Daniel Buren takes over French presidential palace with latest artwork – WWD


PARIS – Daniel Buren caused a scandal by installing 260 striped columns in the courtyard of the Palais-Royal in 1986. Imagine what his detractors will say when they get wind of the artist’s latest project: to cover the glass roof of the reception rooms of the presidential palace. in panels of blue, white and red.

French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled the work at the Élysée on Monday in front of heavyweights from the art world, including Jean-Paul Claverie, advisor to Bernard Arnault and one of the main actors of the Louis Vuitton Foundation; Guillaume Houzé, president of Lafayette Anticipations, the art foundation supported by the Galeries Lafayette Group, and gallery owner Kamel Mennour, among others.

Macron said the works, a “flight of fancy”, were symbolic of the new spirit of freedom sweeping the country, more than three months after museums, theaters and cinemas reopened following a prolonged closure due to of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At a time when life is resuming, this work of art reflects a desire not only to make the Élysée Palace a place of contemporary creation, but to invite you all to share in the spirit of daring, freedom and reinvention of our country, because I believe that this is fundamentally the role of artists, ”said Macron.

It comes as the city comes alive for the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe for a posthumous installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and the opening of several major exhibitions, including “The Morozov Collection. Icons of Modern Art ”at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

French President Emmanuel Macron, artist Daniel Buren and designer Ora Ito inaugurate the exhibition “Pavoisé: travail in situ” by artist Daniel Buren at the Elysée Palace in Paris.
Gonzalo Fuentes / Pool photo via AP

Entitled “Pavoisé”, a reference to the placing of banners and flags, Buren’s work is to be unveiled to the public during European Heritage Days on September 18 and 19, and will remain on display until at least February 2022.

The artist, who was introduced to Macron by designer Ora Ito, added a wall of mirrors at the back of the winter garden which, along with the adjoining ballroom and the Napoleon III room, was renovated in 2019 by the interior designer Isabelle Stanislas, under the direction of La Première Dame Brigitte Macron, to give it a more airy and contemporary look.

Multicolored panels, inspired by the French national flag, create a kaleidoscope of colorful light beams in the reception area. Buren left an empty space between each tricolor section in order to give a glimpse of the sky beyond the canopy.

“This is probably the first and the last time that I will use the colors of the French flag,” he said. “I was a little hesitant, because I don’t like playing with recognizable symbols too much, but I thought to myself that if I don’t do it here, I never will… This is the heart of the French Republic . “

Still, don’t count on him to feel too respectful to disrupt the halls of power. “I don’t care if I work in a bathroom or in a historic monument,” he said. “I am not cynical, but for me this place is the same as all the others that I have been invited to work.”

Among the guests were filmmaker Farida Khelfa, founder and editor-in-chief of Numero Babeth Djian, founder of Just an Idea Sarah Andelman, Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot and her predecessor Jack Lang, who gave the green light to the Columns. de Buren at the Palais-Royal in the 1980s.

The artist said he didn’t relish the controversy over his works. “I don’t intend to provoke that kind of reaction, especially when it’s very negative,” he said. But he doesn’t want to be considered an official artist either. “Every time someone uses this term, it has a negative connotation,” he noted.

The "Pavoisé" work of art by artist Daniel Buren at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

The work “Pavoisé” by artist Daniel Buren at the Palais de l’Élysée in Paris.
Stéphane Aboudaram / We Are Content (s) / Courtesy of the Elysée Palace

On the contrary, Buren wanted his works to blend into the landscape, to the point of becoming indistinguishable from their surroundings, as was the case with the installation of the Palais-Royal almost 40 years later.

“These works are not transferable anywhere else, so if they stay in place for a long time, they end up blending into the place. If they stay for a short time, they will have a more temporary effect, but in both cases, I think something interesting is going on between work and place, which become inseparable, ”he said. declared.

Buren said he hoped “Pavoisé” would stay in place indefinitely, although he was aware that next year’s presidential elections could usher in a new tenant. “I can imagine that if the president is not re-elected, there is a chance that the next one gets rid of him,” he said.


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