Blek le Rat (Xavier Prou, Paris, 1951) is the father of Stencil Art. His artistic production has a profound influence on current practices. With his art, Blek Le Rat is considered one of the founders of the Urban Art movement.
Stencil Art twenty years before Banksy: Banksy vs. Blek Le Rat
Among the artists that have expressed admiration for his work is Banksy, who stated: “every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier.” Many street artists from all over the world appreciate Blek Le Rat. Stencil, spray paint and a great respect for art history are the ingredients of Blek Le Rat’s success.
Blek le Rat brings Street Art from New York to Paris
Blek le Rat began painting in 1981 on the streets of Paris, drawing inspiration from the first graffiti that he saw during a trip to New York ten years prior, and adapting the American style to the architecture and social context of the French capital. The image that he chose to reproduce through stencils was the rat, which, for him, symbolized both freedom and the spread of art throughout the city as an invasion. He took his name from the comic book Blek le Roc, changing “Roc” with “Rat” as the anagram of the word art.
Blek le Rat’s most important exhibitions
Blek le Rat has exhibited his works in prestigious institutions and events such as Centre George Pompidou (France), Musée Creusot (France), Kunstverein Wiesbaden (Germany), Cannes Biennial (France), National Center of Contemporary Art (France) and the French Ministry of Culture.
In the recent years, Blek le Rat has participated in festivals, projects and group and solo exhibitions such as CROSSOVER II, Galerie Kronsbein, Munich (2019), 20X21 EUG Mural Project (2017), The man who walks through the walls, Galerie Kronsbein, Munich (2016), Look Closer, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, in Warrington, England (2012), Arts and Toys – Collection Selim Valor, Me Collectors Room, in Berlin, Germany (2012), Street and Studio – Von Basquiat bis Seripop, Kunsthalle Wien, in Vienna, Austria (2010), The Cans Festival, in London, England (2008), Urban Wallpaper in Taipei Artist Village, in Taipei, Taiwan (2005), Workshop in The Open City: Models For Use, Koerein Zollverein, in Essen, Germany (2003).