Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper x Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France / Dispatch From Isolation # 66

“One paste up per month for the public health,” is the theme for this program called Le Mur, now on their 84th piece. In our time of self-imposed quarantines, invariably we feel our liberties are being infringed. Yet seeing this lad skipping down roof-tops of trains may provide the viewer an imaginary doorway to jump through – a momentary mental health break.

Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)

“I guess you could say that the boy running on the train reminds us of the innocent freedom to play that we don’t now have,” says photographer Martha Cooper of this youthful romp taken forty or so years ago. The original plan was for Martha to be there documenting Ella & Pitr at work pasting her photograph on the wall. Alas, Covid-19 thwarted those plans, just like millions upon millions of people all over the world have seen their own plans derailed, canceled, and postponed.

In the middle of a pandemic, artists Ella and Pitr succeeded in getting this image printed large format and pasted it here in St. Etienne. There is something reassuring about seeing this image persisting through time, emancipated into the public realm, waving its flag of self-directed liberation here on the street.

Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
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