April 19, 2009

In Situ Art // Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Looking back through my del.icio.us page I was amazed at what I found and subsequently forgot. I'm resurfacing it now because it's just too good to pass up on. Ernest Pignon-Ernest is not only incredibly good at what he does, he is by far one of the pioneers in the field of street art. Beginning sometime around 1966, his highly detailed wheatpastes could be found throughout the streets of Paris. I hadn't thought about it before but France has a rather deep roster of historical street artist. Moving down the line from my new found friend Ernest came Blek le Rat sometime around 1981 (maybe earlier). Blek's work sparked the Parisian street art scene initiating the Figuration Libre movement. These were basically a group of stencil artists. Of the street artist emerging at the time were Jef Aerosal, Mis Tic, Speedy Graphito, Nemo, and Mesnager. Now some share the same vision and tradition of early stencil artist like the prolific and globe-trotting C215. At the same time, a whole new breed of French street artists are experimenting with materials like Space Invader's use of tiles, JR's use of large scale photocopies, and Zevs use of well, anything. While vising Paris this past October I got a chance to see work by some of the old school dudes like Nemo and Mesnager but I was also impressed by some new faces like Bonom, FKDL, Monsieur Chat, and the graff-master Horfe. So here's to over 40 years of street art in France!

Bon App├ętit!
Found these images from Ernest Pignon Ernest street works in 1971. They were the oldest pieces I could find although it is said he stencilled a silhouette of a nuclear bomb victim in the south of France in 1966 (Plateau d'Albion, Vaucluse.) If you can find that image please send me a link. Thanks :)


  1. it was C215 who introduced me to the wonderful world of ernest pignon-ernest last year! what a pioneer he truly was...

  2. and C215 sure is running with the torch now! thanks for the comment LP.

  3. Hi thanks for the article. Do you have any references to the work he did in 1966, or around that decade.

  4. On Wikipedia it says, "Famous french artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest's stencilled silhouette of a nuclear bomb victim was spray painted in the south of France in 1966 (Plateau d'Albion, Vaucluse). However the earliest street work that I could find was in 1971 at La Commune in Paris and on the steps descending to the Charonne Metro. If you find more please feel free to post them. I placed the new images at the bottom of the post. Thanks!