Tag Archives: CMN

Paris: ‘Illustres- C215 autour du Pantheon’

Illustres! C215 autour du Pantheon

Portraits of illustrious men and women painted by the French street artist Christian Guémy, better known as C215, adorn the French National Monument Pantheon and surrounding streets in the fifth arrondissement of Paris until 10 October.

This year, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux is presenting “Sur les murs, histoires (s) de graffiti” on nine monuments of its network (see our previous coverage here). On this occasion, the artist C215 was invited to make portraits of men and women honored at the Pantheon, and thematic visits are also set up in the monument, to discover the many historical graffiti present in the heights of the monument, spaces usually inaccessible to the public.

Christian Guémy pays tribute to the figures of the resistance, like Brecht, Zola or de Gaulle, whose names are associated with streets, squares and institutions. In all, 28 portraits of historical personalities, some of which are buried inside the Pantheon, are painted on the walls of the 5th district.

Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon
Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon

The tour titled “Illustres! C215 autour du Pantheon ” begins in the crypt of the monument, which hosts an exhibition of the artistic approach and the techniques used by the artist to create these colourful portraits: stencils, blades. A series of photographies illustrate the artist’s creative process, while a movie presents an interview of the artist.

Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon
Illustres! C215 autour du Pantheon

Within display cabinets, C215 is creating a dialogue between the illustrious portraits and symbolic objects. Thus, literary works, handwritten letters, and professional objects of Marie Curie, Germaine Tillion, Andre Malraux, Victor Hugo or Antoine de Saint-Exupery are exhibited and highlight the area for which these illustrious people are honoured.

Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon
Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon
Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon

Punctual visits to the upper parts of the Pantheon allow the public to discover some of the historical graffiti.

Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon
Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon

At the same time, C215 painted 28 portraits in the streets of the 5th arrondissement surrounding the Pantheon and invite the viewer to discover the lives of these extraordinary personalities.
For example a huge portrait of Marie Curie adorn the walls of the Institut Marie Carie.

Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon
Illustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du PantheonIllustres! C215 autour du Pantheon

A full map of the C215 Illustres tour is available here

Illustres ! C215 Autour du Pantheon
Until 10 October
Place du Panthéon
75005 Paris

CMN ‘Sur les Murs, Histoire(s) de Graffiti’

https://graffiti.monuments-nationaux.fr/

 

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La Rochelle: Graff on Tour(s) with Lek & Sowat

Lek & Sowat - Graff on Tour(s)

The Towers of La Rochelle, managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN), are currently presenting Graff on Tour(s) until 25 June 2018 with a focus on historical graffiti as well as artistic interventions by contemporary artists ( see our first preview here. Following a month residency, internationally renowned graffiti duo Lek & Sowat were given total freedom to create contemporary artistic installations in the Saint Nicolas Tower and the city of La Rochelle.

After having archived and documented graffiti on the national monuments as traces of history and archeology for decades, and referenced graffiti on thirty historical monuments, the CMN is dedicating its 2018 cultural season on historical graffiti with a series of exhibitions and events called “Sur les murs, histoire(s) de graffiti“ on nine of its national monuments curated by Laure Pressac .

Wandering in La Rochelle, a few signs announce an atypical invasion.
Local buses adorn abstract geometric and dynamic shapes…


Bus Yelo La Rochelle, Lek & Sowat ©Théo Larmaillard/CMN

Looking up we noticed that the French flag on the Saint Nicolas Tower has been replaced by a pirate flag floating high with graffuturism and calligraffiti letters. There is no doubt: Lek and Sowat have taken over La Rochelle.

Lek & Sowat - Graff on Tour(s)

Known for their interventions both in abandoned places such as Mausolee ( see here) or institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo ( more here), Lek and Sowat were particularly interested by the historical monument of the Saint Nicolas Tower due to its architecture, context and history.

Some quick historic facts: during the 14th century La Rochelle was a centre of maritime trade and the Towers were controlling entry to the port by the many trading ship. From the 16th to 18th centuries, the Saint Nicolas Tower and the Chaine Tower were also used as prisons for Huguenots (French protestants) and foreign sailors, followed by military prisoners from the 19th century. Over 600 graffiti have been recorded, engraved in the walls of the Rochelle Towers, as testimony of imprisoned sailors during the various wars.

Lek & Sowat were inspired and intrigued by the story of the junction between the Saint Nicolas Tower and the Chaine Tower, mentioned in an old historical book of La Rochelle, added to the calculations of the architect Juste Lisch whose illustrations concurred with the possible existence of an arch between the two towers.


Illustration by Juste Lisch (1864)

Based on this historical and utopian idea, they have imagined a graffuturist gateway with the help of their friend David ‘Tcheko’ La Tulipe.

Lek & Tcheko - Graff on Tour(s)
Lek & Tcheko

In the continuity of their work done at the Pavillon du Carre Beaudoin , both artists pursue their quest to push the boundaries of graffiti and contemporary art, this time by creating a multisensorial and immersive installation inside the Saint Nicolas Tower.

They wanted to recreate the feelings of fear and unknown so present when doing urbex (urban exploration), not knowing what you might find, but being excited as the same time.
Visitors descend the Saint Nicolas Tower’s stairs in total darkness until their feet touch the floor of the lower ground space. Then the adrenaline kicks in: Boom !

It’s an explosion of lighting effects and shadows, revealing a three dimensional metallic bridge with geometric shapes, reminiscent of the abstract geometric shapes found in Lek & Sowat graffiti paintings.

Vibration sensors connected to a set of nine lights trigger an infinite combination of light variations which evolve through the stamps of visitors. All the surfaces from the floor to ceiling are transformed and the shadows appearing from the metallic structure create characters and shapes on the walls of the Tower.

The immersive installation creates a new dynamic dialogue between the viewer and the historical tower, a vibrant and interactive display for all ages, where the viewer is also an active participant in the creation of the installation.

Shy visitors start an impromptu dynamic dance to activate additional lighting and discover more fractal shadows and projections, characters and shapes. The interaction is fun, liberating and addictive.

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View the full set of pics here

The arched shape of the ground floor combined with the artistic installation also reminds us of a cathedral and its colourful stained glass windows with the graffuturist metallic structure recreating the stained glass windows outlines, giving a sacred aura to the historical space.

With their installation Lek and Sowat successfully take graffiti and contemporary art to another dimension, while giving a second life to the historical monument.

Simply magical.

In addition to their installation, Lek & Sowat are releasing a special limited edition Tote Bag to support the protection of the French cultural heritage, available in CMN’s gift shops.

Stay tuned as we continue our visit of the CMN Cultural season across the summer
“Sur les Murs, Histoire(s) de Graffiti”.

Graffs on Tour(s)
Until 25 June
Saint Nicolas Tower
Lantern Tower
La Rochelle

La Rochelle (FR): Graffs on Tour(s) with the CMN

The Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) is France’s biggest cultural and tourism operator. Its mission is to preserve cultural heritage and provide public access to 100 national historical monuments throughout France.

After having archived and documented graffiti on the national monuments as traces of history and archeology for decades, and referenced graffiti on thirty historical monuments, the CMN has decided to focus its 2018 cultural season on historical graffiti with a series of exhibitions and events called Sur les murs, histoire(s) de graffiti on nine of its national monuments curated by Laure Pressac .

From 31 March to 25 June 2018 the historical sites of La Rochelle Towers present “Graffs on Tour(s)” with a focus on historical graffiti as well as artistic interventions by contemporary artists. Over 600 graffiti have been recorded,  engraved in the walls of the Rochelle Towers, as testimony of imprisoned sailors during the various wars.

Following a month residency, internationally renowned graffiti duo Lek & Sowat (covered) have created a series of contemporary installations in the Saint Nicolas Tower and the city of La Rochelle, which we will focus on in more details shortly.

To kick start the cultural season with the Quinzaine du Numerique (QZN), five artists including Philippe Boisnard (FR), Vincent Dubois (FR), Collectif Impact (FR), Julia Masvernat (AR) and Julia Suero (AR), invaded the Lantern Tower  by creating a transmedia journey with digital installations, visual mapping, videos, and sound installations.

Through the ascending progression of the Lantern Tower, this transmedia path evokes the transition from figuration to abstraction as well as the transformation from analog material into digital material.

Upon entering the tower, visitors are given a booklet and at each stage of the journey, the public can discover more about the architecture of the building, historical graffiti and artistic installations and interpretations of the QZN.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 06

On the second floor, Collectif Impact highlights the most important graffiti (depending on their quality, size and state of conservation) with visual mapping on the prison doors, while a life-size projection features testimonies of the past left by sailors, pirates and prisoners. A dark room reveals invisible graffiti using black UV light.

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QZN - Graffs on Tours - Collectif Impact 02QZN - Graffs on Tours - Collectif Impact 01

On the third floor, also nicknamed ‘dorm room’, graffiti are even more prolific. Through lighting effects, Vincent Dubois presents selected graffiti in a museum setting, with audio creations by Julia Suero for a full immersive experience.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 04QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 03
QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 02QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 01

A room with interactive games and books let you discover more about the history of graffiti.

QZN - Graffs on Tours La Rochelle 02QZN - Graffs on Tours - Vincent Dubois 05

The fifth floor features the first dungeon of the nineteenth century. Artistic installations by Julia Masvernat and Julia Suero invite the viewers into an oniric journey with ‘Magic Lanterns’ . Through a projection, shadows reminiscent of historical graffiti evolve on the walls of the room.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Julia Masvernat & Julia Suero 04
QZN - Graffs on Tours - Julia Masvernat & Julia Suero 03QZN - Graffs on Tours - Julia Masvernat & Julia Suero 02

For many years the Lantern Tower was a place of confinement, and graffiti are traces left by these isolated and immured people. Philippe Boisnard ‘s installation is a 270 ° mapping on the sixth floor of the Lantern Tower, which poetically and graphically opens horizons through these walls. Each stone has been visually mapped and transformed into a new skyline, a distant desert, burning fire, depth underwater. Through computer generated images, the prison walls disintegrate and show the viewers  how imagination can go beyond confinement.

QZN - Graffs on Tours - Philippe Boisnard

Stay tuned as we continue our visit of the CMN Cultural season
“Sur les Murs, Histoire(s) de Graffiti”.

Graffs on Tour(s)

Until 25 June
Saint Nicolas Tower
Lantern Tower
La Rochelle