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SECRET WALLS

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Pierre Estagnasié and Valentin Pons are the two instigators of Secret Walls in France, a concept directly inspired from their experience in Hong Kong but originally born in London. Today, it is the only live artistic battle event in France, people are crazy about it!
Artpser wanted to get a word with these two young agitators of France artistic life !

{Artsper}: Can you explain the concept of Secret Walls ?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: Secret walls are battles where two artist « fight ». They both have an hour and a half to win the public over, with only two weapons: black painting or pen. Secret walls already existed in Berlin, Sydney, New York, Beirut, Copenhagen and… Hong Kong, which is were we discovered it! It is particularly thrilling to watch a live art battle performance… Everybody observe, and gets caught up until the last second. Then, there are three votes: the audience chose scream and shouts for its favorite artist, and then two guest from the art world (journalist, gallery owner, partner…) chose an artist and make the difference.


{Artsper}: How does a Secret Wall event work ?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: First, we quickly present the two competitors, then, Dramane, as master of ceremonies, starts the count down and launch the battle. For an hour and a half, the audience goes from one canvas to another and looks for the detail that will make the difference. People hesitate, love, defend their favorite artist, and the atmosphere is always electric.
Then for the semi-finals, a subject is given to the artists. It makes them reveal their improvisation skills and the audience appreciates the works under a new light. Once the battle is over, the night begins: music, friends, chat with the artists and debates about the artworks freshly made.

{Artsper}: How did you get the idea to organize this event ?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: It all started in Lyon, where there is a lot of street art, especially in the district of la Croix-Rousse. We thought it was fun to put two artists under the spotlights for a second like this and have them fight each other. We wanted to show that street art can be live too! Introducing youn talents ((Azed, Quetzilla, Kesadi…) but also having already known street artists was unique in France, which is why we wanted to export the concept in Lyon and then Paris.

{Artsper}: Since when are you both into street art ?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: Since watching Banksy’s movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. It was a real eye-opener!

{Artsper}: And why get into street art rather than another artistic genre such as photography for example?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: We liked the live aspect, the space let to improvisation and the possibility of battles between artists, which seems impossible to do with photography since it is happening in one click.

{Artsper}: Did you discover new artists that you loved recently ?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: Kesadi rocks (he is showing at the SBK gallery in Lyon starting June 18), as well as CLET (who just exhibited at Artistik Rezo Gallery), who represents the real spirit of street art for us: play with environment without vandalizing it.

{Artsper}: You attended other Secret Walls events in Hong Kong and Lyon (somewhere else?): is there a difference between the street art scenes of those cities?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: We would say that in Hong Kong and Lyon, the competitive spirit was tougher.

{Artsper} : How do you select your artists ? Was that ever difficult?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: We don’t really have rules. We meet each artist in different circumstances. Mostly we spot artists in the street, but also at gallery openings, studio visits and on Internet! We love to meet “crews” : the Birdy Kids in Lyon or the “Voyous” are everywhere!

{Artsper}: What is your favorite art place in Paris?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: Good question… Probably le Palais de Tokyo for its forever surprising programming. There is also the Pompidou museum for its architecture and its free permanent collection of contemporary art.

{Artsper}: What was the last cultural event that made an impression on you ?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: The opening of the Chromatic Festival in Paris: live shows, dj sets and a great exhibition! We also look forward to the exhibition “aux tableaux” in Marseilles, in which Secret Walls will take part at the end of July for another live battle!

{Artsper}: What do you think of the relation between art and Internet nowadays? And what do you think of the concept of Artsper?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: We follow it very closely! We rarely spend a lot of time on the same website but with Artsper, between the online magazine, the selections of artwork and the interviews, it’s easy to start dreaming about collecting art! The website is well thought out, easy to use and there is always new things to see.
But Internet will never be able to replace the unique experience of seeing a live performance.
Long live Secret Walls! Long live Artsper!


{Artsper}: Any artist you would die to spend 15 minutes with?
{Pierre Estagnasié et Valentin Pons}: , Basquiat & Nile Rodgers playing balls with Flavien de Boesner in Lyon… our partner in crime!

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