The art trail in the Défense district
Parcours Artistique art trail de Paris La Defense
The art trail in the Défense district of Paris is an ever-growing open-air museum of modern sculpture and an incredible world of imagination.
Idea and implementation
The first steps towards its creation were taken by Jean Milie in 2007. Active assistance to him in creating an open-air exhibition was provided by art historians and his successors Germain Witte and Michel Maurice. Since that time, with the active support of the State Administration of Institutions of the Défense (Defacto) District, the Pompidou Center and the National Museum of Modern Art, by 2017, about 80 works of modern art appeared in the business districts, the authorship of which belongs to 59 sculptors from 14 countries.
Yaakov Gibshtein (Israel), Paul Belmondo, André Barellier, Patrick Blanc (all from France), Alexander Calder (USA), Anthony Caro (Great Britain), Apel Les Fomosa (Spain) and many other masters of sculpture contributed to the formation of a unique collection. .
Works of surrealism, abstraction, new realism, kinetic and conceptual art have found their place among the skyscrapers of La Defense. With the exception of Louis-Ernest Barrios’ La Defense of Paris statue, the rest of the art on the Trail was created after 1960.
Most of the works of sculptors of the XX-XXI centuries. placed on the streets, alleys and squares of Defense. Only a small number of them are located under the roof of the Quatre Temps shopping center and in the spacious lobby of the RER station.
Contemporary art on the Art Trail is represented mainly by sculptures, although there are several fountains among its exhibits. The author’s vision of art was also reflected in the appearance of the ramps, ventilation pipes of the metro and the staircases of the district.
Strange and expressive world
A leisurely walk along the Défense Art Trail is like traveling through an unknown universe, so fantastic is the look of the awe-inspiring, now hopeful works of modern art presented here.
On the facade of the shopping center Les Quatre Temps, Patrick Blanc in 2006 recreated a real jungle on a vertical surface. His “Green Wall” (Mur Végétal) consists of a mosaic of herbs and flowers that form a natural tapestry, reminiscent of the wilds of tropical forests.
The “Red Spider” (Araignée rouge) by the American sculptor Alexander Calder is perceived as one of the inhabitants of these forests. Installed in 1976 in Défense, the 15-meter creation, weighing 75 tons, made of red-painted steel, makes an intimidating impression and inspires a sense of defenselessness.
The ruthlessness of time emanates from the composition “After Olympia” by Anthony Caro, consisting of a series of rusted elements.
Its creation was inspired by the sculptor’s visit to Greece. the composition represents the author’s interpretation of the pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The weight of a colossal structure 20 meters long is almost 20 tons.
The work of the South Korean sculptor Lim Dong Lak “Point Croissance” was created by him in 1999 as part of the “Totems of Poetry” series. The author came up with a composition that contains the confrontation of wildlife with the cold brilliance of modern technology. Placed in an environment of ultra-modern architecture of skyscrapers, the Point of Growth produces a contradictory and indelible impression of the hostility of the modern world to nature and its all-conquering power.
The sculptural composition made of polished steel and bronze represents a split apple and a twisted shoot of an apple tree sprouting from it. The crooked trunk of a young tree symbolizes the difficulties of moving towards the goal and the lack of easy ways to it. The few leaves that complete the sculpture instill optimism in the tourist, demonstrating the possibility of achieving success in any situation.