Ella & Pitr: “MUR is there to deliver something other than advertising in public.”

Ella & Pitr: “MUR is there to deliver something other than advertising in public.”

Nine years ago, artists Ella & Pitr launched in Saint-Etienne, rue du Frères Maras (next to Les Halles), the little brother of the Parisian MUR. Le MUR stéphanois presents a different work each month on a panel of eight by three metres. After celebrating the 100 collectors in September 2021, the adventure of this free and free piece of art continues its adventures. We talked about it with Ella.

What is your definition of a wall?

she has : MUR corresponds to the initials Modulable Urbain Réactif. We didn’t invent this concept because there was a MUR in Paris. The idea is simply to offer something other than advertising in public. It should also be a space that is still lively. That’s why we keep these initials because if someone wants to invest this space in a wild way, between collages, that’s always welcome. This place belongs to everyone and where everyone can express themselves. Then, in fact, this is not what happens, because people are shy. Moreover, we are not in Paris and there are no artists who want to do things on the street. But the idea is a dignified and open place, like a gift to the commoner of Saint-Étienne, for passers-by.

In Paris, is it a much more investment?

In fact, MUR was born as such in Paris. It was an advertising space at human height, located in Oberkampf Street. Regularly, bars were either transformed or covered in graffiti. By force, artists from the neighborhood went to see the town hall to see if they could make an arrangement with the publicity and town hall. In order to obtain the heritage of these two paintings so that they become an artistic pillar. The publicist quickly gave up because he realized that these two methods weren’t very effective.

It is a generous and open place, like a gift to the commoner of Saint-Étienne, to passersby.

In Saint-Etienne, in MUR, there have been about 120 posters so far, following a program by different artists each month. How do you choose them?

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Anything is possible, but we maintain subjective technical requirements. This means that we do not accept all the suggestions we receive. We really want to surprise passersby and offer something of the highest quality. As a result, we do not operate as in Paris. There, you just have to sign up for the waiting list, you wait for 2 years and then you can come and do the MUR de Paris. Therefore, there is no real choice or line art to follow. This is not our case. Here, we choose either from among the artists who contact us directly or from among those we find through our excavations, especially on the Internet (sic). We also have a lot of word of mouth thanks to the artists who have really stuck with us. In the idea, a small group of works is also built via MUR but an imperceptible group, which can only be found online *.

So, there are as many locals as international artists who perform on MUR?

Yes, we try to have artists from diverse backgrounds, but we also have diverse aesthetics. Don’t suggest that same movement even if it’s easy to maintain all the time.

So they are not necessarily aggregated?

It could be another form at all as long as the work can be covered by the next artist. On the other hand, if it’s a life-size statue sticking out of the wall, the artist must agree to come and disassemble it himself before the next collage.

There is also another similar exhibition space located on the grounds of the Salle du Fil in Saint-Etienne?

Yes sure. He is the little brother of Wall. It’s the thread that runs the logistics of this space but we introduce them to the artists who seem to fit in with the place to us. There are three photo collages per year. Sometimes it is the artists who actually do the MUR, so it corresponds to a kind of dialogue between the two proposed works.

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All works on the wall ephemeral and covered?

Yes, with each new collage, the previous work is overwritten. Except when we get to the thickness of the poster cake, we have to scratch everything back to zero the board.

What we prefer, of course, is when the artist risks taking advantage of this opportunity to try something.

MUR will soon be in Saint-Étienne for nine years. Are there any anecdotes that particularly marked you from the start?

There was a lot, but always when asked that we can’t remember… but in any case, there were a lot more great things than failures. We can say that we have several “effective” works, meaning that they are not very surprising but they work well. What we prefer, of course, is when the artist risks taking advantage of this opportunity to try something that is likely to open the door for him in his work. Personally, I’m a bit disappointed when an artist stays in their comfort zone. MUR is nothing very prestigious, so it’s the perfect place to test and experiment. It is a kind of technical lab.

Do the artists who come in stay in the frame all the time or do they overflow sometimes?

So far none of them have overflowed. To be honest it suits us perfectly. For the anecdote, we were invited to stick to the Paris wall and just left the frame. From that moment on, it became a kind of tradition and now all artists have come out of the painting. The frame became a bit shaded in the middle of the wall. So we are very happy that no one is doing this in Saint-Étienne, because if that happened, you would lose all interest in the collages there instead of another. The setting makes this space a kind of street museum, which highlights what it contains.

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Are there other MURs born in France since the creation of the Stéphanoise version?

Yes a lot. But I’m sorry that there is not a very clear art line for every religion. The organizers accept everything and suddenly we can’t tell the difference between the MURs. We also see artists touring MURs however, I recommend MUR 13 in Paris, which has a real interest.

For this January, I chose to let Victor Cadoret stay. Why this choice?

Graduated from Fine Arts in Saint-Etienne. We have been trying to connect to this network for a long time. It was a shame that we had nothing to do with the fine arts. The main reason for this was the lack of time because we are all MUR volunteers. Victor Cadoret is also an artist who is 24 or 25 years old and we didn’t have many opportunities to welcome these young artists. We appreciate his work, the way he painted graffiti in Saint-Etienne. We wanted to get to know him better. For the wall he did a somewhat “academic” but very interesting work, weaving a kind of web with thousands of tiny squares like tiny pixels. This gives a somewhat meditative view.

What are Ella and Peter’s plans for this year?

We have the store in Saint-Étienne, under the arcades, which will be open until the end of January. Also of note is our upcoming exhibition this year, which is scheduled to take place in Paris in October.


*All the collages that took place at the MUR in Saint-Etienne can be found at this address: le-mur-st-etienne.tumblr.com

The MUR of Saint-Etienne is located on the rue du Frère Maras

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