Art on road-signs, around the streets of Florence and of the world, with Clet.

Stage name of Clet Abraham (Brittany, 1966), Clet is known above all for his modified road-signs. Walking through the streets of Florence it is fun to be surprised by the stunts of this French artist, Florentine since 2005. Everything started with a curious no entrance sign, now a classic, where the black figure of a common man seems to carry away the white bar from the red background. Little by little, new ideas and designs came out to reinterpret and modify with sarcasm and humor road-signs around Florence at first, then Tuscany, until Clet’s work crossed the borders of Italy to reach cities all around the world.

Art or provocation? Decor or rules breach? This is the edge that Clet steps tiptoe like a tightrope walker and that makes the game interesting: on one hand fines and censorship  from some institutions, on the other hand his works and urban interventions are commissioned from other public authorities, not to mention the more and more intrigued and amused increasing audience that hangs around his Studio/Shop. The simple sticker that Clet imagines, designs, makes and sticks at night is not only meant to entertain the spectators but primarily to shift the focus on a system of signs that is likely to become an “automatism”, always taking care not to damage or hack the message of the road traffic rules.

“Most of the times automatisms create indifference and drive people to a carelessness condition. Thus it is really important to understand that road-signs endlessly repeated, in excess, always the same, are a perfect illustration of automatism. Signs become a stereotype, a brain facility, and their message ends up being devoid of all meaning, interest and significance.”

Among the official assignments, in 2014 Clet was invited in Paris by the Police Prefecture to take part in a road safety education day in a school, in order to raise awareness among students of paying attention to road-signs.

Now…what do we, the common people, think when we look at a road-sign? Nowadays there is who walks around looking at signs just to see if they show any of the new Clet’s creations and there are people indeed who decide to visit his Studio/Shop in San Niccolò to know some more of this French/Florentine artist and maybe to add one of those signs to their art collections.

From :: This is so contemporary :: by Serena Becagli