On the day I pass by to take photos though, I'm struck by the rather disquieting composition of the place. At first, all seems normal. Artists are at work, creating interesting, colourful pieces and the local children are running around as freely as usual. A desk has been set up in front of the wall - apparently you can add your name to a list in a book and get involved in future creations. Passers by all seem to have smiles on their faces as the sun at last brings warmth with light. To one side though, a tree showing the first signs of budding has two unwelcome intruders.
At first the sight is amusing. Trapped in a tangle of branches are a Velib bicycle and a green wheely bin. It is surprising. It makes passers by stop and I am not the only person to take photos, to search for the right angle to capture this unusual scene. When I stop to reflect though, it is a scene that makes me angry. On this space, the tree composition becomes a form of performance art, but just what message did the individuals involved want to pass on? The articles chosen are also heavy with significance, a Velib bicycle and a recycling bin are at the forefront of the attempts by the city of Paris to create a greener future, and trees are the lungs of the city. Combining the three is pure vandalism and an empty, nonsensical message.
On the wall, an artist is working on a representation of a tree. His tree has a face and is a living, breathing being, with leaves of pinks and yellows. It is a loving reproduction with seductive, swirling branches and flowers coming into bloom. The tree roots are bathed in a pool of water and a lush jungle is growing alongside. Are the artists aware of the anti-creation behind them? The only thing that is certain in the scene is that when the individuals made their creation (and it was surely more than one person - a Velib bicycle is very heavy!), nobody asked the tree if it wanted to be involved.
Visit the space with Google Street View!
View Larger Map