French street artist Ememem claims to have been born on a damaged sidewalk in 2016, a son of the asphalt. And the result of this perception is that he wants to create beauty from damage. Working by the light of streetlamps, Ememem patches up broken sidewalks and cracked buildings, manifesting wonderous, terrestrial mosaics from the destruction.
He began in the city of Lyon and his art is now finding expression all over Europe, depending on where his wanderings take him. His work can be seen in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Turin, Milan and elsewhere.
Ememem uses materials such as ceramic, wood, and bitumen, and fills everything from tiny cracks to gaping craters in the pavement with his artistic bandaids. These asphalt artworks he has dubbed “flacking,” a play on words from the french for puddle, “flaque“.
These urban scars are part of most cityscapes and in many areas, are all too rarely repaired, often sitting there for years. By transforming potholes and cracks in street pavements from eyesores to art he is beautifying the often sad and ugly patchwork and his works have awarded Ememem the name of “the pavement surgeon” in his native Lyon.
“I’m just a sidewalk poet, a son of bitumen,” the anonymous street artists says of his beautiful mosaics.
“My work is the story of the city, where cobblestones have been displaced; a truck from the vegetable market tore off a piece of asphalt. Each becomes a flack.”
Ememem is currently working on a project funded by the Société du Grand Paris, flacking the construction site of the new Grand Paris Express metro. His work will be on display there for free until 31 August, 2021. He also has an exhibition that opened earlier this month at Spraying Board in Lyon, and he is part of a group show, Ceramics Now, that runs from 8 June-17 July at La Galerie Italienne in Paris.
*Main image: Le cornu, Lyon 2019. Via ememem-flacking.net