A familiar Isotype black silhouette sneakily carrying away the no-entry bar. A no-entry bar being opened like a can of sardines. A police officer kissing a no-entry bar. I bet you hadn’t thought of the many things that can be done with that ubiquitous symbol or with an even more common directional arrow. In Florence, Clet Abraham created these, a crucified Christ on a dead-end sign, and a dozen or so other clever interventions.
43-year-old Clet Abraham is a French artist who has been living in Italy for over 20 years. The street sign interventions have been popping up around the city for a few months now. They’re easily removable adhesives that Clet and a few friends apply at night, sometimes in plain view of security cameras. He’s been fined for doing so, but the majority have been tolerated — not torn off — by Florentine authorities perhaps because the art doesn’t hinder the daily function of the signs.
Here’s what Clet told a Florentine blogger:
“My adhesives are developed to add a further level of reading [to street signs] constructed on the base of their original signification in order to maintain its utility but give it some intellectual, spiritual, or simply amusing interest. The final objective? That traffic keeps flowing without us feeling spoken down to!”
Here are a few that I found around Florence.
Copping a kiss.
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