Swiss street art duo NEVERCREW recently completed ‘Sensing Machine No.3,’ a mural outside the historic Paris institution of street art known as Le M.U.R., depicting a whale reflecting the city. The eye-catching piece is the latest in a series of thoughtful large-scale works of art examining the interplay between nature and our built environments, often from the perspective of the damage we’ve done in the form of pollution and species extinction.
“NEVERCREW’s work focuses on the relationship between mankind and nature and on the relationship between mankind and the system, in particular on the effects of human attitudes on the environment, on social injustices and on the relationship between the concept and the forms of “systems” and an essential, natural, human and animal truth,” they explain.
Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni began working together in 1996, and these themes have emerged from their work ever since. They don’t just aim to create a pretty image with each piece; instead, they seek a dialogue with the surroundings, both in the form of human residents of the city and the urban environment itself. They see the surfaces they paint on, and the elements that surround them, as important elements of each graphic composition.
Imagery is often repeated as the artists draw from visual components in their catalogue of past works. Whales come up pretty often. Though this animal’s own experiences may seem far from those of humans, NEVERCREW explains, they’re part of our collective imagination and linked to the past and present history of civilization.
“The history of the relationship between mankind and cetaceans is in fact particularly emblematic of what is still the relationship between systems’ policies and natural resources. The whale, for NEVERCREW, brings with it all its history, the excessive power of industry, exploitation, dehumanization, pollution, while maintaining a strong empathic and communicative value as a living being in an absolute, almost iconic and decontextualized sense.”