Dark and light, day and night, shadow and sun, dirty and clean. Contrasts the Parisian artist and performer ZEVS (1977) likes to work with, as they are available in any city. Mixing these in the streets with visible and often invisible paint, ZEVS creates subtle yet poignant artworks. Clad in a conspicuous yellow oilskin suit and wearing a leopard mask, he takes over power and induces people to see and experience things, albeit for a short while, in a different way. ZEVS developed the project ZTUNNEL especially for GLOW 2007 in Eindhoven.
In ZTUNNEL, he ties together a number of lines from his earlier work. Not only does he spray his tags with paint that is invisible by day, as he did earlier along the banks of the Seine, but he also arrests the shadows of passers-by, the way he did with the shadows of street furniture and cars in cities ranging from Paris to New York and Berlin to Rotterdam.
ZEVS, for that matter, does not stand criminals or terrorists against the wall in the Vestdijktunnel but innocent passers-by. Even so, his performance succeeds in making the current level of security and imminent danger in the streets, and in particular in unsafe areas such as tunnels, tangible to high extent.
His ‘detainees’ allow him to literally take away their shadow in an act which leaves no traces at all by daytime. It is only in the evening that they start lighting up, the ghosts of the Vestdijktunnel. At night, they populate the tunnel like the afterimages of all the living creatures that passed through it by daytime, made visible to the human eye by the black light tubes that during GLOW replace the ordinary lighting in the tunnel. In this way, a spot that is usually sinister and creepy by night becomes a bustling and crowded place. When the new day dawns and the tubes are replaced again, no trace is left of what went on at night. For his intelligent play with the codes of graffiti and light art, ZEVS draws inspiration from the Antropométries by artist Yves Klein, and the mysterious shadows of poles, plants, and stones that remained after the A-Bomb on Hiroshima.