Stephan Graff: Plastician artist, was born in 1970 in Strasbourg. He grew up in a small town “Neuwiller les Saverne”, located in the Hanau Lichtemberg county which is in the northern part of the Vosges. This Alsacien likes to work with different materials; he created numerous models, drawings, paintings since his childhood. In 1993, he decided to move to the United States of America, and set up his work studio in Oakland, California. During these six years he was working in a restaurant as a waiter and occasionally travelled throughout the North American continent. The artwork created in that period was influenced by the discovery of that new world.... This is also where he managed to organize a Smashing Party every year, with the logic to supply his creations with materials that were considered as “trash” in the first place.
Straight out of his imagination or from the heart of his reality, the subject matters are a mosaic of lives, dreams, and trips. They are representing places, mystical or futuristic, café sceneries, and characters.
Smashing Productions is an “association “ created in February 2001 by Hubert PICHOT and Stephan GRAFF in the purpose of offering an administrative structure to the organization of the shows.
Hubert PICHOT has ten years of practical experience in stage management. His professional experience in the fields of stage management and sound technics (he set up international tours for the “Percussions de Strasbourg”) gave him an accurate knowledge of all the technical needs of a show. His pragmatic reasoning - his ability to handle the unpredictable - related to a multimedia event are his assets used in his function as producer. In the world of music, or in a play, he has participated in various artistical productions (opening of a concert hall, the management of different regional rock bands, CD production).
Friends for a long time, the producer and the artist ran into each other again when the artist moved back to France in the summer of 1999. Animated by the same passion for artistic experimentations, they naturally end up collaborating on the Smashing Party project, putting together their complementary competences.
The principle of a Smashing Party consists of a metamorphosis of trash in two different time frames.
The result of the destruction of non-functioning household appliances (TVs, computers, vaccum cleaners, HI-FI...) by being thrown or hit with a sledge-hammer creates debris that are in turn used by the plasticians to create artwork. They give a new life to all of these objects originally destined to the dump. This event integrates itself perfectly into current politics of waste-recycling and the preservation of our environment.
Initiated in 1995 in the U.S by the painter-plastician Stephan GRAFF, the Smashing Party lands in France by means of exhibiting pieces made across the Atlantic by that thirty-something Alsacian. In collaboration with him, we managed the materialization of that multi-artistic performance into the Strasbourg Scene.
During the inauguration concert of a Smashing Party, the household appliances will be destroyed by randomly drawn participants. The debris will then be given to the artists for a whole week of creation...The creations made on site will be shown to the public, an opening will be organized for that occasion the week following the Party. After that we’ll offer more openings throughout town.
The mixed “Ambiance” of that “happening event” will be brought up by the fusion of the sounds of music with noises of destruction. The participants will be invited, there will be no entry fees. Numbered invitations will be dispatched on different sites (bars, art schools, museums, galleries...) selected for the promotion of the event.
SCENARIO OF A SMASHING PARTY
Artists involved : Stephan GRAFF, 3 to 5 students in art schools and 1 or 2 professionnal artists selected for the project. There will be an imposed theme on which they will be working on, individually or in teams.
The music group and the DJ will have complete coordination of all the actions taking place during the show.
Two animators will assume the lead of the soirée. They will be in charge of informing the public about the Party and proceed to the necessary lottery drawings.
The exterior entry wall will be tagged during the show to recall the “ready-mades” of modern art performed in the fifties.
Ther will be photo projections of car wrecks (borrowed from the city police department) onto an indoor wall to make the public conscious about the risks taken by anyone driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol!
Invitations will be printed with double numbers in order to organize the drawing of the destructors “les talemen” and the throwers “les tejmen”. The invitation will have a similiar presentation to a restaurant lunch or dinner menu.
The Party will be videotaped (there is an existing story-board available upon request) to promote the event for a tour. Our partners will then be involved in a national event at first, and then we are all aiming into a planetary involvement on both sides...
You will be able to consult mini-clips of the Party on our site: www.smashingparty.com.
The final goal of the concept is to make a large public more sensitive to their environment and all the problems binded to recycling in our consumer society (we know that we probably sound redundant with all the media’s stir about recycling and the fallacies related to recycling, but if done properly there is still value in recycling!). The export of our project into other cities and foreign countries, will allow us to create a network of structures involved into the promotion of recycling throughout exibits of artwork.
This specific type of event involving destruction launched at first under the appellation of “Pop Art” or “Happenings” in the fifties, sixties and seventies did not include back then the major idea and main function of the Smashing Party concept: to promote RECYCLING!!