by Ana Bambić Kostov on
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Although street art is traditionally male-dominated arena of play there are plenty of talented female artists who are both embracing the medium and getting wide attention. One of them is the Paris-based artist known as Madame or Madame Moustache who creates collages made of clippings from old newspapers and magazines. Her large black and white paste-up pieces are among the most readily recognizable of the French capital’s eclectic proliferation of street art. What makes Madame’s artworks so alluring is her use of old materials often paired with humorous statements, and her playful, youthful imagery.

From Acting to Street Art

Born in 1982, in a small town near Tours, a city by the Loire in France, Madame was raised in an artistic family – both her father and grandfather were painters. Since an early age, she was encouraged by her parents to explore different ways of expressions, but she refused to continue the family tradition and went abroad to pursue her theater studies. Although she had worked as an actress for almost eight years, Madame believed she wasn’t good enough, so she left everything behind to travel around the world. During her journeys, she made a number of travel books, on which she glued different things. After visiting San Francisco, Ecuador, and South America, Madame finally came back to France. One day, while she was taking pictures for her graffiti artist friend, he proposed her to paste in the streets with him, and that was the moment when Madame Moustache was born.

Paste-Up by Madame

With an eye for issues such as gender identity and a talent for ridiculing stereotypes, Madame has specialized in paste-up and developed a retro aesthetic by mixing old materials like paper, cardboard, engravings, drawings, pictures, fabric, metal, and wood, with the 1950s and 1960s advertising. Her original pieces – made of old documents and small in size – are transformed in massive prints and pasted on walls, streets and buildings of the City of Light and beyond. The resulting works are characterized by a fantastical, irreverent imaginary in which the misappropriation of images takes center stage. In order to highlight the human values of tolerance, sharing, solidarity, acceptance, empathy, compassion, and love, she has created her own whimsical world populated by women with moustache, cats with fish body, and housewives with body of male athletes.

Sources of Artistic Inspiration

Drawing inspiration from a wide range of influences including such artists as André Robillard, Joel-Peter Witkin, Frida Khalo, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Robert Frank, but also her daily life, her family, and friends, her joys, worries, and surprises, Madame creates amusing, rich, endearing, and complex black and white collages that cover topics such as transgression, love or gender. Her main goal is to make the viewers smile and feel happy! The mysterious artist has exhibited her work in individual and group shows and art festivals throughout France, as well as abroad including in Germany, Italy and Belgium.

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2016 · Solo Exhibition (Forthcoming) · OPEN WALLS Gallery · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2015 · Urban Festival « IBUG » · Plauen (Germany)
  • 2015 · Festival « CHEAP » · Parco Pasolini · Bologna (Italy)
  • 2014 · Solo Exhibition · Traffic Gallery · Bergamo (Italy)
  • 2014 · Festival « Musique et Street Art » · K live · Sète (France)
  • 2014 · Group Show « Home street Home » · Projet FMR · Montpellier (France)
  • 2013 · Group Show « Love ETC » · Le Cabinet d’Amateur · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Solo Exhibition · Though Cookie Shop · Boulogne-Billancourt (France)
  • 2013 · Solo Exhibition « Parce que Madame est un homme comme les autres » · Galerie Rue de Beauce · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Solo Exhibition · Gallerie Chaff · Bruxelles (Belgium)
  • 2013 · Group Show « Dada is not dead » · Maison Folie Wazemmes · Lille (France)
  • 2013 · Group Show · Kraftshop · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Group Show « Ristrutturazione Urbana » · Manifatture Knos · Lecce (Italy)
  • 2012 · Group Show · Le Stendhal · Paris (France)
  • 2012 · Festival « Come On People » · Mimes (France)
  • 2012 · Solo Exhibition « Madame s’expose » · Rue Volta au 56 · Paris (France)
  • 2011 · Festival « Lecco Street Art » · Lecco (Italy)