Blek le Rat (Xavier Prou, Paris, 1951) is considered the initiator of Stencil Art and one of the founders of the Urban Art movement. His artistic production has a profound influence on current practices. Among the artists that have expressed admiration and esteem for his work is Banksy, who stated: “every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier.”
Blek le Rat began painting in 1981 on the streets of Paris, drawing inspiration from the first graffiti that he saw during a trip to New York ten years prior, and adapting the American style to the architecture and social context of the French capital. The image that he chose to reproduce through stencils was that of the rat, which, for him, symbolized both freedom and the spread of art throughout the city as an invasion.
Blek le Rat has exhibited his works in prestigious institutions and events such as Centre George Pompidou (France), Musée Creusot (France), Kunstverein Wiesbaden (Germany), Cannes Biennial (France), National Center of Contemporary Art (France) and the French Ministry of Culture.
In the recent years, Blek le Rat has participated in festivals, projects and group exhibitions such as 20X21 EUG Mural Project (2017), Look Closer, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, in Warrington, England (2012), Arts and Toys – Collection Selim Valor, Me Collectors Room, in Berlin, Germany (2012), Street and Studio – Von Basquiat bis Seripop, Kunsthalle Wien, in Vienna, Austria (2010), The Cans Festival, in London, England (2008), Urban Wallpaper in Taipei Artist Village, in Taipei, Taiwan (2005), Workshop in The Open City: Models For Use, Koerein Zollverein, in Essen, Germany (2003).