The Clos du Chêne: a French shopping centre dressed up by urban artists!14 May 2022
The Clos du Chêne, nearby Paris, is for me a UFO… I went there because obviously to be able to discover works of Andréa Ravo-Mattoni, Doudou Style, Braga Last1,… that I didn’t know was ultra tempting. However, finding myself in a temple of consumption to see “street art” was a bit disturbing. There is something rather antinomic about all this. And I’m not going to hide from you that the extremely smooth or corrugated metal support doesn’t give the works the same depth as when they are done on a decrepit wall. I find graffiti, urban walls,… a rather warm experience, but I found the atmosphere of the place rather cold.
And even if some artists tried to play with the morphology and the architecture of the place, many of them simply made a “beautiful work”. As I am talking about my own feelings and that they are not universal 😉 I have decided to share this experience with you so that you can make your own opinion with the help of my most beautiful photos.
Urban artists to revitalise the Clos du Chêne
As you can imagine, the primary aim was not to be a cultural patron! The Clos du Chêne needed to revitalize its attendance… But instead of making animations as we have seen for years in shopping centres, they chose urban art! A good point for them. It was in 2019 that everything began and this adventure, imagined by the Frey group, benefited from a renowned sponsor who is none other than the artist Speedy Graphito, inventor of the famous character “Lapinture”.
From 2019 to 2021, more than 30 works has been created on the open walls of the Clos du Chêne. It is thus an astonishing open-air museum that is offered to the 10 million visitors who pass through this shopping center each year!
Far from the essence of street art; an amazing cultural offer
Even if the place didn’t give me the thrill I usually get when I discover a new spot, it still had the merit of making me question myself! I put myself in the shoes of the regulars of this shopping centre. Instead of wandering through grey facades, they are now accompanied by Gérard Mosko‘s panthers and Doudou Style‘s pandas.
Vinie Graffiti‘s pin-ups rest on a few entrances and bay windows and Akhine has delivered a magnificent portrait gallery.
The “junk food” break – meaning hamburger – becomes more playful with Chanoir and the table football break becomes ultra-coloured thanks to the Kashink characters.
Even more astonishing is the presence of works by Andrea Ravo-Mattoni, who has mistaken the ceilings of the corridors for the Sistine Chapel!
Putting myself in the shoes of a customer, I find this oddity interesting, it manages to make a place that one would like to avoid playful. This gallery of works that I can’t call Street Art shows a pretty good palette of the diversity that Urban Art offers today all over the world. You see, I’m not that strict!
Should you go to the Clos du Chêne?
You shouldn’t exaggerate either 😉 In fact, if you live in the Val-de-Marne, I advise you to go and have a look! But be careful, it’s nicer during the week and I recommend you to arrive before the car park is full, that is to say before the opening of the many shops! Le Clos du Chêne being extremely well organised, you can find all the necessary information on their website to locate the works! I was so doubtful when I arrived that I missed the Facebook live feed, so if you want to get a better idea of what the place looks like, I made a little video posted on YouTube 😉
I leave you with this one and as I prefer to wear out the soles of my trainers in Aubervilliers, Bayonne, Mexico City or even Brooklyn, I’m going to start looking for new spots to present to you.
See you soon for new Street Art adventures