When Street Art invites itself to Versailles; it is royally poetic!8 December 2020
When we think of Versailles, we think of Louis XIV, French gardens, we also think of its charming historic center and why not Sacha Guitry who recounted its history and that of its characters in the famous “If Versailles was told to me”.
To associate the term Street Art, so modern and urban, with the classic Versailles, could surprise many. This is what has just happened in the modern district of the City named Bernard de Jussieu, in homage to the famous botanist. A complete rehabilitation of the neighbourhood enhanced by 10 magnificently murals that are absolutely not hurting in the landscape.
Project #1096 “natural” Street Art in the heart of Versailles
A few steps away from the state-owned forest Les Fausses Reposes, this neighbourhood could resemble all the neighbourhoods that grew up in France in the 60s. Except that the City of Versailles decided to rehabilitate it in order to bring thermal comfort to the dwellings enclaved below the wood by integrating an artistic dimension to this second life. The theme imposed for these achievements was the relationship between man and nature. A theme in tribute to the botanist Bernard de Jussieu, but above all a theme that seems to stick so well to this Versailles which has a magnificent arboretum where nature lovers from all over the world meet.
Thus the colossal project named #1096 was born. While Eiffage Construction was carrying out the rehabilitation work, Quai 36 was carrying out an international artistic direction in order to have 10 giant frescoes created in one year, in a difficult period that you all know. A challenge won on all levels! Here are some of these works that caught my eye.
Jade Rivera directs “Flora”, an invitation to another world
The first time I saw a drawing by Jade Rivera was on a small rock facing the Gulf of Mexico on Holbox Island; the simple drawing of a sitting child certainly dreaming of a better future on the other side of the Gulf. It is thanks to this little sketch that I became interested in the work of this Peruvian artist around children, especially those in the Himalayas and his strong relationship with nature which is a recurring subject in his work. This magical fresco is an invitation… As if we were going to project ourselves into another world, an open book of botany, like an invitation to a new journey. Will we have to carry our flowers with us for fear of not having any more? Does the endangered bird hold the key to this new kingdom? Jade Rivera invites us, under a visual softness, to question ourselves about the future… To make our imagination play with codes that are hims. A promising journey.
“Curious Botanist” Waone‘s fresco: a giant tribute to Bernard de Jussieu
With this fresco in a neo-surrealistic, even phantasmagorical style, the Ukrainian artist Waone Interesni Kazki imagines the botanist Bernard de Jussieu in his work. With his writing he delicately reminds us that this botanist founded a method of plant classification based on the anatomical characteristics of the plant embryo. This is the first time I have seen a fresco by this artist and I was as if caught up in his universe and his style, which immediately reminds me of those found in Eastern European countries. I felt very small in front of this character who strangely made me think of the colossus with feet of clay. This fresco awakens a strange feeling of power and softness. Once again we enter a new world where multiple interpretations are allowed, if only to decipher this child with the head of a plant sitting on the ground! I never get tired of looking at it…
Telmo Miel brings to life in its own way “Martine in the forest”
I have already told you about the work of this duo that systematically makes his works quite enigmatic, well “Martine in the forest” is no exception. This reference to the series of French children’s books “Martine” was made with a lot of poetry. This work with 4 hands, on several superimposed layers, plays with our eye which is attracted by different points of reading at each glance. If this fresco hadn’t had a name, I would have been tempted to name it Alice in Wonderland… But this is impossible because it seems that Martine has become a mascot of Bernard de Jussieu’s neighbourhood.
An ascent towards nature with « Respire / Breathe» from Seth
I had this strange feeling during this walk that the Street Artists had decided to summon our children’s souls and the wonder we had felt in front of nature. Seth has the habit of sending our imagination back to that of childhood to sometimes question serious subjects… I saw his work as an escalation of the wall that encircles this district and gives access to an abundant state forest. The expression “climbing the wall” to go into nature came to my mind… Perhaps because of my lockdown in Paris who knows?
“Monument”: a flight symbol of freedom created by Eron
Eron is certainly the most internationally known Italian Street Artist. His works often come out of the frame, appear as shadows, angels or simply escape from their support. This figurative artist works his pictorial style to perfection! In this work the birds literally escape from the frame representing the cage or more simply from the hand of the man who tames them. A real questioning on the relationship we have with nature so magnificent when it is free and wild and so often deprived of freedom by our own hands.
“Violeta” from Aryz; a look above the neighbourhood
This work of Aryz stands out from the others by its pastel coloration and the so distant look of this young woman with a flower in her hand. His vision of the relationship that humans have with nature seems basic and yet the look of this woman is above all … or simply dreamy. The XXL works of this Spanish artist have the interesting thing that he doesn’t make them for people, but for them to really interact with the environment and the surrounding buildings. In a more down-to-earth reality, this young woman turns her eyes away from a soccer field located in front of the building and looks towards the horizon, far away from the neighbourhood where she is.
Street Art lovers, do you have to go to Versailles to admire the project #1096 carried out by Quai 36?
Very sincerely, and even if there are only 10 murals, this project is worth seeing because it is really different from others like the one on Boulevard Paris 13 for example. Very often the monumental works come to break the lines of architecture, deceive the eye or even fill your eyes with shimmering colors! Here all is only softness, the works are enveloping like a forest; the theme is certainly there for something. The Street Art in Versailles is worth to be known… And if you think that 10 frescoes is a little bit too much, know that you can also complete your walk by a small Invader hunt in the streets of this noble city!
To get there and locate the works, nothing could be simpler! All information is available on the Quai36 website.
To discover a little more of Jade Rivera‘s work, I give you an appointment at Holbox in Mexico, for that of Seth at Boulevard Paris 13 and to better understand the work of the duo Telmo Miel in Boulogne-sur-Mer where they created two magnificent frescoes.
On my side, I put my sneakers back on, and within a perimeter of 20 Km, I already left for a new Street Art adventure; less royal this time 😉
See you soon.