Graffiti generations

By Maxime ToussaintLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

The Luxembourg graffiti scene was born in 1995. Since then, it has not stopped evolving. While its pioneers hid their identity behind a balaclava and a pseudonym, the new generations are making a name for themselves and put their brand image forward. The Lëtzebuerger Journal has traced its story through the eyes of some of its actors.

Recently, a graffiti wall was built in the Gare district of Luxembourg City. Called LE MUR, it is a 30 m² surface that will present ephemeral works at the intersection of rue Bender and rue Fort Neipperg until at least March 2025. Every two months, a new graffiti artist will cover it with his/her art.

"LE MUR is inspired by the MUR Oberkampf in Paris", explains Olivier Potozec, founder of the association "I love Graffiti", which set up the project with the City of Luxembourg. Sitting on the terrace of Les Rotondes, overlooked by a big blue sky and two monkeys drawn by Alain Welter, Sader, his artist name, enjoys the sunshine with a green tea. "It also takes up the idea of the soon-to-be-destroyed ventilation tower at the Knuedler.”

As an unconditional fan of graffiti, he tagged Nancy's MUR in 2016. Through this project, he wants to "enhance the value of artists who need it", create "a recurring cultural event to which Luxembourgers adhere" and "increase the visibility and popularity" of a multifaceted art form whose scene is omnipresent and rich in history in the Grand Duchy.

Tagging as a starting point

"Graffiti is writing your name to say I exist." For Olivier, there's no two ways about it: real graffiti is the kind that was born in the 1960s in New York, the kind that consists of writing on a wall to leave proof that you have been there. "It's also a sport. It's movements and the spray can is connected to the body. You're zen."

Even though the graffiti art form was only born 60 years ago in the United States, Sader insists that its spirit existed long before then. That it is even natural. "Writing your name on a wall, carving it into a tree or immortalising it on your school bench, I think everyone has done it. Go to a cathedral and look at the pillars. You'll see that soldiers who took refuge there carved their names on them. It was in the 14th or 17th century."

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