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Woodbury House Presents Blek le Rat: 'War & Peace’




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Wednesday, 19 June 2024 to Wednesday, 31 July 2024
Wednesday, 19 June 2024 - 6:00pm

Woodbury House is delighted to announce the highly anticipated exhibition, 'War & Peace’ by Blek le Rat, often referred to as the ‘father of stencil graffiti’. Comprising over 50 new paintings and prints, the exhibition aims to give the viewer a personal insight into Blek’s relationship with conflict, one that is heavily shaped by his childhood experiences growing up in post-war France, where family dinners were accompanied by tales of wartime suffering, drawn from his father's first-hand accounts of combat and captivity during the First and Second World Wars. 

Of these experiences, and the many conflicts he has witnessed since, the artist says, “Reflecting on my life, I realise that since my childhood, I have only known wars around me. I have been a passive witness…. I was lucky not to have had to fight. I had this privilege compared to other men. Despite this, wars have left their mark on me like an obsession that renews itself.”

Taken from Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel of the same name, the ‘War & Peace’ exhibition at Woodbury House sees Blek Le Ratexplore humanity’s dichotomous state of being – of security and instability, harmony and hostility, resilience and torment, life and death - confessing, "I am both fascinated and disgusted by war”.

Blek has drawn inspiration from centuries of conflict - from the Middle Ages to the present day - in the hope of portraying the consistent theme of futile sacrifice that underlines the human condition. 

A highlight of the exhibition, the ‘Stallion of Sacrifice’ series, features a Persian warrior on horseback. The signature stencil work is based on a piece the artist saw on a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, and which he felt perfectly embodied the universal soldier – powerful but, ultimately, vulnerable. 

For over forty years, Blek has worked in and with dynamic urban landscapes. His artistic process, which sees him navigate these changing, sometimes hostile, environments, is akin to a game of chess where every move reveals new restrictions, opportunities, and narratives. 

The artist’s decades-long experience in these shifting landscapes feeds into this exploration of the unpredictability of war, and more broadly, the uncertainty of our lives.  It has also influenced the creative choices made around the scale and format of the works in ‘War & Peace’, considerations which Blek says, “…were particularly important in this exhibition, as they enhance the impact of my message.

Of the forthcoming exhibition, Joseph Bannan, Partner, and Curator of Woodbury House says, “Each piece in ‘War & Peace’ is a testament to Blek’s commitment to infusing life into every canvas, drawing viewers into a world where history converges with contemporary consciousness.” 

Summing up his hope for the exhibition - to begin a conversation with the viewer - Blek le Rat says, “I am curious to know what ‘War & Peace’ means to you.” 




Artist ( Description ): 

Blek le Rat, AKA ‘The Father of Stencil Art), was born Xavier Prou in Paris in 1952, and is a pioneer of the French street art scene. One of the first known graffiti artists in France, Blek made a name for himself for his signature stencils and is credited with kicking off the stencil graffiti movement. Blek’s stencil graffiti became instantly recognisable on the streets of Paris before going worldwide and spawning 1000s of imitations. 

0203 750 2222
Other Info: 

As well as 29 new paintings, the exhibition features 20 new original prints, and a limited print run of ‘Art is not Peace but War’:

Edition of 30 - signed and numbered.

Screen print on Arches 300g

76 x 56cm 

19 7/8 x 22 in

Venue ( Address ): 

Woodbury House, 29 Sackville St, London W1S 3DX.

Other events from Lee Sharrock

Tsiaras, Poseidon and The Hypberbolic Horse
06/01/2024 to 07/27/2024
Woodbury House Presents Blek le Rat: 'War & Peace’
06/19/2024 to 07/31/2024
Didier Chamizo 'Rebel Soul' at D'Stassi Art
Ioannis Lassithiotakis “Ideal Lines”
10/02/2023 to 10/23/2023


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