ZEVS – Visual Attack

Zurich – 2 December 2008 – 22 February 2009

ZEVS – Visual Attack
ZEVS: Visual Attack (GAP), 2008
ZEVS: Visual Attack (GAP), 2008

de Pury & Luxembourg is proud to present their second show on international street art with “Visual Attack”, a solo exhibition by French artist ZEVS (b. 1977).

This show will introduce you to the artist’s world of poignant comments and site-specific interventions. ZEVS targets omnipresent corporate identities such as IBM, Coca Cola, Mc Donald’s and Louis Vuitton in his signature style manipulation that destabilises our indifference and total acceptance of their unquestioned representation in our subconscious.

The title of the exhibition derives from the artists “Visual Attacks” series, which began in the streets of Paris in 2000. By spraying blood red paint between the eyes of billboard models, ZEVS targets images that typically aim at the public. Taking great care to cover up the manipulation, the models look as if they have been shot between the eyes with blood running down their faces. ZEVS thus turns an every day advertisement into something terrifying that obliges the passer-by to look twice while leaving him in a state of doubt and alienation.

Another series, entitled “Visual Rapes”, focuses on legendary imagery of superstars, which the artist retouches to erase all facial features. By doing so ZEVS simulates the function of a human brain, which fills in information gaps with associations and memorised facts. Despite having lost their characteristics, these icons still obtain the same power of recognition and hence function like a brand logo.

The series of “Liquidated Logo” paintings stem from his outdoor interference with headquarters of corporate brands such as Nike, Mc Donald’s, IBM and Coca Cola which all fall victims to the artist’s signature style of liquidating brands by pouring colour down their logos. This form of estrangement leaves the most powerful economic signature brand look as if it is melting, entrapped in an optically disturbing pattern of straight lines that recall barcodes.

The redesign of the Louis Vuitton logo by neo-pop artist Takashi Murakami is another one of ZEVS’ objectives. Yet in this instant the history of the emblem is the focus as the LV logo derives from the ancient Leonardo da Vinci monogram, LDV. ZEVS’ redesign of a Louis Vuitton bag on which the LV logo has been replaced by a suspiciously similar looking LDV logo set in dialog with an LV wall paper and liquidated LV paintings, pinpoints the discourse of appropriation and originality and creates works of art that are simultaneously unsettling, ironic, humorous and fancy.

Despite ZEVS’ heavy critique on urban surroundings that are stodged with commercial adverts and restricted to adjusted behaviour, his work contains repulsion on the one hand but also a strong element of beauty and allure. Consistent with his critique on the obedience towards the commercialised cityscape, he also intervenes with the gallery space itself, tagging the walls, interfering with the architecture through his installations and use of light and thus creating urban scenery within a commercial art market place.
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