The exhibition the Hangar 107 devoted to MOMO completes an institutional cycle that began in 2019 in Toulouse and Nancy. This American artist, who only rarely appears in France, first created a wall painting for the Rose Béton festival. Then he created a second one in Nancy, with the support of the local Museum of Fine Arts.
These two artworks have emphasized a little more what we have been promoting since we opened the Hangar 107: that “street art” is not bound to go for the easy way, and that it could lead to innovative approaches, that could balance popular culture and aesthetic expectations. As an artist, MOMO is emblematic of this requirement. He shares with Craig Costello, Tania Mouraud and Tilt a real passion for experimentation and abstraction. But, also because of his unique path, he looks like as if has just landed from another planet.
The American artist has always ventured off the beaten track. He has developed his work through extensive travelling and discoveries, always remaining in contact with a wide range of mural art traditions and practices. His work also carries a rather unusual legacy in the urban art scene: the influence of coding and generative art. For us to understand MOMO’s approach, we must imagine him as this rolling stone artist travelling around the world with nothing but his backpack, painting watercolors to earn enough money to keep on going. We also must understand everything he has inherited from the digital culture, ranging from rave music to computer programming. He sees art as both an experimental process and a way of being politically involved in the world. This is what makes his work so special. From the development of DIY tools for pictorial protocols, to his subtle approach with color and composition, MOMO is making his very own distinctive mark, even though we might perceive a certain connection with optical art.
After Toulouse and Nancy, a solo exhibition was still missing to bring the full extent of his originality to the French audience. The show therefore takes place in Rouen, where MOMO presents a series of paintings and in situ installations. The artwork on display at Hangar 107 is very much reflective of him: powerful and inventive. In a word, unclassifiable.