27th April 2012 – 17th May 2012
Blek Le Rat, the “Rat who gave birth to Banksy” returns to the UK for a remarkable solo exhibition at Opera Gallery London.
Considered to be one of the pioneers of Stencil art, Blek Le Rat was invited by the Tate Modern to be part of a talk about the Tate’s street art exhibition in 2008. His social and political works have had a great influence on today’s graffiti art and “guerilla art” movements.
BLEK LE RAT solo exhibition of new works, curated by gallery Director Jean-David Malat.
* 1 free print, signed & numbered, to the first 100 people visiting the exhibition on Friday 27th April 2012 from 10.00 am
Blek Le Rat
(Xavier Prou) was born in Paris in 1951. He is a grand master of street art, and considered by many to be the originator of stencil graffiti. Blek has been adorning the streets of Paris with his hugely original and intelligent artwork since the early eighties, and he has been a massive influence on today’s graffiti and guerrilla art movements.
He started decorating the streets of Paris in 1981 with a rat stencil, hoping to create an invasion of rats – “the only free animal in the city”, while creating a style that would suit Paris and not copy the American style. His street name is said to originate from a childhood cartoon “Blek Le Roc”, also using “rat” as an anagram for “art”.
Blek Le Rat’s real identity was revealed in 1991 when he was arrested while stenciling a replica of the Caravaggio’s “Madonna and Child”. He stopped painting on walls after that, and after he was fined for ten years worth of graffiti and threatened that he would face jail if caught again. He continues to produce work in the form of posters and canvases.
Considered to be one of the pioneers of Stencil art, Blek Le Rat was invited by the Tate Modern to be part of a talk about the Tate’s street art exhibition in 2008. The same year, the Sunday Times referred to him as “The Rat who gave birth to Banksy” (Januszczak Waldemar, 8 June 2008).
His social and political works have had a great influence on today’s graffiti art and “guerilla art” movements.
Beyond France and England, Blek Le Rat is now part of the international art scene. He lives in France with his wife and teenage son.