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Street art, workshops, performances … in September, Nîmes pushes the walls

In the streets of Nîmes, Adec, Foa, L’Insecte and… other graffiti artists are active in the eyes of all at the beginning of September. Scaffolding on the sidewalk and nacelles in the air, spray cans and dozens of paint on the sidewalks: they transform walls, facades and garage doors to give life to L’Expo de ouf, the tenth edition of which will be launched on Saturday 11 September. Monumental frescoes on the buildings, group exhibitions, introductory workshops, guided tours in these places not very popular with tourists …

In less than ten years, L’Expo de ouf has become an expected event for the start of the Nîmes school year, just as it has changed the environment of the Gambetta and Richelieu districts. The residents who give their authorization to transform their houses in the long term attend this astonishing spectacle with curiosity. In these popular sectors which adjoin the city center, performances endure over the years in the maze of old streets, an urban parenthesis sometimes even nicknamed “Le Petit Berlin”.

Born in the heart of the city

The event was born spontaneously and in a completely different setting, much more chic, in the heart of Nîmes. In 2013, Cédric Crouzy, alias Patate, a skateboarder, was looking for a place ” a little different “ where to launch your street art fanzine. “I wanted to decompartmentalize alternative cultures, break the codes, go where we are not expected, make ourselves known. “

He rings the doorbell of L’Appart. This atypical place belongs to Loïc Potez and Jean-Pierre Chambon, two art lovers, who dedicate the first floor of their bourgeois building to exhibitions. Patate comes to ask permission to directly graffiti the walls. “We said yes, without really knowing what to expect”, now recognize the two men. “There was a way to do something huge”, remembers Cédric Crouzy who, with the graffiti artist Supocaos, gets into working order.

In two weeks, a dozen graffiti artists take over the 150 square meters of L’Appart. Not a corner of the walls withstands the assault. And on the evening of the inauguration, 800 people, from skateboarders to social networks, are neck and neck to discover this ephemeral metamorphosis. Looking back, Loïc Potez admits to harboring some regrets: “They had been asked to return the apartment as they had found it. They repainted all the walls white and nothing remains of this performance. ”

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