Muros grises (grey walls)

Madrid, Spain

This project was an illegal intervention carried out in Madrid in May 2012.
The intervention responds to Madrid City Council’s absurd management of the urban landscape and its “zero tolerance” towards graffiti during those years.
We dressed up as city hall staff and painted gray patches over existing gray patches applied to buff any message written in public space: tags, stencils, drawings, love statements, or political graffiti. Inside these new patches, we did not fill the entire area, preserving some of the old grays through which you could read sarcastic messages about color.


In the Madrid of "zero tolerance" against the "inappropriate" use of public space, we seek to point out the situation's absurdity and ask the citizen questions.
Do we want a gray city?
The buff brigades remove any expression from the public space.


We carried out the interventions in broad daylight. We dressed up as City Hall staff, with high-visibility vests, traffic cones, and gray paint buckets.
Neither the authorities nor the citizens questioned the illegal nature of the work.
All the eight interventions belonging to "Gray Walls" were buffed with gray color by the City Council's staff.
The longest one lasted for one week.
The shortest one lasted fifteen minutes, the exact time we were caught red-handed.

Information and credits
  • Eight interventions painted in different strategic spots around Madrid's city center
  • Plastic paint on grey wall painted with city hall's grey tempera
  • Photographs by Boa Mistura, Madrid City Hall and Guillermo de la Madrid
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