Throughout his home city of Lyon, Ememem is known as “the pavement surgeon.” The artist repairs gouged sidewalks and splintered facades with colorful mosaics that he describes as “a poem that everybody can read.” Intricate geometric motifs laid with pristine tiles hug the cracks and create “a memory notebook of the city. It reveals what happened, the life in these public places,” he tells Colossal. “Here cobblestones have been picked up and thrown. There a truck from the vegetable market tore off a piece of asphalt…”
© Ememem, shared with permission
Ememem’s first mosaic dates back 10 years when he found himself in a damaged alley in Lyon. At that time, he already was working in ceramic and translated that practice to revitalizing the outdoor area. Since 2016, he’s been consistently filling potholes and other divots throughout France. “It’s a succession of a lot of places and reflections, experiments I did before. I had done similar things, with other techniques, other supports, and finally, when this one emerged, I knew I found something that I was going to keep doing for the rest of my life,” he says.
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Born on a damaged sidewalk in 2016, Ememem is one of those sons born out of the asphalt who has disorder running through his blood. His sidewalk’s plasters, now emblems of the cityofLyon, start spreading all over Europe, according to the wandering of his worn out shoes! In arts events or undercover by the light of the street lamps, Ememem patches up the broken asphalt and inserts doors toward wonderland. His terrestrial works of art, called «flacking» from the french word «flaque» (puddle) let a glimpse of light through our homogeneous pavements which entombed our cities.