NASTY – Faits & méfaits – Retrospective 1988-2023

This exhibition looks back at Nasty’s career, from his earliest beginnings in 1988, when he learned his trade on the streets and in the underground, to his rise to prominence in galleries and institutions. The musings and wanderings of an adolescent in the 1980s who clung to a marginal practice against the advice of his parents, and made it the guiding thread of his life. To achieve this, the artist and the curator, Gautier Bischoff, drew on a major archival project they began together in the early 2000s, on the basis of which they have since published several titles. Photos, sketchbooks, clothes, fanzines, tools and relics – these are all archives that immerse us in the world of the artist and the era in which he grew up.

NASTY, a key figure in graffiti

Born in 1975, Nasty began painting on walls in 1988 at the age of 13. Influenced by New York graffiti and the hip-hop movement, he took up graffiti in Paris and quickly attracted attention for his work in the metro and on the city’s walls. He distinguished himself with bright colours and simple lettering, fuelled by his interest in calligraphy. In 1990, he joined the AEC (Artistes En Cavale) group, made up of equally ambitious and passionate individuals.

The artist was recognised very early on by the art market, and began exhibiting his work at Magda Danysz in 1992, alongside his predecessors JonOne and Psychoze.

The unexpected media he chooses mark the transition between his work in the street and his development in the gallery: enamelled plates and RATP tiles, which he takes hold of at night and which are so characteristic of urban aesthetics, are his favourite supports. In 2011, he reconstructed an underground station in the prestigious Galerie Hélène Bailly.