There are times when graffiti attempts to make its presence in a gallery setting and it might seem forced, or the graffiti artist forgets to take into account the idea or conceptualize why and how their work fits within a gallery setting. This is not the case in this Exhibition at Speerstra Gallery by Swiss Artist Thierry Furger titled “Buffed paintings Fame for a Day”. Thierry’s painting address real issues that graffiti artists contemplate daily, as our existence is based upon many principle ideas that sometimes outsiders don’t deal with. One of the ideas is that our work will be gone and is at best temporary, Thierry’s paintings address this issue conceptually in his Buff Series. Thierry is able to execute this idea extremely well in this exhibition. Aesthetically I love the paintings abstract nature bringing graffiti elements that are later treated with anti-graffiti removal. What impresses me more is Thierry’s ability to transition into the gallery, not only bringing graffiti but bringing a valid commentary on the temporary state of our artform. I have attached the bio of the artist below, its worth a read.


“The series “Buffed Paintings” and “Schöns Züri” (Nice Zurich) of Thierry Furger are shown for the first time in the framework of the exhibition “Cinq Salons” in the “Haus zum Garten” in Zurich.

Both series have been started in 2007 and are not yet accomplished. They are based on the long and intensive examination of the artist with graffiti and its caducity. Is graffiti only scribbling or masterpieces with own histories, which were generated under adventures circumstances? Most of the time graffiti disappear after a few hours. They are removed by cleaning staff, painted over by other writers or they are exposed to nature, wear and fade. In the end, nobody is responsible for their conservation.

In this way, the writer is forced to learn to live with the emphemerality of his creation. Exactly this is it, his love to typography and to the medium of the illegal art in the public area that fascinates the artist.

These characteristics of graffiti are the foundation for the series “Buffed Paintings”. In the language of the writer, “buff” stays for the place were trains are cleaned.

First Thierry Furger sprays normal pieces on large metal and aluminum boards. Later they are cleaned or over-painted by the artist by exactly the same means as the official train staff uses when they apply a so-called graffiti-killer. Thanks to the time laps in which the artist does this, he manages to transfer the inherent development and disappearance of the illegal complements into the showroom.

Like this he creates pieces that are not representing the usual high gloss look of an especially elaborated technique, but that pieces meet the unique charisma and aesthetic of the street art

The current Anti-graffiti campaign of Zurich has inspired Thierry Furger for another series: “Schöns Züri”. At first sight, it is hard to make out the graffiti, as not colourful, living letters, but different tones of grey dominate the large linen cloths. Only at second, attentive sight, the beholder spots a picture under the topcoat paint. As the City of Zürich let consequently smear all graffiti on public walls with grey colour within a week, Thierry Furger also paints over pieces on linen cloth regardless on their artistic value. Artists of international reputation have painted some of the pieces especially for this purpose. What remains, are paintings that hint in a very sensitive way a story that took place underneath the grey topcoat paint. They reflect the concrete walls of Zurich that by now tell of thirty-year graffiti art in Switzerland.
Both series are evidence of the artist’s will to break new ground to transfer street art into the protected showroom. His fundamental knowledge has brought him to make the ephemeral quality to the central aspect of the masterpiece. Thanks to this additional step he makes up the different condition that distinguishes the showroom form the public area without denying the essence of his origin.”