Protesters are throwing cobblestones to the police. The police are shooting rubber balls. Pedestrians are dodging, politicians are saying, hoteliers are lamenting, merchants are celebrating the increase in mask sales; and is Ememem healing wounds. Not physical, not social: urban.
The French artist with operations center in Lyon carries out a type of art that consists literally beautify the scars of the city, an art that exists only because there are cracks, holes, damage, fatigue of the elements. Where the asphalt is split, where the material wears out, Ememem puts remedy. So seeing that there were protests in Barcelona and that the protesters were breaking the sidewalks to arm themselves, Ememem, anonymous like every urban artist of our time, He could only tell himself that he should come to the city.
There may be no more eloquent metaphor for understanding what this Leonese does than that of a flower that stands on a sidewalk. Tenacious, indestructible and beautiful. Oh, little flower! Maybe you should sing like that to Ememem's mosaics: Oh, Ememem mosaics! The ugliness and destruction of what your art needs is provided by any city, they all wear out, they all crack, but a battlefield, of sidewalks dismantled by protesters, that, in their world, is the closest thing to a dream. Ememem landed here last week, when the bulk of the demonstrations, and above all, his most violent expressions, had already passed; when the city was convalescent. He walked, looking for wounds, until he found the place. Urquinaona Square.
"He 'flacking"It is an act of love, of reconstruction, of care for public space," says a member of the artist's studio. 'Flacking' is the word, the one Ememem invented to designate what he does: 'flacking', from' flaque ', a puddle on the sidewalk in French. "Flacking is patching, and at the same time it is a memory exercise. It is putting strips on the wounds, and in that sense it is something very symbolic. "It was not the first time that the artist moved based on the damages caused by protests, because he had already gone to Paris to put patches after the demonstrations of the 'yellow vests'.
"Flacking" is an act of love, of reconstruction, care of public space ", they explain from the artist's studio
Naturally, now he is tempted to go to Chile. "But it does not always move through that. It also depends on the invitations you receive for urban art matters, or of the orders you have, or of the trips you make for personal matters. "His aesthetic patches are found mostly in Lyon, but also in Paris, Turin, Oslo, Scotland, Milan or Madrid. In his city he has awakened so much sympathy that the police, when they surprise him at night, leaning on a sidewalk, anonymous and furtive, Let him work.
Not so ephemeral
"Here lies a bump," says the inscription on the work Ememem left on the sidewalk of Urquinaona, exactly at the corner of Fontanella and Pau Claris. Next to the traffic light. A mosaic of small ceramic tiles that sinuously rotates, with the corner. After all, this is how he signs his works in France: "Ci-gît un nid-de-poule". There it continues, or there it continued until this Tuesday: being urban and by ephemeral definition, Ememem's art remains much more. Better his art than a bump, the municipal authorities seem to reflect. Better a mosaic on the crack than the crack. "In addition, the materials are more durable and solid", says his assistant. The French artist works mostly with ceramics but also with wood, bitumen and other materials. His time in Barcelona also left work in Sant Antoni and in the Plaza de las Tres Xemeneies.
Protesters are throwing cobblestones. The police are shooting balls. The city is suffering, being damaged. Then Ememem arrives, and puts art in the wounds.