Ilya Psyfox “Billboard”

Ilya Psyfox - Billboard

Billboards are not what they seem, maintains street artist Ilya Psyfox. Usually they serve for aggressive inculcation of advertising slogans into the philistine lives. The one depicted by Psyfox, however, has got no advertisement put on it.  It’s caught in an intermediate state of its life: the gap between the removal of old surface and mounting of a new one. With its skin removed, the billboard is shown as extremely vulnerable and at the same time surprisingly complex object. The salvatory straightforwardness of the advertisement is no longer there, and the emptiness which opens up is like a palimpsest of all those numerous previous layers.

The “clean” billboard is thus not so clean indeed. In this state of temporary “pause of death” it may be less visible on the road, like it does not even exist. The eyes of the driver stuck in a traffic jam need to cling to something visually interesting, and an empty billboard is not the best option. In everyman optics “empty” is synonymous with “uninteresting”. The empty gets discarded, rejected, pushed off from the visual field.

Not only the work of Psyfox overtakes the advertising billboard in the most embarrassing moment of “changing the dress”, it also proposes to meditate about the opportunities that this medium opens up for a contemporary activist artists. The precedent of cozy philistine worlds shaking with the help of billboards (remember, for instance, the case of Legal Name Fraud) is not the only one, and it is our belief that the hint given by Psyfox will be adopted.