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Clet Abraham– When being against was against

Unfair enough, it seems so common and straightforward to assume nowadays that questioning any strictness of rules, restrictions and power move in general has been always so easy; all of this is not to be taken for granted, it did not happen overnight or spontaneously either.

Only the pioneering spirit of some visionary human beings is to bring humanity forward amid endless criticism, prejudice and loads of hurdles.

Clet Abraham is so far the first and most underrated case of unconventional use of art by distortion of conventionally used visual elements like viability signage.

Born from a family imbued with art and literature, Clet has always had a love affair with Italy, especially Florence.

Portrait of Clet Abraham in his studio in Florence credit

His rejection for norms and conventions became terribly evident when he moved to Florence to open his studio.

In the middle-late 90’s, Florence, like majority of italian cities, was entering a moment of mass-tourism as never seen before hence the institutions felt obliged to impose a striking number of rules which went to dictate and define many aspects of the urban living like walking, eating, driving, dancing and talking.

Everything must have been done according to certain standards, otherwise MULTA!!! (Which means fine in Italy).

From that moment onwards the incredibly visionary approach combined to unmatched talent and humor started targeting numerous signages spread all over Florence, spots where Clet operates an irreverent redesign against all the odds.

At the very beginning, this innovative approach has been the cause of many legal issues, fines and warnings from the municipality and local authorities.

However, in the following years, way before the Instagram-dominated era, tourists seem the like and adore this idea letting Clet get the fame he deserved.

This new perception, has transformed Clet into a visual deity who highlighted once more the power that art holds against the strings of any system and mechanism.

Since that moment countless t-shirts, posters, gadgets have contributed to make CLET the incredible phenomenon that still is today.

The use of bright colours, anime-like figures all done using the very conventional symbols he tries to reshuffle completely have transformed CLET into a powerhouse of dissent and joyful attempt tilt the order.

His works are visible everywhere in Florence, in many corners you have just to pay a bit more attention and immediately you will recognize some unusually funny signage. No worries! No foreign student ending their exchange programme did this!!

It is just the hallmark of a low-profile genius who, between physical and mental barriers managed to give freedom a totally unexpected elements of expression. Keep your eyes open!


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