French artist, OX’s, latest ad takeover at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, is a site – and weather – specific artwork that was planned for this out-of-town location due to OX’s fondness for displaying his artworks backed by barren suburban landscapes, as well as the changing nature of the Parisian billboard space, which makes it ever harder to find suitable billboards to hijack.
This latest work incorporates the billboard stand into the work, which OX knots, and camouflages with the blue Paris sky. OX who lives in the eastern fringe of Paris has corrupted ad billboards all over France and Europe, and says he doesn’t appreciate the central Parisian architecture for displaying his works: streets too narrow, so not providing adequate views of the works to passers-by, and bad for photography, being two reasons. Another is that he is finding billboard hijacking in central Paris increasingly difficult.
At learning of this difficulty, the first thing that comes to the mind of this writer is police pressure. However, Ox admits he has never been caught papering up his minimalist artworks over publicité. The difficulty comes from the proliferation of new forms of billboard technology, such as the glass fronted, containing revolving ads, not suited to an artist using paper and glue. Thus, the old-style paper-paste billboards are these days to be found predominantly on the outskirts of Paris.
OX will soon visit Birmingham in England where billboard technology is yet to dominate, and one senses that he is excited. Everywhere, in Britain’s second most populous city, one may find wooden framed billboards. You know, the ones we all remember from childhood.
In the face of adversity, OX spends time to plan where he places his works. This planning also serves another of his primary aims, that of adding context to his pieces. However, sometimes hiccups can occur. This latest billboard takeover, for example, was planned for a location 500 metres further up the road from the one pictured, but unforeseen, the existing billboard content – an AIDS awareness campaign.
Ox’s urban artworks are not intentionally anti-consumerist. His personal views on this matter are not present in his choice to paste his artworks over billboard advertising. However, it can be assumed that he is conscientious of not obscuring publicity promoting awareness of sexually transmitted disease.
To visit OX’s website, go here.
To visit the site of an explicitly anti-consumerist organisation with a focus on billboards, a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society, Adbusters, go here.
To visit the site of Jordan Seiler’s, Public Ad Campaign blog, go here.