Monday 27 April 2009

Accidental Art II

I have a strange confession to make. I've become obsessed with posts and drainpipes. The first one that caught my eye was simply an interesting composition, a striking mixture of colours and textures, but since then my eyes have been tuned to the possibilities of such objects. What has struck me is how essential they have become in the city, not just for the passage of water, but also as a means for people to communicate with each other.

The photo above is of a post opposite the Divan Du Monde nightclub and concert venue. Once more, it was the composition that first struck me. In a colourful city, here was something that had become almost accidentally monochrome. Although it is painted black and stood in front of a dark wall, even the stickers placed on the post have seen their colours absorbed into the sombre surroundings. Looking more closely, what I noticed next was how old these stickers were. Nowhere do we see the name of a group, but just ghostly figures of waving musicians who have perhaps long since argued and gone seperate ways. At the bottom, one date; December 2003. Six years of concerts have passed since the sticker was placed on the post, and whilst other groups and stickers have come and gone, this one has now almost merged into the post itself. Great songs and musicians become part of history. Others simply become torn traces scattered around the city.

Depending on where the post is situated, the messages seem to differ; some promote events, some offer services, and some simply to protest. Most of these messages are ephemeral and clearly readable, proposing something and offering a tear-off phone number for curious passers-by to call. What I have become most interested in though are the fragments, the parts that have stayed clinging to the post when somebody tried to remove the message. Above, once more the post wants to be part of the background, to be invisible against the sandstone wall behind, but here a single eye and a very insincere smile catch my attention. Could that be the President? Had it been a caricature with a smart message I probably wouldn't have been interested, but this rather creepy image seems to say so much more. He's watching us and has something planned that we probably won't like. And that makes him smile.


PeterParis said...

A very good and interesting idea you have had here; could certainly be explored for a long time! A lot to be found!

(Yes, it looks like Sarko!)

ventdamont said...

très interessant l'art de déchirure de l'affiche et de recréation aléatoire
en france jacques Villeglé est un
maitre de cet art
pour Charcot je ne sais rien de +
voir wikipédia -archives marine ect....

Squirrel said...

Adam, we're on the same wavelength--I've been taking snapshots of pipes (with stcickers and stencils) and the backs of signs (more stickers etc...) also a local church has crosses decorating it's drainpipes!! I thought that was a bit much-- kind of a waste of money, or do Episcopalians believe a cross on the drainpipe will prevent some bad drainpipe disaster???

Starman said...

This post reminds me of a picture I took last summer in Paris. I was so looking forward to this big band concert. Then I discovered that it was held a year or two earlier.

Cergie said...

Les bribes que l'on retrouve sont sujettes à interprétations ? Ce n'est pas pire que de reconstituer un squelette d'ancêtre africain à partit d'une dent.

Décembre 2003 ?
Les infos sur les affiches datent un peu ?
Les affiches de maintenant ce sont les sites ouverts à propos de manifestations. Comme je n'ai pas de mémoire des dates, je cherche celle que j'ai visitée de l'expo de la collection Phillips au Sénat, par exemple ; c'est comme si elle avait encore lieu jusqu'au 26 mars... de quelle année ?

Cergie said...

Adam, Alain m'a donné ce lien vers les "frigos", dont j'ai publié le château d'eau sur mon dernier message. Il me dit qu'il y aura "portes ouvertes" les 16 et 17 mai (et là je rajoute... 2009). Je ne serai pas là, tu pourrais y aller si cela t'intéresse.

Adam said...

Vendamont: Je connaissais pas Jacques Villeglé, mais je vois bien les similarités. J'aime bien ce qu'il fait, et regarderai de plus près ces oeuvres.

Squirrel: I hope to see these photos soon - the church one sounds great. I guess you can have possessed drainpipes.

Cergie: Merci pour le lien et les infos. J'irai voir!

Cergie said...

Alain est vraiment une mine, Adam. Voici un nouveau lien vers Villeglé sur son ancien site "Picpusse".
Hélas ! Alain a déménagé à Montpellier.

Ken Mac said...

really translates the information of the moment don't you think?

ArtSparker said...

Wonderful, of course it is these random details that fascinate me the most. The peering face is wonderful - it may have had spmething to do with economics, the print has the look of engraved paper money.

Colin Talcroft said...

Nice post. In case anyone's interested, I maintain a whole blog that collects this kind of accidental art. Truly, art is all around us. All that's required is to notice it.

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