War & Peace by Blek le Rat

19 June 2024 to 31 July 2024 Woodbury House

A monochrome knight in full armor sits on an armored horse amidst a dynamic red and black abstract background. The image's high contrast emphasizes the knight's form and the horse's detailed plating.
Stallion of Sacrifice (Red’), Blek le Rat, 2024

An Exhibition of over 50 new paintings and prints exploring Blek’s relationship with conflict.

Woodbury House is delighted to announce the highly anticipated exhibition, 'War & Peace’ by Blek le Rat, often referred to as the ‘father of stencil graffiti’. Comprising over 50 new paintings and prints, the exhibition aims to give the viewer a personal insight into Blek’s relationship with conflict, one that is heavily shaped by his childhood experiences growing up in post-war France, where family dinners were accompanied by tales of wartime suffering, drawn from his father's first-hand accounts of combat and captivity during the First and Second World Wars.

Taken from Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel of the same name, the ‘War & Peace’ exhibition at Woodbury House sees Blek Le Rat explore humanity’s dichotomous state of being – of security and instability, harmony and hostility, resilience and torment, life and death - confessing, "I am both fascinated and disgusted by war”. 

Blek has drawn inspiration from centuries of conflict - from the Middle Ages to the present day - in the hope of portraying the consistent theme of futile sacrifice that underlines the human condition. 

A highlight of the exhibition, the ‘Stallion of Sacrifice’ series, features a Persian warrior on horseback. The signature stencil work is based on a piece the artist saw on a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, and which he felt perfectly embodied the universal soldier – powerful but, ultimately, vulnerable. 

For over forty years, Blek has worked in and with dynamic urban landscapes. His artistic process, which sees him navigate these changing, sometimes hostile, environments, is akin to a game of chess where every move reveals new restrictions, opportunities, and narratives. The artist’s decades-long experience in these shifting landscapes feeds into this exploration of the unpredictability of war, and more broadly, the uncertainty of our lives.  It has also influenced the creative choices made around the scale and format of the works in ‘War & Peace’, considerations which Blek says, “…were particularly important in this exhibition, as they enhance the impact of my message.

Of the forthcoming exhibition, Joseph Bannan, Partner, and Curator of Woodbury House says, “Each piece in ‘War & Peace’ is a testament to Blek’s commitment to infusing life into every canvas, drawing viewers into a world where history converges with contemporary consciousness.” 

Summing up his hope for the exhibition - to begin a conversation with the viewer - Blek le Rat says, “I am curious to know what ‘War & Peace’ means to you.” 

‘War & Peace’ by Blek le Rat: 19.06.2024 to 31.07.2024.

Woodbury House, 29 Sackville St, London W1S 3DX

Further Information: Blek le Rat Art - Woodbury House