Sète: K-Live, pioneer of street-art festivals, celebrates its 15th anniversary

From June 1 to 5, “sea, art & sound” through the city and at the Théâtre de la Mer.

Until the 2000s, street art, or urban art, which appeared in the 20th century in various forms, still had bad press. Because too often then assimilated to graffiti and tags staining the surroundings, in particular, railways, and countless public and private buildings.

Things have changed a lot since then, especially in France. And this in particular thanks to K-Live in Sète, the first edition of which took place in 2008. And this on the initiative of Laurent Vilarem, dubbed by the city of Sète and in particular by Jean-Hervé Mirouze, who was at the its director of cultural affairs at the time.

“A challenge”

“It was a challenge”, recalls Crystel Labasor, who was part of the adventure from the start, very quickly becoming the director of this “pioneer, witness of its time” festival. And this within the association Sun Steel (“Soleil d’acier”) chaired by Stéphane Marmonier. Since then, K-Live has made Sète a center of “this urban, poetic and artistic revolution, by inviting artists to express and share their vision of the world in its most primary and sublime, spiritual and savage”.

Since its birth, K-Live has created the MaCo (open-air museum) which adorns the walls (public and private, with the consent of building owners or trustees) across the city. Popular geo-artistic circuit, to the point of being one of the themes of guided tours by the tourist office, the MaCo now has around forty works by national and international “figures” of street art. , such as C215, Satone, Manolo Mesa, Jan Kalab, Madame, Tony Bosc (a Sétois), Laho, Zest, Mademoiselle Maurice, Bault… It will be enriched this year with new creations, since three artists will be at work adults: Philippe Hérard, in the Quatre-Ponts district (the exact location remains to be determined), Tim Zdey (on the Île-de-Thau, read further) and Madame, back for the third time (at La Perrière , rue Maurice-Laurens, near rue Lacan).

On a basket

This 2022 edition also marks the launch of labeled initiatives, such as K-Live Kids (Wednesday 1st), on Île-de-Thau, a district that has become an epicenter of the festival. One of the guest artists, Tim Zdey, is already in action there. Born in Hong-Kong in 1989, arrived in France at the age of 8, Tim lived two years in India, where his vocation for graffiti and painting blossomed. Since his return to Paris, he has dedicated his creativity “to institutional projects and humanitarian initiatives, by engaging with fragile populations around the world”. In particular in Nepal, Brazil, Iraq or even Colombia, from where he returned before “attacking” Sète: “A city that I did not know, and which charmed me from the start” .

Perched on a nacelle, supported by Nicolas Cellier, general manager of the festival, Tim is in the process of making, in acrylic (roller and brushes) a vast fresco (over 225 m2) in the form of a triptych, all above the porch of the Globe. On this Saturday 28, it was already well advanced, offering the sketches of the final result: huge representations of plants, first of cordylines, southern plants. “I wanted to inject nature, greenery, color into this concrete universe.” When his creation is completed, the artist has only one wish: “It will no longer belong to me. It is, I hope, the inhabitants who will appropriate it”. And this is in essence one of the essential issues of K-Live.

The MaCo, an open-air museum

Today made up of around forty works, the MaCO (open-air museum) of Sète, initiated by K-Live, has around forty works. With each edition of the festival, the collection is enriched by the creations of the artists invited each year. A free offer conducive to a beautiful wandering in Sète, through the original visit of an open-air gallery in the open air, studded with works most often adorning the facades of buildings, public or private. So much so that this walk is the subject of an integrated circuit theme in those of the tourist office.

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