#CCINDEX: ZEVS

#CCIndex is a compendium providing the need-to-knows of the movers and shakers of street culture, regionally and internationally.

French artist Christophe Schwarz a.k.a Zevs’ work distorts the indomitable figure of corporate imagery and liquidates their power in the eyes of the viewers.

Re-painting logos with their own colour combinations, the artist pours paint over them, liquidating one logo after another. Through the drip lines, it draws the attention of the viewer as the idea of consumerism bleeds, exposing their mortality. Zevs goes in and investigates the notion of power behind logos.

In the blossoming French street art scene in the ’90s, Zevs got his start as a tagger and transitioned into a graffiti artist that pioneered the scene. He named himself after a local train Zeus, that almost knocked him over in the Paris Metro. Beloved by art collectors for his series named “Visual Kidnapping”, where he’d attack billboards and commercials in the cityscape. He’d shoot them in the head and have red paint flow through the hole of his victims. He famously accompanied one of his attacks, a cut-out poster of a Lavazza model. With the words “Visual Kidnapping – Pay Now”. Although the novel deformation was accordingly not well-perceived, the Pompidou Art centre was the only establishment to embrace the guerrilla act. 

His dripping logo motif has seen the likes of Chanel, McDonald’s, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Coca Cola and Apple become the subject of his liquidating effect. His artwork on logos was also exhibited at the Lazarides Gallery in London. Zevs was always bound to run into trouble with the authorities, although he maintains that his work is apolitical in nature. It was always about the visual aspect and his personal interest in the world of advertising. That didn’t stop him from getting arrested in Hong Kong when he painted a Chanel logo on Armani’s storefront.

In spite of his popularity, his work has been described as vandalism of art. The jury’s out on Zevs. But when his works have been displayed all over the world, you’d be hard-pressed to justify any animosity.