Wednesday 30 November 2011

Yola: le Circle Vicieux

Those who take the Line 2 of the Metro will surely have seen the monumental creation on an abandoned building between the stations of La Chapelle and Stalingrad, but the story behind the work is as interesting as the creation itself.

It is the work of a young artist called Yola (Jola Kudela), who is an atypical street artist for several reasons, and not only for the size of the creations. She's female and originally from Poland, although today she divides her time between London and Paris, and is a recognised compositing artist with credits including the special effects on one of the Harry Potter films!

She describes her work as 'photos mixed with graphic elements', but beyond the beauty of the piece, there is often a social element to her creations. This work, entitled 'le circle vicieux', is an update of a creation of the same name by Polish painter Jacek Malczewski, which dates back to the end of the 19th century. Malczewski was a symbolist who surrounded himself with his demons in the painting, but Yola instead chose to portray photos of people living in the community nearby.

The circle is an important theme in her work, and historically an important theme in Polish culture. She has linked this particular creation to the 'infernal circular dance' of people who have no nation, seeing in these faces the dreams, desires and frustrations of individuals who have come to Paris to find a a new life, or simply to survive.

The building has been empty for as long as I remember, and the work was first placed there to coincide with the Nuit Blanche event in October. Bringing life to abandoned spaces and linking them back to the community in which they are situated is also one of Yola's leitmotifs. "I don't want to vandalize" she said in a recent interview, "but to add something to a worn space".

She is also aware that her works are ephemeral, saying elegantly that "they are objects to live with the time, and they'll ultimately be destroyed by time".

Winter is beginning to fall on Paris now, and small corners of this creation are starting to peel away. Snow, frost and rain will probably remove the rest, if it is not bulldozers coming to pull down the building. From its ruins, something new will rise, completing the circle of city life.

More information on the artist can be found here:


Unknown said...

The work is truly stunning. I have to remember to pay attention to this building when I am back in Paris in January. Thank you for posting this!

PeterParis said...

Yes, of course I have seen it, but I never took the time, as you, to learn all this aobout it! It makes it even more fascinating!

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