An Abandoned Building in Paris, the Best Urban Art Gallery
The Tour Paris 13 was an admirable creative project that pitted the irreverence of urban art against the formalities of city life.
Urban art is by nature reactionary. It emerges where everything appears to be well ordered. It disturbs planning and introduces an unexpected variable into the flow of normality. And which is why one of its natural ambits is the margins of public space, free of constraints of urban control and which pass unnoticed in our daily lives because they have ceased to be useful and functional: walls, constructions in ruins, bus shelters and billboards that nobody looks at anymore.
This was the case with the Tour Paris 13 project, an initiative of the Galerie Itinerrance in the Habitat de la Sablière, a building about to be demolished close to Quai d’Austerlitz that was taken over by 80 urban artists from various parts of the world and who contributed with their own style and taste.
The most diverse colors, typefaces, stencil forms and fantastical creations decorated the interiors and exterior of the building: 13,500 square feet of urban art that was on show for one month, in October. According to accounts by some of the participants it was a noteworthy experience of creative adrenaline, a kind of ruined canvas but at the same time a living one that offered itself to their artistic purposes. The project was recorded in a documentary that can be seen here.
There is another quality to urban art that makes it go against the grain: its transience. As in Tour Paris 13, the works are created to disappear, to be erased, to be covered in a coat of paint or to be demolished, Paradoxically, oblivion is not always its fate, and in that tension between memory and disappearance it also finds its strength.
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