A French street artist has been given carte blanche to show his work at the Château de Vincennes, on the edge of Paris.
It seems to me that this encounter between such an ancient site and contemporary art can work and I hope it will allow visitors to discover this place in a new light... it may not be an electric shock, but some sort of awakening, something new.
Entitled ‘Noir Eclair’ (‘Black Lightning’) it includes installations, graffiti, videos paintings, sculptures and photographs.
Christophe Aguirre Schwarz, better known under his artist’s name ‘ZEVS’, created some of the works especially for the exhibition.
“It seems to me that this encounter between such an ancient site and contemporary art can work and I hope it will allow visitors to discover this place in a new light… it may not be an electric shock, but some sort of awakening, something new,” says the artist.
In his work, he explores the notion of power – both political and economic – that the Château de Vincennes embodies. The clash of history and modern art has been met with mixed reactions by visitors.
“I understand where the artist is coming from, but I don’t think it’s appropriate here. It’s taking away from being able to immerse yourself in that history, and bringing you back to modern times,” said one visitor from Canada.
“I think contemporary art should have its place and leave a mark in people’s minds and in memory. And in castles, too – why not, I don’t find it shocking. Though I have to admit, I don’t really understand this, but that’s another issue,” said another visitor, Patricia Douelle from France.
The exhibition is an initiative by France’s National Monuments Centre, with hopes it will attract more visitors to the castle. ‘Noir Eclair’ by French graffiti artist Zeus runs at the Château de Vincennes until the end of January.