Monday, 19 March 2012

1 Bis Rue Chapon: the address that doesn't really exist

Between numbers 1 and 3 of the Rue Chapon in the 3rd arrondissement stands a door numbered 1 Bis. It looks much like any other door in the street, but there is one major difference - behind this door there is only a wall.

The door and associated decoration is in fact a creation by artists Julien Berthier and Simon Boudvin called Les spĂ©cialistes, and was originally placed on this wall early one Saturday morning in 2006. As no permission was asked for and none granted, the artists were surprised not only that it was still in place three years later, but also that the city authorities regularly kept it clean.  

The artists gave the address a professional plaque using their own initials. The door even had its own buzzer, but this no longer seems to be working.
Three more years have passed and it is still firmly fixed to the wall. It looks solid and reasonably clean, and appears perfectly at home here. The artists had chosen their spot carefully and designed the door and wall following typical architectural styles of the area, but it is nevertheless a surprise to find an unauthorised creation that has lasted for so long in a world of fussy officialdom. 

The door faces out towards the Rue du Temple, a historic passage into the city which is dominated today by Chinese wholesalers. People have learned to pay little attention to their surroundings in this district, but who would ask questions anyway about such a non-descript door and a plaque that seems to advertise yet another anonymous company?

The address may not be listed in any directory, or marked on a map, but it is an address that has found a place in the city today. The artists intended it to be a temporary installation, a representation of all the banal - yet potentially mysterious - doors and gateways that exist in our cities, but through its very inconspicuousness it has developed a strange life of its own.  

3 comments:

cocopuff1212 said...

I love it.

Philippa said...

How on earth do you find these odd little corners? It certainly is amazingly realistic, so I'm not surprised that the authorities contribute to the upkeep.

Bob Patterson said...

I think I stayed in an apartment at 1 BIS RUE CHAPON.

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