by Eric Mitjans on
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SP38 · Selected Artworks


In a cultural climate where the pretended next big thing is just a mouse-click away, and stuff being labeled as limited is mistaken for being automatically valuable, it’s actually great to have an artist like SP38 around to bring you back down to earth in order to remind you of the things that really matter.

Originally hailing from the Normandy, the painter and performer known as SP38 is calling Berlin his home since twenty years already. Inspired by the alternative “anything goes“ vibe Germany’s capital was notorious for in the mid 90s, his unique posters combine silk-printing, painting techniques and thought-provoking slogans, and have filled public spaces of numerous towns and countries by now.

“VIVE LA BOURGEOISIE”, “ESCAPE“, “SNOW IS WATER“. The chosen statements are equally inspired by literature, politics and his rich personal life, and get transferred onto paper via his trademark typography. More than often they reflect on current events – not necessarily born out of frustration but to conduct a relevant dialogue with the city and its inhabitants. One that will echo a long time through streets and thoughts alike.


“In one way or another my work is strongly connected to the time it was created, regardless if it’s on a political or personal scale. I still like ‘Snow is Water’, one of my early works, a lot because it reminds me of my first winter in Berlin, which was a really cold and harsh one. Twenty years ago Berlin really was a symbol for a certain kind of alternative lifestyle, and it’s a bit sad to see that the city has developed in the very same direction as any other major city – which automatically implies that it lost a lot of its soul and original spirit.“

The era when Berlin was considered to be a city of enormous contradictions seems to be over once and for all. It still might feel vibrant and alive – and in comparison with other metropolises even fresh and open-minded – but the concrete jungle has slightly turned into a human zoo as society grew more decadent over the years. French artist SP38, who is based in Germany’s capital since twenty years already, is an active chronicler of this transformation as his urban poetry is commenting on the permanent change – big and small as well as personal and universal – since he first started to fuse silk-printing, typography and painting techniques and pasted the city with the results.

After a successful intermezzo in New York, SP38 returned to OPEN WALLS Gallery in November 2015 with a show titled “Vive SP38!“, which reflected on his first twenty years as a Berlin resident. Showcasing twenty different posters and just as many photographs – including a brand-new series particularly made for this exhibition – this special kind of retrospective wasn’t only a demonstration of his impressive skill-set, but a reminder of the fun and sense of excitement civil disobedience once contained.

“The slogans I come up with are based on literature as they are based on politics, my own past and events of the day as well. What connects them is that they’re always related to the very moment… and a lot of the slogans obviously fit to Berlin. Like the ’Swim or Die’ a poster I did when Stattbad was going down – something that sure has a universal validity for the whole city by now. And these kinda things really happen fast, the process isn’t an elaborately deliberate one. It’s like a kind of dialogue with the city, one that’s spontaneous and driven by instinct.“

Selected exhibitions

  • 2015 · Vive SP38 · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2015 · Slave for sale · Paris (France)
  • 2015 · Quai 36 ” Gare du Nord · Paris (France)
  • 2015 · rue INSTIN · Paris (France)
  • 2015 · Dirty Harry vol.2 · Paris (France)
  • 2015 · Escape, legalize freedom · New York (U.S.A)
  • 2014 · Street collective 2 · Paris (France)
  • 2014 · Rencontres · Mers sur Indre (France)
  • 2014 · Paris Zone libre 3 · Paris (France)
  • 2014 · 1rst Mural Pienale · Dong Pyrang (South Korea)
  • 2014 · Typozine · Warsaw (Poland)
  • 2014 · Haribo Verboten · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2014 · Inspire Collective · Jerusalem (Israel)
  • 2013 · Reclaim Your City · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2013 · Druck Berlin · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2013 · Mythiq 27 · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Graves · Victoriaville (Canada)
  • 2013 · Following or not · New York (USA)
  • 2013 · Under pressure · Montreal (Canada)
  • 2013 · Viva ! · Montreal (Canada)
  • 2013 · Street art · Le Cosset (France)
  • 2013 · Ex voo · Avallon (France)
  • 2013 · The urban artist home · Brussels (Belgium)
  • 2013 · Collective street 1 · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Paris Zone Libre 2 · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Cut · Berlin (Germany)
  • 2013 · Instin collage · Toronto (Canada)
  • 2013 · Les murs ont la parole · Paris (France)
  • 2013 · Instin · Montpellier (France)
  • 2013 · Escapade en librairie · Montpellier (France)
  • 2013 · Mix art · Berlin (Germany)

Selected press