January 21 - February 27, 2016



Lek & Sowat, d'après une œuvre originale de Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre

For the very first time, Polka Galerie has brought together photographers Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre and visual artists Lek & Sowat in a group show titled “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”. This unique collaboration is a series of joint art pieces produced together by the two artistic duos.

Without knowing it, they might have previously met or hit the same dusty road. In fact, Marchand & Meffre like Lek & Sowat, share a passion for urban exploration and deserted sites that have been abandoned and taken over by time.
Their artistic processes reflect a common fascination for clear vanishing lines, colossal and rugged architectures as well as blank spaces which they enter more or less intrusively.

The first pair of photographers collects images that reveal the metamorphoses of idle buildings. The second base their work on the skeletal structure of the sites they visit to then tag their calligraphy and abstract installations in situ. With a background in graffiti, Lek & Sowat have been working together since 2010. They are fond of experimentation.
In September 2015, whilst working together during a residency at the Villa Médicis, these two lab techs created all sorts of art incubators : The Mausoleum in an old Paris supermarket turned into a prohibited playground; and the exhibition Terrains Vagues where they invited the sires of the graffiti world to invade the bowels of the Palais de Tokyo.

Since 2002, Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre, on the other hand, have been immortalizing contemporary ruins, with their large 4X5 format camera and an aesthetic freely inspired by the Düsseldorf school.

Each pair has achieved a balance in this new collaboration, they have each managed to find a singularity through a four-part writing. A true chemistry was born out of a meeting of artists which have expressed the desire during this collaboration to confront their style, mix their artistic disciplines in order to create original monochrome pieces.

Sharing the skills of photographer and printer Svend Andersen, Lek & Sowat immersed themselves in the mysteries of the darkroom. They contributed to three iconic images from the series Industry and Ruins of Detroit. They reappropriated chemical processes specific to photography and used liquid developer directly on paper to trace geometric shapes and abstract letterings. The image is no longer a flat and smooth surface, it becomes a place of encounter. A construction with its volumes, its depth, a rough and contrasty composition where each one can see its own signature.

To enhance this exhibition, the urban artists have invaded Polka Galerie’s basement by stylizing the walls. Marchand & Meffre’s empty yet dynamic photographs call upon Lek & Sowat thick and jittery writings. The photographers will also and for the first time exhibit their work alongside collective pieces from the series Graffiti Général, which were produced in Pantin’s old general warehouse. Two pieces from the Industry series will also be put on display.