Meet HOGRE, the man behind the subversive ads popping up all over London

Italian artist HOGRE has been transfiguring London’s cityscape by exchanging the dull product ads citizens are used to everyday for provocative works of street art.

HOGRE, whose real name remains undisclosed, refers to himself as a “subvertiser” and is part of a growing pack of artists and activists that have been installing controversial artworks in various cities around the globe.

Similarly to the international collective Brandalism and New York based artist Jordan Seiler, this Italian provocateur intervenes in bus stop billboards and city walls, replacing the normal ads with his own posters.

His work is extremely critical of consumerism and contemporary politics. He tackles delicate current affairs like the London housing crisis and immigration with high doses of satire and wit.

He said to Konbini art blog about his motivation:

“What is still fundamental is the discussion about how we should manage public spaces. It is hypocritical to call our social organisation “democracy” if the only public messages allowed are those ruled and mediated by personal profits.”

His pieces are generally taken down after a few hours, but to him, the importance of his work lies in its rebelliousness nature, subtlety and of course, illegality.

“Subvertising works better if you can’t tell straight away if it is subvertising or not. It has to be illegal, of course, but it also has to be sneaky,” he said.

Although he was born in Rome, HOGRE chose London as the target of his work.

“I declared war to kitsch supremacy, embodied in the ads, and definable as the refusal of everything that is considered unacceptable,” he said. “And London is the capital of this aesthetic ideal.”

Independent publishing house Dog Section Press recently released a photographic collection of his outdoor and indoor works in a book titled Subvertising, The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising. The book also gathers details about his work process and his thoughts on anarchism and artistic resistance. It’s available right now at Dog Section Press’ official site for £15.00 as a physical copy or you can also check it out digitally for free.