The signs of an artistic city

17 June 2014Shares

When you find yourself standing outside one of the world’s greatest art galleries snapping photos of the road signs surely something must be wrong.

Yes almost certainly, but not if the city happens to be Florence.

Florence born artist Clet Abraham has harnessed the humble street signs as the canvas for his creativity in a funny yet thought provoking way. He creates stickers to coincide with the particular street sign to make a funny image while still maintaining the general functionality of the sign.  One of his motives for the sign altering was to comment on society’s establishment and the confining affects that rules have on us, limiting personal expression and thought. Over the years, his work has been recognizable in the cities he has worked in, and as a result he has hosted successful exhibitions displaying his work in different forms. Abraham’s work is not strictly categorized as “street art,” but rather “urban art,” and it would seem safe to say that his work has significantly contributed to the general urban art movement.

As a recent visitor to Florence, the work actually has an effect on the way one feels about the city. High renaissance art whilst undeniably impressive can also be a little stifling. With hoards of tourists packing galleries to admire famous works in hushed reverence.

Here in delightful contrast is artistic endeavor executed with wit and style, and on show to the world in just about the most public locations possible.

It’s always debatable at what point art ends and graffiti begins, but seeing this work made my day a little brighter, brought a smile to my face, and even made me feel better about the city in which I saw it.

It may be a little more ‘U’ turn than Uffizi, but judging by the number of smart phones being pointed at road signs in Florence, this work is playing it’s part in both entertaining visitors and marketing this place to the world.


Author: Chris Abel