Tuesday 1 February 2011

Vive le sacrilege?

The Saint Germain de Charonne church on the Rue de Bagnolet is closed until further notice because of severe problems with its foundations. With the building no longer in use, the walls have become the surface for somebody looking to communicate a message.

The rather juvenile messages are seemingly the work of someone who is young and female, but they ask larger questions. Does the concept of sacrilege have any sense today, and are there any sacred surfaces left in our cities today?

With the church being closed and cordoned off to visitors it could be argued that the structure is little more than a construction site today. However, it remains a building that dates in parts from the 12th century, and one that is almost unique in Paris because of its adjoining cemetery. Relatively few people today in Paris would describe themselves as being religious, and even fewer ever go inside a church, but there is generally a respect for the city's history.

This is of course far from being anything that could be classed as artistic but we can ask whether there are walls in the city that can be written on and others that are more deserving of protection. Obviously these walls were chosen to increase the shock value, and the messages would have been quickly overlooked had they been splashed anywhere else, but from a judicial sense no difference would be made if the perpetrator were caught. Is this the right situation?


Christine H. said...

Very interesting. I have noticed that there seems to be some general code of ethics (occasionally ignored) among taggers, that they stay away from well maintained buildings and only tag those that are in disrepair.

PeterParis said...

As you may know, I'm a bit of a fan of street art, graffiti... but defintely no of tagging, especially if on buildings like churches...!

I hope the church will soon be restored!

Nathalie said...

« Les filles sages vont au ciel, les autres où elles veulent. »

Ute Ehrhardt

Voir le coup de gueule des "chiennes de garde" sur le thème des filles "gentilles" :


Est-il dans la nature des femmes d'être gentille ? Une vraie question qui poursuit la réflexion de Simone de Beauvoir : on ne nait pas femme, on le devient.

Kiki said...

I do agree, graffiti don't belong to churches. Our church is in the 11e arr. and about once to twice per MONTH we find graffiti on door or walls outside! It's sad but I guess it says something about people's minds... carelessness, the wish to anger (they don't; we find it just sad), being rebels? I don't know; the city of Paris is paying for the cleaning... so in the end it's every citizen who pays.

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