Sten (Rome, 1982) and Lex (Taranto, 1982) are two Italian urban artists who are working since 2001 with stencils. They are considered as pioneers of this technique in Italy, and they are increasingly renowned for their urban interventions.
Sten Lex’s style
In their artistic process, they apply the stencils and stripes on the building’s surface, and then they remove them, letting the image emerge and at the same time exposing some parts of the building. The subjects of their interventions are mainly random and anonymous people, or relatives whose pictures have been found in old photo albums. Using mainly grey scales and black and white, their interventions are influenced by Op Art and photography. The final outcome looks like an old photograph, not perfectly clean, but the optical effect really suggests a found picture which has been affected by the passing of time.
Sometimes the final effect in their works is not given directly by the artists but by atmospheric agents or by people who manage to interact with their work tearing out the stripes. Intervening in the public space the artists manage indeed to create debates with the public. The large scale works on facades acquire a meaning only if seen from a distance, while getting closer to the building the lines distort the image, on the contrary they look completely abstract.
Most important exhibitions
Sten Lex have exhibited in galleries and museums world-wide; among their latest exhibitions are Sten Lex: Rinascita at the Municipal Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome, 2020), Cross the Streets, a group show at MACRO (Rome, 2017), Flesh Flaneur, a group show and permanent work in the city (Bari, Italy, 2014) and Street Art Um Panorama Urbano, a group show at Caixa Cultural (Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2014). Sten Lex have also participated to several festivals and art projects such as Altrove Festival (Catanzaro, Italy, 2015), Outdoor Festival (Rome, Italy, 2013), CityLeaks Festival (Cologne, Germany, 2013), Katowice Street Art Festival (Piekary, Poland, 2013) and Living Walls Festival (Atlanta, USA, 2012). They have also elaborated museum interventions in institutions like Municipal Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome, Italy, 2020), Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image imprimée (La Louviere, Belgium, 2012), MACRO Museum (Rome, Italy, 2012) and Caradente Museum (Spoleto, Italy 2010).
In 2008, they took part in the Cans Festival : Banksy invited thirty-nine artists from around the world, including, Prism, Blek, Faile, Vhils, Vexta, to exhibit their work in an abandoned tunnel near Leake Street in South East London.