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Meet the French Street Artists Who Hijacked the Election

Picture of Simon Leser
UK Literary Editor
Updated: 5 May 2017

In the French capital, at least, the recent election campaign didn’t yield as much gloom as you would expect. Artists Combo, Jaeraymie and Raphaël Fédérici have taken to the streets over the past few weeks, covering the various candidates’ political posters with their own satirical creations. We caught up with the trio on the eve of the country’s second round of voting.

As has been remarked in one way or another by anyone with a working internet connection (or an acquaintance who does), over the past year or so the political scenery of quite a few countries has, if not collapsed, taken a decidedly sinister turn. France is of course no exception: its presidential campaign, rife with corruption scandals and personal insults, saw a far-right candidate finish second in its first round of voting. And the next—and final—bout this weekend will pitch that same candidate against the drab centrism of a distinctly unexciting newcomer. Whatever this is, it’s not nice.

Thankfully for Parisians, at least, a group of French artists recently took it upon themselves to lighten the mood somewhat, creating humorous fake political posters and displaying them all over the capital. We followed three of them (Combo, Jaeraymie, and Raphaël Fédérici) on one of their outings this week.

Their works caricature the politicians and their slogans, using a variety of cartoon and film characters (the example above sees Scrooge McDuck present himself with the slogan “no false promises, I’ll keep it all for me”). Combo, perhaps most famous for his graffiti messages saying “Coexist,” told us that the point was to show that the candidates were themselves caricatures.

“We used these two catastrophic rounds to get out,” said Fédérici, “and we realized that people really needed to laugh about it.”

Yet for Jaeraymie, the posters had another point:

“It’s a good way to say that we need to stay united—despite the political differences, the ideas, the ideologies, the deception… I’m calling for everyone to get out and vote. It’s important.”

L'election de votre personnage prefere c'est bientot. Allez votez #streetartparis #disney #election2017

A post shared by COMBO Culture Kidnapper (@combo_ck) on

L'election de votre personnage prefere c'est bientot. Allez votez ! Credit photo Claude Degoutte #streetartparis #disney

A post shared by COMBO Culture Kidnapper (@combo_ck) on