12/30/2014 07:34 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Robbbb: Among the Ruins (Video)

In the West it can certainly feel like street art has become so ubiquitous as to have come to, rightly or wrongly, something of a dead end. But in China, where at present there is no specific law against street art, the genre is little understood. Witness the puzzled looks Beijing-based artist Robbbb receives when pasting his creations on walls and ruins across this rapidly evolving city.


Robbbb has been an active street artist since 2011 and believes ruins "mark the development of a city. Since the Olympics in 2008... a lot of culture and landscape has been destroyed. My works co-exist with the ruins and old structures. They disappear when the ruins disappear, therefore my works are part of the ruins and vice versa."

He documents his temporary works, many of which focus on social problems linked to Beijing's extraordinary development, using photos and video. However, he doesn't expect to be as free to use the city as a canvas as he is for too much longer. As Western culture floods China, it's only a matter of time before the authorities pick up on the subversive element of street art and attempt to suppress it.


"The major difference with street art in China and in foreign countries lies in whether or not people understand what you're doing," reflects Robbbb. "Ruins are temporary, so are my works, but I hope they'll leave some marks in Beijing's history."

Text by Tom Jenkins for
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