Poetic of the Road: Artist Michele Guieu Creates Faux Road Signs Inspired by the Arab Spring, Absurd Warning Road Signs and Mirror Images for Drivers Through the US

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The Billboard Art Project is an opportunity for artist Michele Guieu to intertwine poetry and politics on large scale images. In towns across the U.S, she is displaying series of images that speak to drivers on the roads: a series about distances to Middle Eastern and North African towns and a series about abstract road signs, which are projected on LED billboards. San Bernardino, CA, is the last town for the Billboard Art Project in 2011.

Faux road sign on a billboard in Reading, PA

Distance to Alexandria and Cairo From Reading, PA

In the midst of the Arab Spring, my intention with the road sign look-alikes is to use familiar navigation aids to create a moment of surprise, of poetry and of awareness.

In the last show of 2011 for the Billboard Art Project, artist Michele Guieu has created a unique series of images, each speaking to drivers in the graphic language of road signs and making use of the context of the town, the streets, and the highways where the billboards are located.

In “Mileage To”, Guieu presents a series of faux road signs that tell drivers the exact distance from San Bernardino to various cities of political importance in the Middle East and Africa, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, and others. Guieu says (excerpt from an interview by the Billboard Art Project):
"Living now in the US, I really measure the “distance” between here and anywhere else in the world, especially the Middle East and Africa. The series is timely and puts these towns on the American map.I also like the idea of surprising the viewer. And that is not easy, given the number of billboards everywhere with thousands of well-thought-out messages (which does not necessarily mean they are interesting – but they are made to catch the viewers attention)."

"Signs" is a series in which Guieu presents a theme of arrows and simple shapes that play off of -- and further complicate -- existing road signs that already seemed confusing or convoluted. Without being dangerous, Guieu's signs add more confusion in a poetic way.

In her third series of this show, "On the Road", Guieu displays an extensive array of images she took while traveling on highways herself. With each image, she is playing with the fact that viewers of the show are, themselves, looking out from a vehicle to see her images, which are looking out at an entirely different landscape.

Michele Guieu has participated in eight Billboard Art Project shows in 2011:
Nashville, TN (April 2011), Savannah, GA (May 2011), Duluth, MN (august 2011), Chicago, IL (September 2011), Reading PA (October 2011), New Orleans, LA (October 2011), Baton Rouge, LA (November 2011), San Bernardino, CA (December 2011).

ABOUT THE BILLBOARD ART PROJECT

Billboard Art Project is a nonprofit organization that acquires digital billboards normally used for advertising and re-purposes them as roadside galleries. Projects are held in cities all over the country and are open to all individuals and groups who are interested in participating. In addition to providing artists with a free venue to display their art, free art shows are provided to the public, thus initiating a dialogue between artists, viewers and the public landscape.

In each town, the Billboard Art Project documents the event.
All photos are credited Billboard Art Project.

The Billboard Art Project was created by David Morrison.
For more information please contact:
Claire Accardo via email: claire(at)billboardartproject(dot)com
or David Morrison via phone: (804) 648-2422

SHOW San Bernardino, CA (Corona-Riverside)
WHEN
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2011 from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
WHAT
24-hours of non-stop billboard art by artists & artist collectives
WHERE
off I-15 southbound before the E Ontario Ave exit.
The actual billboard is next to the SpringHill Suites Corona-Riverside. See map

Michele Guieu Biography
Michele Guieu was born in southern France, lived her teenage years in Senegal (Africa), travelled and moved quite a lot. She is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris (MA Graphic Design), Paris, France.
She has been a graphic designer for many years when she lived in Paris, where she worked for non-profit organizations and museums. She also exhibited her work in Paris and Copenhagen, before moving to the US in 2000. She is a San Diego Art Prize 2009 nominee in the Emerging Artists Category. Guieu recently had a solo exhibition at Art Produce Gallery and participated in shows at the California Center for the Arts, the Oceanside Museum of Art and the William Cannon Art Gallery. She was invited to the “Summer Salon Series” at the San Diego Museum of Art during the summer of 2010.
Michele Guieu lived and worked in San Diego for six years and moved to the bay area in 2010.

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