Charlie Brown, Bart Simpson, and Children Feature in Street Artist L.E.T.’s Incisive Site-Specific Installation
The French expression les enfants terribles may have once been used to describe unruly children who embarrass their parents with outlandish remarks, but nowadays it refers to rebellious artists and creative mavericks who insist on challenging the status quo. French street artist L.E.T., whose tag is an acronym for the aforementioned expression, is perhaps all these things. “Solo,” his aptly named current solo exhibition at m | u | c | a gallery, is his first in Munich. Through an immersive site-specific installation L.E.T. expands his practice of simply but bluntly revealing discomfiting truths about contemporary society.
L.E.T. was an early forerunner of street art beginning in Düsseldorf in the early 1990s. At m | u | c | a he reprises several iconic motifs from earlier stenciling and paste-ups using spray paint on board, which he has outlined in elaborate, white frames drawn directly on the gallery’s black walls. Works include a child holding up a sign that reads “Street art is fucking expensive” and a smiling Charlie Brown pointing a beer bottle toward the words “I’m drunk and you’re still ugly.” L.E.T.’s childish imagery is as much a nod to his sobriquet as it is a strategic usurpation of childhood naiveté, specifically a kid’s uncanny ability to point out the flaws of others. Subtly differentiated motifs are repeated several times throughout the exhibition. More than just a game of spot the difference, these subtle differentiations shows the ways in which similar images, when combined with language, can be manipulated to create adverse meanings.
“L.E.T.: Solo” is on view at m | u | c | a, Munich, Nov. 25, 2014–Jan. 10, 2015.