Frédéric Malek et Mathieu Kendrick, a.k.a Lek & Sowat
Frédéric Malek et Mathieu Kendrick, a.k.a Lek & Sowat2018/2015
Frederic Malek and Mathieu Kendrick, a.k.a. Lek and Sowat were born in 1971 and 1978. Working in tandem since 2010, they share a common taste for Urbex – or “Urban Exploration” – a discipline that contemplates the exploration of the city in search of modern ruins. Pushing the boundaries of traditional graffiti, their in situ experiments create a modern form of urban land art, together with videos, architectural abstractions, installations and archeology. In 2012, the Mausolée (‘Mausoleum’) project saw them organize a clandestine artistic residency in an abandoned mall in the capital which attracted the attention of Jean de Loisy, who opened the doors of the Palais de Tokyo. Surrounded by fifty major urban artists and curator Hugo Vitrani, Lek and Sowat spent two years building an experimental exhibition in the emergency exits of the building: the Lasco Project was the first official urban art program of the art center. Since then, they have multiplied collaborations with artists from different backgrounds: John Giorno, Agnès b. and Jean Charles de Castelbajac, pioneers of Graffiti Futura and Mode2 Jonone or Jacques Villeglé, whom they see as a precursor of street art. It is with the latter that they realized the project Tracés Direct, the first graffiti to enter the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou.
In keeping with their chosen discipline, Urbex, the Lek and Sowat project at Villa Medici aims at understanding the Eternal City through its underground and ruins, tunnels and subway stations, ventilation pipes, catacombs, palaces and abandoned quarries. This approach aspires to explore the plastic relationships existing between ancient graffiti – a precious source of information for archeology – and contemporary graffiti, born again in New York subways during the 1970s.