monograph. Éditions Albin Michel. Paris 2015

 

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