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Bonom, l’artiste qui n’a pas peur du vide

9 March 2016 Comments (0) Culture

Bonom, the artist who isn’t scared of heights

Bonom expresses himself through his bestiary and thanks to the night’s complicity. His works have caused a wide range of reactions from legal debates to waves of support. But, in the end, who owns the urban space? And what do we think of him?

In just a few years, Bonom has become a living legend in Brussels. The city is now full of imposing, scary animals, which appeared one night on our façades. The artist says it always moves him when he explores the city from up high, at night, from the rooftops.

He seeks perfection in his drawings and, if he gets one wrong, considers it to be nothing short of vandalism.

Art vandalism?

In Street Art, creativity is demarcated by the urban areas, the shape and dimensions of the walls. The art form leads to reflection and questions our relationship with public areas at a time when we are being bombarded daily by dozens of adverts of ever increasing size.

And nevertheless the frontier between art and vandalism remains porous. In 2010 Bonom was prosecuted for causing “wilful damage to buildings”. Following these accusations, the artist was forced to do community service and then took up his real name again (Vincent Glowinski) and has since pursued his career in a more traditional way. He offered Brussels three last drawings as a form of testament: a self portrait on the Hôtel des Monnaies, a naked old man on the Porte de Hal and finally a women in a nothing less than explicit position overlooking the Place Stéphanie.

His audience includes all of us, all ages and social classes. And this is just what the artist said in one of his rare interviews: he said that the confrontation of the works with passers by is what makes them come to life. If there are only a few people who can see it, it doesn’t exist. Bonom tries to reach the largest possible audience and take art out of the confined space of the gallery.

Street Art on line

With the smartphone boom, Bonom’s fans have created the website where they post photos of his works and their geo-location. This is an endless chain: the artist appropriates the urban area, the audience re-appropriates his works and the city thus acquires a new direction, opening up new discussion.

  • Bonom - © Aurore Martignoni
    Bonom - © Aurore Martignoni
  • Bonom - © Aurore Martignoni
    Bonom - © Aurore Martignoni

Recognition problematic

Street Art has not been recognised as a fully fledged art form. The famous British graffiti artist Banksy now sees some of his creations fill auction rooms and sell for over a million euros. But he is the exception. Thus, in Porto, several works by Hazul and Costah, two eminent personalities of Portuguese Street Art, have been covered with yellow paint by the council. It saw a potential security problem in the works painted on the buildings. Defenders of Street Art argue on the other hand that Hazul and Costah’s paintings added a bit of colour to streets often scarred by urban blight. It depends on the point of view…. The situation became utterly surreal when in 2013 Hazul himself opened an exhibition devoted to him….. just 500 metres away from the walls where his works had just been covered up by the local authority.
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