On the streets of European cities, colourful mosaics are popping up where once there were cracks and potholes - bringing enchantment to daily life. It’s all thanks to the enigmatic street artist Ememem - also known as France's answer to Banksy.
Based in Lyon, the artist known as Ememem, has created numerous artworks that are sprinkled throughout the municipality’s streets; something in the region of 350 in total.
Over the past six years, he has made a speciality of filling divots and potholes with multicoloured mosaics made from tiles of different sizes and different hues, arranged in striking geometric patterns. Some bear his signature, often in the form of an image of a trowel underscored by his name.
Ememem calls himself “the pavement surgeon” and “the pothole knight,” and refers to his artworks as “flackings” – a play on the French word flaque, which means puddle.
Credit all photos: @Ememem
Yet while Ememem’s works may be very visible he, in contrast, is exceedingly elusive. Like his fellow street artist Banksy, he prefers to retain his anonymity. He refuses to be photographed and doesn’t give either phone or face-to-face interviews. Information about him is limited to a short biography and press kit on his official website (ememem-flacking.net). “It’s important for me to remain a little mysterious,” he has written. “And it’s also because I’m not very talented when it comes to social interactions.”
Whoever he is and whatever his growing popularity brings, one thing is for sure: Ememem will continue to go out at night to beautify Lyon’s damaged roads and pavements. He sees his interventions not only as a service to the community, but also as a means of bringing enchantment to daily life. “The goal,” he writes, “is to spread a touch of poetry under the jaded soles of our shoes, to provoke a moment of amazement, a smile.”
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