23 July 2016 | 27 °C

Thierry Noir: A Retrospective At Howard Griffin Gallery

Thierry Noir: A Retrospective At Howard Griffin Gallery

In 1982, 24 year old artist Thierry Noir moved from France to Berlin with one suitcase and many aspirations. Squatting in a building on Mariannenplatz he could see the Berlin Wall from his window. After two years he decided to start painting the wall, using leftover paint and materials from the renovation of houses nearby.

To fight its sadness, to transform it, to make it ridiculous and to help destroy it, Noir painted the wall every day of the week for five years. He managed to cover more than five kilometres with his colourful, seemingly innocent works, at a time when painting on the wall was illegal.

This retrospective displays his colourful, timeless and iconic characters (accurately set on a wall-style background) and is a journey into Europe's recent history,  its social and political change. For richness of content, his work has to be valued not only as an act of revolution, but as an important step forward in the modern global street art movement. The Wall paintings are displayed alongside rarely seen photographs, interviews, films and new works.

Amazingly, this is his first solo exhibition, of which he says, "I have been painting now for more than 30 years and this exhibition is about my life's work. The Berlin Wall has fallen but the Wall paintings live on."

This video has been provided by Huck Magazine, a Shoreditch-based magazine that covers global DIY culture.

Thierry Noir: A Retrospective is on show at Howard Griffin Gallery, 189 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6HU, until 5 May. Entrance is free. For more exhibitions to see in London this month, check out our April art events listing.