Zevs (real name, Aghirre Schwarz) is an French artist. He was an early and influential graffiti artist and active as a tagger in Paris in the 1990s.
He is named after a regional train, Zeus, that almost ran him over one day he was down in the metro. Working with other French names of the second half of the 1990s like André and Invader, Zevs has been among the prominent figures who pioneered the French street art scene. By the end of the 90's he became known for his poetic drawings of shadows in Paris. Later he 'bombed' models on the billboards between the eyes. Though his interventions have been very popular, it has been discussed in France whether it is vandalism or art.
In 2008 Zevs had his first major survey exhibition at the classical art museum the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Denmark. His work was displayed alongside masterpieces in the museum's permanent collections such as Edouard Manet's The Absinthe Drinker and Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.
Zevs is not only one of the most political artists from this scene but already partisan roster, he is becoming seen as one of the more inspired practitioners of mischievous street work. His Liquidated Logos series, first displayed at the Soho gallery in November 2007, are arguably the most direct and recognisable examples of the oeuvre.
His activity on the street has drawn much controversy and attention from the ‘high art’ world, blurring as it does the line between ‘street pieces’, conceptual art, and plain old-fashioned angry vandalism. Most notorious were his examples of ‘visual kidnapping’ where Zevs removed entire figures from over-sized adverts.
At Berlin Alexanderplatz a vast, garish, hanging billboard for Lavazza coffee found itself without its female lead. Zevs ‘demanded’ a 500,000 Euro donation to the Palais de Tokyo art gallery in Paris for her return. Other techniques have included simply ‘cleaning’ a picture onto a dirty wall using high pressure steam cleaners, obviously toying with the notion of whether graffiti is a blight upon the landscape or a complement to it.