Palais de Tokyo 13 Avenue du Président Wilson
Paris (FR)


© Aurelien Mole

Olivier Kosta-Théfaine considers himself to be a “landscape painter”. In his work, vandalism is tinged with classicism, and the margins become central. Kosta-Théfaine dissects the city at its edges, with its bad reputations and urban legends. He paints the abstract details of a street, observes the weeds, burns ceilings with a lighter, and breaks glass bottles so as to produce French-style gardens or to create football fan scarves, in homage to the banlieues, while targeting the tension that exists between the desire to flee them and the need to defend them body and soul.

At Palais de Tokyo, Kosta-Théfaine has taken charge of three cupolas, on which he has composed a burnt sky with a lighter – a technique coming from the entrances to blocks of council flats, where young kids burn time by writing in fire on the ceilings – thus mingling classic frescoes from Italian palazzos with the traditions of everyday inner-city vandalism.