L’Atlas – Shapes – Solo Show – Catherine Ahnell Gallery




The artistry of Jules Dedet Granel, aka “L’Atlas,” was born in the heart of the post-graffiti movement in Paris at the end of the ‘90’s alongside pioneers such as ZEVS and Space Invader. Using the streets as a museum to reflect on what kinds of visuals were allowed in public spaces, the street artists not only continued an internal dialogue between themselves but opened it up to the public.

Works were created that blurred the lines between commercial sanctioned visuals and illicit street art. In this way, L’Atlas’ approach was functional and instinctive, proposing a link between the urban body and the urban person. One example is the duct tape compasses he conveniently placed on the ground outside metro stations, which later developed into enormous commissions outside Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and Toulouse’s Place du Capitole.

Like the compasses that provided an occasion for people to stop and reflect over where they were going, practically as well as philosophically Jules Dedet Granel’s work is intended as a proposal for mediation, a sand hole, or a space for reflection. Studying art, archaeology, and mythology, he aimed to create an urban mythology suggested in his tag name. His famous and graphic cryptograms using the letters L-A-T-L-A-S can be seen as a symbol of the city spotted from above.

It was in the challenge of fusing the ancestral and ancient with the urban and contemporary, as well as his love for the written word that pushed him to study different types of calligraphy from all over the world. Dedet Granel’s work is the outcome of transposing Arabic Kufi codes into the Latin alphabet, as well as syncretisms with Chinese ideograms and other calligraphies. He continuously brings together writing with shapes in a way where the script and the map are always present.

It is here, in the crossover of the conceptual and the instinctive where the L’Atlas expression is found: a style that has made him one of our time’s most interesting young artists, moving from the instant and public forum of street art into prestigious art galleries and progressive art spaces. Exploring letters and the word “L’Atlas” to the extent that they become abstract shapes, his coded forms suggest unfinished labyrinths in which you might never find the meaning, but might instead find yourself.

The solo exhibition “Shapes” marks a new direction for Jules Dedet Granel’s work. Where until now he has let the limits of his medium inspire his work, the artist has begun to explore a new side of his artistry, pushing the limits of the canvas to provoke a new turn in his artistic development. The bridge between calligraphy and architecture has never been so visible.

Jules Dedet Granel is represented by Magda Danysz Gallery in Paris and Shanghai, Lelia Mordoch Gallery in Miami and David Bloch Gallery in Marrakech. He has exhibited at numerous art spaces around the world such as Centre Pompidou, Fondation Cartier, Grand Palais in Paris and in biennials and art fairs in places such as Sharjah, Moscow and Beijing.