The Paris Heritage Strolls
Art in the city - The south walk
JOURNEY AROUND THE TRAM ROUTE
FROM THE GARIGLIANO BRIDGE (15TH) TO THE PORTE D’IVRY (13TH)
Throughout the capital, the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Paris maintains the monuments and statues which form part of the municipal or State heritage. Most of these works date from the beginning of the Third Republic, an active period for artistic commissions. The 20th century was for a long time more cautious in this respect, but over the last twenty years or so, the City of Paris has revived the tradition of commissioning public art. In 2003, it set up the Art Committee in the City, a committee of elected officials, experts and departments to consult on the projects planned. Since then, the City of Paris has commissioned the permanent or temporary works which can be discovered on three walks: North, Central and South.
Installing art in the heart of the city – this is the aim of the artistic accompaniment for the T3 tram line between the Garigliano Bridge and the Porte d’Ivry. In the 13th, 14th and 15th districts, artists have been invited to create an urban tale to punctuate the daily comings and goings. The themes which can be found along the route are linked to movement, reflection, man’s place in the city, habitat and the relationship with 20th century architecture, which is very widespread in the Maréchaux Sud (a boulevard in southern Paris). And you don’t even need to look up to discover these playful or poetic works, as they are located at head height.
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(15th) Garigliano Bridge
Sophie Calle and Frank O. Gehry“Sophie’s Cabin”, 2006
In asking Frank O. Gehry to design a work, Sophie Calle wanted to create for Paris a symbol of communication, whose form would be different from “classical” street furniture. A true sculpture, Sophie’s Cabin is a flower with large metallic petals like crumpled paper, which unfurls above the Seine. Happy is he who picks up the receiver when it rings, as it is Sophie Calle, an artist as unclassifiable as she is unpredictable, who will tell him a story and listen to his.
Sophie Calle was born in Paris in 1953 and lives and works in Malakoff. For over twenty years, she has frustrated the censors, mocked bans and created fantasies, armed with notebook, pen, camera and video recorder. She finds a correspondence between saying and doing, achieving this magnificent alchemical performance everyone dreams of but few achieve: turning your life into a novel.
In search of new textures, free and complex structures, the process of Frank Owen Gehry (born in Toronto in 1929) frees itself from conventions and willingly defines itself as active, even joyful. His constructions therefore often resemble sculpture. The innovative juxtaposition of volumes and the diversity of materials and colours have earned him a notoriety which has increased still further with the construction of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (1997).
(15th) Porte de Versailles
Dan Graham“From Boullée to Eternity”, 2006
From Boullée to Eternity is an extraordinary “waiting room” at Porte de Versailles, a few metres from the tram station, and is composed of two interlinked arcs. Its reflective glass structure allows passers-by to be reflected in the walls and therefore to become an integral part of the work. The artist is playing with opposites: inside/outside, public/private, opaque/transparent and observer/observed. The form and the choice of materials are reminiscent of the modernist glass architecture of large Western cities and the surrounding buildings, particularly the hemispheric vault of the Sports Hall located nearby.
Dan Graham was born in 1942 in Urbana (United States) and lives and works in New York. Since the mid-1960s, his artistic production has been characterised by the mobilisation of different cultural fields, particularly architecture and rock culture. Attentive to social systems and the way they shape behaviours in the public and private domains, his performances, videos and architectural installations are in a relationship of dependency with the spectator-participant.
(14th) On the corner of Boulevard Jourdan and Avenue David Weill
Claude Lévèque“Tchaikovsky”, 2006
The artist covered a small, stone, 1930s building in a sort of diadem composed of large panels of polished stainless steel like a crumpled mirror. The corrugated metal creates an inverted image which mocks the laws of gravity: a basin is suspended above our heads and blends into the sky. The gleam of this “aerial lake” constantly changes with the movements of trams and pedestrians and the passing of the clouds. By disturbing the image of the real world in this way, Claude Lévèque is questioning appearances, which are both moving and elusive, and helping us to see our environment differently.
Claude Lévèque was born in Nevers in 1953 and lives and works in Montreuil. His work is characterised by a sensory yet mental approach in which the body is no longer the instrument or vehicle of form, but its preferred recipient. He leads the visitor into an always perceptible experience of the world, where each element helps to create an atmosphere, a poetic evocation which makes the visitor an actor himself in the story being played out. His raw material remains the everyday environment. His works always leave room for a vacuum, a space to be filled, the imagination. It is an elliptical story, where the artist creates a free work, offered up but still to be completed.
(14th) 11 ter Rue d’Alésia
Anne Frémy“Balls and Balloons”, 2005
The construction of the Alice Milliat gymnasium was accompanied by a work by the artist Anne Frémy as part of the artistic 1% programme. The project by this unclassifiable character was based on glass elements, the entrance hall and bow windows letting light into the changing rooms, in order to focus on the gymnasium hidden behind an embankment. To match the sporting purpose of the building, she created different-sized balloons stuck randomly onto the windows, “escaped from an iconography which reveals the universality of this object which is both banal and eternally magic”.
Anne Frémy was born in Paris in 1955 and still lives and works in the city. An iconographer, architect, exhibition designer, video director and lifeguard, she is unclassifiable as an artist and happy to be so, even if she could be described as an artist-archivist of planning and urban architecture.
(14th) Montsouris Park, Campus
Christian Boltanski“Amorous Murmurs”, 2006
The artist has created a work for twelve benches in Montsouris Park, based on a series of amorous confessions by international students living in Paris, expressed in their native language. The recordings start to play as soon as a visitor sits down, creating a paradoxical situation where the private sphere, expressed by the secrets, erupts into the public space. The work is therefore a reference to the inevitable proximity of people in the city, in particular on public transport, where we can hear conversations not intended for us. Here, Christian Boltanski offers us an intimate, poetic work, a subtle and unexpected interpretation of the notion of public commission.
Christian Boltanski was born in Paris in 1944 and lives and works in Malakoff. At the end of the 1960s, he moved away from the paintings of his origins to experiment with other means of expression, combining photocopies, everyday objects and photographs from his family albums. Through these materials, he integrates elements from his personal world into his work, to the extent that his biography becomes one of his main themes. His work deals with memory in all its forms, whether personal or collective, thus showing its profoundly human and emotional dimension. He represented France at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
(13th) Poterne des Peupliers
Bertrand Lavier“The Mirage”, 2006
A group of palm trees which come from nowhere unexpectedly disrupt the perspective of the Rue des Peupliers. The designs, cut out of metal sheets covered with painted resin, are in fact operated by a theatrical mechanism and appear intermittently. Using a concertinaing principle dear to him, where representation is sometimes substituted for reality, Bertrand Lavier perturbs our perception of this reality. In this seductive vision, the notion of movement goes beyond the simple imagination, towards distant end exotic lands.
Bertrand Lavier was born in Châtillon-sur-Seine in 1946 and lives and works in Paris. Arguing in favour of a lack of distinction between art and non-art, between exposure value and user value, he questions the status of the objects which surround us. With great lucidity, a sense of subversion tinged with humour and a pronounced taste for games, he attempts to change our perception of art and reality. He creates incongruous encounters between heterogeneous products of the consumer society through processes such as superposition, hybridisation, movement, reframing and enlargement.
(13th) Square Robert Bajac
Peter Kogler“Skate Park”, 2006
With this inverted fragment of the earth, embedded in the ground rather than erected on it, Peter Kogler is offering an indirect image of the world which is part of an anti-monument conception of public sculpture. Rather than being placed there a posteriori, the concrete work anticipates and integrates its possible appropriation by appearing there like sports equipment. Its curved form and particular appearance make it an ideal playground for skateboarders, rollerbladers and BMX riders. Skate Park therefore raises the question of mobility in an urban environment by presenting itself as an area devoted to movement, whilst still containing a reference to “urban culture”.
Peter Kogler was born in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1959 and lives and works in Vienna. Since the 1980s, he has become famous for his passion for design, in particular the form of the ant. This love of seriality and repetition is a legacy of minimalism and pop art. In installations in urban environments, while using the functional and architectural data of the locality, the artist creates discrepancies, often tinged with humour and irony thanks to the use of wall paper or hypnotic video projections.
(13th) Porte d’Ivry
Didier Fiuza Faustino“1SQMH”, 2006
Didier Fiuza Faustino proposes a 17 metre-high contemporary totem pole consisting of different geometric modules piled on top of each other like a game of building blocks. This hybrid object oscillates between sculpture and architecture. Showing through it we can see a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, a toilet and even a ladder going to the different floors. The surface area of each room is exactly the same as the surface for the construction of the building, its gross surface area of 1m2. Didier Fiuza Faustino almost literally adopts the idea of a work to be inhabited. 1SQMH evokes both the surrounding architecture and a science fiction architecture, whose vertical momentum appears as a futuristic model of urban development.
Didier Fiuza Faustino was born in 1968 and lives and works in Paris and Lisbon. He defines himself as an alchemist, architect, artist and magazine editor at the same time. He prefers to be part of a team, collaborating with designers, mechanics, engineers and graphic artists, and working within a firm of architects he himself founded, the Bureau des Mésarchitectures. His resolutely multi-form approach to architecture extends from experimentation to installation and is a reflection on the human body and its movements. The habitat is envisaged as an extension of the self, both physical and mental.
“Balles et Ballons”, 2005
11 ter rue d’Alésia, 14e
“Les murmures amoureux”, 2006
Parc Montsouris, Cité Universitaire, 14e
10 YEARS OF PUBLIC COMMISSIONS
The artistic 1% programme
This procedure allows public project managers to reserve 1% of the net cost of the work for commissioning or purchasing one or more works of art designed for the building in question.
The dialogue between art and the city continues...
- Artistic accompaniment for the T3 East tramline
The extension of the T3 to Porte de la Chapelle was an opportunity for an unprecedented commission of public art. The project proposed by Christian Bernard, Artistic Director, was to create a continuity between Paris and its outlying communes, to encourage a moment for pause, reflection and dialogue in the usual speed of public transport. This led to the preference for works with user value (benches, fountains) and monumental “signals”, reference points for everyone.
- 1% Department of Research and Training (UFR) Lamarck & Lavoisier
For this 1%, two independent organisers, Mélanie Bouteloup and Caroline Naphegyi, proposed that an artist collaborate with the university world to create a permanent work of art. Research professors intervene during the creative process to ensure that the challenges of the project are correctly interpreted.
- 1% A. Césaire College
Florence Lazar is working on identity. In collaboration with students and teachers, she is creating a living photographic archive, bringing back memories.
Find all the Vélib’ points on www.velib-paris.fr