French artist turns old posters into art

Some might think that old posters left to deteriorate on buildings are an eyesore. 

But to 88-year-old French artist Jacques Villegle, they tell the life story of the city.

For 51 years, he has walked along the streets of Paris, looking for and tearing down old posters of various designs to create art pieces.

He has even been questioned by policemen while removing the posters.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, Villegle said: "I always spoke to them politely and explained myself, so they never gave me trouble.

"If they asked me to stop, I would simply come back a little later to continue."

From now till February next year, 70 of Villegle's art pieces will be on display at Partners & Mucciaccia, an art gallery at Gillman Barracks.

The art pieces are also on sale, and prices range from just over $20,000 to more than $200,000.

The technique, which Villegle created with fellow French artist Raymond Hains, is called "decollage d'affiches".


A decollage is when the artist removes portions from an original image.

Villegle takes down the posters from walls and mounts them on canvas, without altering the state that they were found in.

His art pieces are titled after the streets the posters come from.

They play with colour, typography and socio-political themes.

He said: "They are expressions of street language, like snapshots of Paris throughout the various periods from the early 1950s to 2000."

Villegle's works are widely exhibited in museums and galleries around   world, including New York and London.

He added: "Each work has its own story, its own reality, but together they form a community."

WHAT: Jacques Villegle: Restrospective

WHERE: Parterns & Mucciaccia, Block 6 Lock Road, #02-10 Gillman Barracks

WHEN: Till Feb 8

OPENING HOURS: Noon to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday); 11am to 7pm (Saturday); Noon to 6pm (Sunday); Closed on Mondays & public holidays

HOW MUCH: Free admission

This article was first published on December 22, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.