Interviewing Clet Abraham
By Sofia da Palma Rodrigues (New University of Lisbon)
Clet Abraham, 44 years old, is a plastic artistic that is transforming the traffic signs in something with an intelligent lecture, with a political, religious and philosophic understanding.
When did you begin to do this kind of intervention?
One year ago. I was crossing the city driving my car and started to think how stupid and primitive were the traffic signs that were ruling me. They told us: you can’t go there, you must turn left or right and nothing more. I decided to give them another meaning, a reading grade that was what their lack.
Any traffic signs you changed have a meaning?
Yes. They have a political, religious and philosophic interpretation, you only must to be aware.
How long does it take to paste the stickers?
Twenty seconds, with the help of the bike’s bank or the shoulder of a friend. What takes me more time is to think about what I want to say and express it on a draw. I have lots and lots of ideas that do not work well.
Which are the cities where we can see your work?
Florence, Torino, London and Valencia. Next year, I expect to arrive in more European countries.
Did anyone tell you something about your interventions? They are illegal, no?
Yes, they are, but they don’t compromise the traffic sign’s function. I think that anyone told me something because it’s a god and funny work that doesn’t affect people.
What was your first sign?
The Jesus Christ, but it was stolen by Piazza Michelangelo and I did the other about Virgin Mary and Maria Madalena.
How long do the stickers?
Lots of time since anyone stoles or spoils them.
Did you have any kind of inspiration?
I was influenced by classicism and surrealism. Maybe the artist that most influence me was Pieter Buegel. Besides he didn’t have a perfect manual capacity, his work told something to people.
What do you think about the urban art?
I think that general rules are wrong, we shouldn’t say that all is forbidden but that some things are and others not. The urban art always there was and always there will be. Also the David sculpture, of Michelangelo, is urban art.
Besides this work, you must to have a source of income…
Yes, it’s my gallery, here in Florence. I sell some sculptures and paintings and also some merchandising with the traffic signs I transformed.