Ememem and his potholes, a French Banksy

Last year, the studio of Lyon artist Ememem received an urgent call from an architecture firm near Place Sathonay, in Lyon. Someone was undoing the mosaic Ememem had made on the sidewalk in front of their office. When he arrived, the culprit had fled with half the tesserae.

This work of art may have partially disappeared, but many other Ememem creations still dot the streets of the city: 350 to be exact, and counting. Over the past six years, he has specialized in filling potholes and other holes and cracks in the bitumen with mosaics made of tiles and fragments of materials of different sizes and shades, for a result of the better effect. Some of his creations bear his signature, often in the form of a logo with a trowel surmounted by his name.

Ememem calls himself “the sidewalk surgeon” or “the knight of the potholes”, and gave his works the name of “flackings”, derived from the French word “puddle”. He says they are “a memory book of the city”. “They bring to light what happened, he specifies. Here cobblestones were ripped up and thrown. There, the market truck cracked the bitumen.”

Keep a part of mystery

In Lyon, his work is attracting more and more attention. A Lyonnais website, HappyCurio, offers walking tours to discover its mosaics and its Instagram account has 147,000 subscribers. “He is a star of Lyon street art, says Lisa Mambré, deputy mayor of the IXe arrondissement. His work catches the eye and everyone knows him.”

If Ememem’s works are very visible, he, on the other hand, is impossible to see. Like his colleague Banksy,

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