Le Monde | • Updated | Interview
Read: in Grenoble, a city of art work judged hostile to the police stirs controversy
The stencil Goin shows police beating a woman symbolizing Marianne, ashore, with batons. This protest picture she has a place in a street art festival?
Yes. As a festival, we choose to invite that kind of artists committed to speak in public space. Goin is an activist stencil, which keeps abreast of politics, French and international. He did not do that for a living, prefer to remain anonymous, and is not represented in the gallery, although it has a small production studio. After all, Goin watch on his fresco making the headlines and JT fortnight. There are currently a few thousand people demonstrating and labor law that goes with 49.3, everybody understands when even what it is …
The controversy does would not be the same if the work had been carried out without authorization by the artist, as does a Banksy, rather than a framework partly funded by the city … does not touched by the border between register illegal graffiti and street art allowed?
Perhaps. But I remember that this festival is independent. The town hall comes with up to about 10%, or 25 000. And while no theme is given to artists, it turns out that this year, three Marianne appeared in works throughout the city. I can only note that the representation of the Republic and the evocation of citizenship are honored. I also think of panthéonisés resistant portraits that the artist C215 has made the Museum of the Resistance and Deportation, or the restoration of the fresco in 1979 by Ernest Pignon-Ernest at the Labour Exchange Grenoble evoking working conditions. Generally, artists want to speak on these issues in the street.
Are the works of the festival validated before being carried out by the artists?
Yes, the walls that belong to private owners. People want to see what will be painted. There is a prior exchange, and according to the sensitivity of the owners, it offers them the artists they appreciate aesthetics. It’s our job to find the right combinations between the walls and the artists, so they can speak with the least possible stress. This is how the best works are born, the farthest possible from a control system. In this case, for the work of Goin, it is a wall belonging to the town, as it is painted on the building of bicycle sharing system located outside the station.
Have you anticipated this controversy?
Not at all. There are three months, I guess the same image would not have had the same echo, it’s a combination of circumstances. This does also not an immediate reaction of the artist, as he actually created his stencil there six months. He showed it to me and we decided that he would paint the premiere in Grenoble. He just recently added the reference to 49.3 on the shield. Today, police are on edge, and some have taken the picture frontally, what is perfectly understood. The work appeared in the night of Thursday to Friday, a union representative in Grenoble SGP Police alerted the day the town hall, which warned us, and on Friday evening, the artist came to register the title of work on the wall, the state clubbing Liberty , to show that the police here represent the state, not police officers as individuals.
Do you fear censorship?
the city hall as the festival respect the choice of the artist. This is part of freedom of expression, and nobody wants to take the initiative to erase it officially not to fall in a controversy over censorship. One feels a tension because all the media calls us but there it happens nothing special. I had a peaceful discussion with municipal police who are absolutely not biased against this fresco. And it creates debate between people. I saw a lady who scandalized, having attacked other people, eventually pose for photos in front smiling. I think this case is blown up, and it would be a shame to reduce the festival to this controversy.
Is it a perennial work?
All the works of the festival are perennial, but it turns out that the building on which the mural was painted must be destroyed. We knew, but we thought he was still standing a year. But we learned along the way that it should be destroyed in a week. This should relieve the people’s work disturbs more. But otherwise, I’m pissed off for the other three artists who worked on this building …
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