Modern Ephemeral Duality

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Ludo is a French street artist whose work connects the world of plants and animals with our technological universe and quest for modernism. He’s known for only using two colours in his work and using a technique of pasting, mainly in outdoor spaces. He is a very humble, quietly spoken man with a thick Parisian accent.

In 2014, Ludo first came to China and travelled around pasting his unique hybrid organisms in derelict areas of Shanghai.

He stated to CNCREATE: “About the colours, it’s from my background and what I like. I’m really into black and white like 80s fanzines. I’ve always been inspired by that. I don’t want to work with colours so I have to create mine. It’s my own green. It has nothing to do with nature. Obviously, it’s green but that’s not the point. I like the idea of the marker you have at school to underline something, the important part of the text. You take a green marker or yellow marker and you have to look here. So I like the idea of creating my own green and then this part of the visual you have to look here or not look here, but this is the part of the idea I want to highlight.”

His work features strange hybrid organisms: armoured vehicles spawn stag beetle horns; carnivorous plants bare rows of hunting-knife teeth; bees hover, hidden behind gas masks and goggles; automatic weapons crown the head of sunflowers; human skulls cluster together like grapes.

The reason Ludo was in China this time was for a project with a Foundation to visit poor areas on Fujian province and work with school kids. On October 1st, 2016 he had a project at the Power Station of Art (PSA) in Shanghai. He pasted a huge image of a dragon on the ground outside the museum. The piece was originally meant to be pasted in Fujian but a typhoon hit and they weren’t able to paste it down. So they contacted the PSA (“the best museum in Shanghai for sure”) and were able to finish this project.

“The idea was to paste there in the schoolyard but then the typhoon came. It’s like the project never really ended. So we spoke with the PSA about this project, because I did an installation here last year also. We spoke with them about this project and they were like ‘yeah, sure let’s go for it, let’s finish it’. It’s like ending this project here and bringing all this work. It’s not only my work it’s like a participation, this piece has moved so much around and the kids painted over and used my green and also it’s nice in a way to bring some art.”

The dragon piece was only down for one day before it was removed. Ludo started pasting down in the morning and by the evening the piece was complete. Guests at the museum were invited to get involved and were photographed interacting with the 17x17m piece.

Although the dragon piece has gone, as has much of Ludo’s work around China due to its ephemeral nature (“In China, you get cleaned in a day or two. Even stickers and stuff”), China is an ongoing project for him. Expect to see him back soon and don’t expect to see what you saw before: “If you try to learn more (in China) you get bored by all of these political artists and stuff and go more into, I dunno, I’m discovering a lot of stone carving guys or calligraphy guys. When I came to China I was shocked, but everything is kind of possible. You can use new stuff, you can use bronze resin whatever. Yeah, it’s possible and that’s great.”

Photos of Ludo & interview by Astrowerx

Photos of work in situ courtesy of Ludo

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