Pierre-Olivier Arnaud, Place du jour, September 29th, 2023 – September 29th, 2025, set of 24 paper posters, rue Braque, Arras/FR. 

Place du jour is a project by Pierre-Olivier Arnaud. It is part of a program launched by the CNAP in 2019 to commission temporary, reactivatable works for public spaces.

The artist presents a two-year billboard display on rue Braque, in Arras: each month a new image replaces the one from the previous month. This rotation on five panels features a total of 24 black-and-white photographs. Pierre-Olivier Arnaud works meticulously on his pictures, in particular their texture, and plays on the contrast with the simplicity and fragility of paper. His artistic approach is characterized by great spontaneity: he captures, immortalizes, and sublimates the objects he encounters on his travels.

This project was conceived in and for the urban space to propose a radical and democratic art form, accessible to the public outside institutional cultural spaces. At the end of the display cycles, a newspaper containing all these images will be printed and distributed to the city’s residents.

With Place du jour, Pierre-Olivier Arnaud invites us to reconsider the images we encounter in public spaces, often used for advertising or electoral purposes. By hijacking this tool of communication and influence, the artist transforms the poster into an artistic medium, exploring the aesthetic qualities that emerge from its fragility, ephemeral nature, and inevitable deterioration.


Michel Blazy, Bouquet Final, 2012, Collège des Bernardins. échafaudage, jardinières, liquide moussant / planters, foaming liquid.
Michel Blazy, Bouquet final. Nuit blanche 2012, Mairie du 4e arrondissement, Paris/FR. échafaudage, jardinières, liquide moussant / scaffolding, planters, foaming liquid.

On an industrial scaffolding structure, thick white foam swells and slowly escapes from plastic planters. The tubs are regularly supplied with foaming liquid. Michel Blazy chose a low-cost product that gives off a familiar scent of lavender in the exhibition space. Driven by invisible air pumps, the foam pours until it becomes too heavy and breaks up. Once on the ground, the foam gradually becomes liquid again. The work must be reactivated every morning.

Bouquet final was presented in 2012 at the Collège des Bernardins (Paris), a former 13th-century Cistercian teaching establishment listed as a historical monument. In the same year, visitors to the Parisian Nuit Blanche – with a program along the Seine – were able to discover this colossal installation in one of the reception rooms of the Mairie du 4ème arrondissement. Allegorizing the excesses of our consumer society, the cascades of foam also echo the opulence of these two venues. Bouquet final makes no secret of its ephemeral, prosaic nature, reminding us that all things are doomed to entropy.

Vues de l’installation / Installation views Ulla von Bradenburg, Death of a King, 2012, Agora, Palais de Tokyo, Paris/FR. Courtesy the Artist et Art : Concept, Paris. Photo André Morin

In 2012, the Palais de Tokyo reopened its doors after ten months of renovation. Its new configuration makes the Agora a “central space” dedicated to being the “crossroads between exhibitions and visitors”. With Death of a king, Ulla von Brandenburg inaugurates this space, ideally placed under a glass roof, and reveals its new function.

Visitors are invited to enter this monumental, colorful installation, which unfurls on a two-tiered platform, embracing the architectural features of the site. The playful pattern on the floor and walls evokes a harlequin costume, while the U-shaped ramp is reminiscent of a skatepark ramp. A reference to popular theater in the tradition of the Comedia dell Arte, Death of a King also echoes the improvised ramps used by skateboarders practicing on the steps in front of the Palais de Tokyo. The installation is a reminder that the skatepark is also a stage on which to perform under scrutiny. The Agora, transformed by Ulla von Brandenburg, becomes an intermediary space between fiction and reality, theater and life.

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Photo © Tom Cornille
Photo © Sigrid Spinnox
Entretien avec Ulla von Brandenburg. Extrait de Introfilm Experience Traps, 2018

“Because theatre is obviously a way of travelling with the mind, it is worth remembering that it was the sailors who, with their knowledge of machines, worked in theatres when they were on land. I would like to build a stage made of sails, halfway between a theatre and a boat, moored on a lawn far from the sea, where the backdrop would resemble the sails of a boat.”

—Ulla von Brandenburg

Responding to an invitation from the Middelheim Museum, Ulla von Brandenburg has designed a wooden theatre for the exhibition Experience trap (2018), freely inspired by the innovative ideas of the Baroque landscape.

Here, the traditional curtain is declined into seven pairs of drapes whose shades of blue underline the depth of the stage space. The latter hosts a performance referring to the book The States and Empires of Europe by Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) and interpreted by the actor Benoît Résillot. After the performance, visitors were able to go behind the scenes and activate the “sea machine”. Like the baroque garden, the theatre uses devices such as perspective and trompe-l’oeil to create illusions. Here, an ingenious theatrical device has been integrated into the stage structure to allow “the sea” to move. The use of simple materials, wooden boards and textiles, makes Ulla von Brandenburg’s work timeless, far from any historical copy or contemporary theatre technology.

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Jeremy Deller, Ask The Animals and they will Teach You, mixed media, 2021

Ask The Animals and They Will Teach You was installed in Knokke-Heist, on the Belgian coast, on the occasion of the Beaufort 21 contemporary art triennial.

This work, which is both a sculpture and a children play, invites children to slide on the tongue of a large chameleon. Placed in the centre of the Van Bunnenplein square, the animal stands on an engraved base on which a description of the species can be read. True to his sense of misappropriation, Jeremy Deller uses the codes of the monument to make it a playful object. Instead of paying tribute to a historical figure, he highlights one of the oldest creatures on the planet, threatened by global warming.

” “There’s something magical about chameleons,” says Deller, “they can do things we can only dream of and are the most beautiful creatures on the planet. We have to worship them.” “

– Jeremy Deller, beaufort21.be

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Jeremy Deller, The lovers, 2021, polyuréthane, fibre de verre, acier, polyester, peinture, balançoire. H 300cm.

In 2021, Kortrijk’s second contemporary art triennial invites artists to interpret the concept of paradise.

In the heart of Messeyne Park, a romantic garden designed in the 19th century, Jeremy Deller revisits one of the most famous scenes from the Bible, which has become an archetype in the collective Western imagination. His work is based in particular on a painting of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach (1526), currently on display at the Courtauld Gallery in London.

The imposing three-meter-high pair of white figures is the structure of a swing set available to the public. The artist offers a contemporary, funny, and functional version of this creation myth. He hijacks both the content of religious iconography and the solemnity usually associated with monuments in the public space.

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Jeremy Deller, Father and Son, November 6th, 2021, time-based sculptural installation, wax, wood, wick, flame, life-size, commissioned by ACCA, Saint Saviour’s Church of Exiles, Collingwood, Melbourne/AU.

Father and Son is a time-based installation by Jeremy Deller, commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). On November 6, 2021, a public vigil staged the 12-hour burning of the waxwork. The event was filmed and broadcast in real-time on the ACCA website. A miniature version of the candle sculpture was also on sale.

Father and Son illustrates the social dimension of Jeremy Deller’s artistic approach. The work is presented as an archetypal representation of the father figure accompanied by his male offspring. Yet the two men bear an uncanny resemblance to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, the heads of a long line of Australian media magnates. The artist tackles the question of inheritance and filiation and invites us to reflect on power dynamics through a generational and institutional prism.

The Bible is the main reference for the British artist, who specifically mentions verse 5:19 of the Gospel according to Saint John: “What the Father does, the Son does likewise”. The choice of venue – a desacralized church in Melbourne – underlines the subversive nature of Jeremy Deller’s thinking, for whom museums and churches are singular, interchangeable spaces where the boundaries between sacred and profane are blurred. A setting that inevitably refers to the patriarchal dynamics at work not only in the Christian Church but also in other spheres of our society: politics, the media, the workplace… 

The sculptural design of Father and Son reveals the influence of Spanish Baroque sculpture. A heritage that he adapts to ancient and contemporary codes, from the family portrait to the corporate picture, often used as a means of legitimization in the context of an entrepreneurial dynasty. This work, which burns and self-destructs, can be seen as a kind of politically engaged vanitas or memento mori.

Sacrilege, 2012, inflatable plastic structure, 30m diameter (6 elements), 12 fans, 1 generator, single edition. Presented on the occasion of the FIAC 2012, Paris/FR.

Jeremy Deller developed Sacrilege as a reproduction of the famous megalithic site, Stonehenge, located in the United-Kingdom. He chooses a subversive perspective, challenging the sacrality and the accessibility of religious, political and identity emblems. With this inflatable and playful version in contrast to the rigidity of the original stone, he confronts History and the idea of heritage, sacrificing the monument symbolically. A sacrifice allowing the exaltation of a mass creative potential, offering a collective artistic experience.

This sculpture is a participative artwork, accessible to all, reviving the landmark listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage selection. A renewed Stonehenge reconnecting with its first purpose, offering a space to share and build a community. Jeremy Deller reminds us the importance of investing spaces to give them new meanings and uses. Sacrilege was once displayed on the Invalides’ lawn, in Paris, during the FIAC 2012. The same year, the installation gave birth to an independent photographic series, titled “English Magic”.

English magic series, 2012, photographs, lambda prints laminated on dibond, 8-pieces polyptych, 40×50 each.

Those few photographs immortalize the pirouettes of young gymnasts within the inflatable megalithic temple. Through playfulness, the idea is to bring together two cultures, separated by several centuries.

Hubert Duprat, Sans titre, 2013, plaster, clay pots, 232 x 1800 x 15cm

In 2013, 30 years after the creation of the “Fonds Régionaux d’Art Contemporain”, the FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon asked the Henri Prades Museum to participate in a programme designed to highlight the regional collections. Adjacent to the archaeological site of Lattara, the museum aims to show the daily life of the city in ancient times

The museum then organised a contemporary art exhibition devoted to Hubert Duprat and asked him to imagine a work in dialogue with the archaeological collections. Hubert Duprat proposed an installation made up of a thousand industrial clay pots set into a 20-metre long plaster wall that divided the space dedicated to the permanent collections. The regular and almost hypnotic pattern thus produced provides a contemporary and poetic counterpoint to the ancient objects, particularly the amphorae that faces it.

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Hubert Duprat, 2009-2012. La Verrière, Bruxelles. Polystyrène, bois et galuchat.

Inaugurated in Brussels in 2000, La Verrière is part of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès international network of galleries. Invited to take over the space, Hubert Duprat installed an imposing polystyrene architecture adorned with rectangles of shagreen, a high-end leather used in leather goods. This white fortress, which occupies the space to the point of almost obstructing it, is astonishing in its scale as in the choice and use of materials. Polystyrene and shagreen have a similar grainy texture, but create a striking contrast in terms of density, appearance and symbolic value.

“This white structure takes us back to geometric modernism and the autonomous methods of early 20th-century art. But there’s a disturbing element, suggested by the title, which derives from the English word “shagreen”: ray or shark skin, whose rectangles seem to serve as staples to hold the white object together, and require traditional know-how and expertise, so that the work evokes the time lapse between the era of the handmade, the artisanal, and modern industry, or rather melts one into the other. “*

*Martin Herbert, « Une vision holiste », in TextWork, Fondation Ricard, July 2019