the discovery of seven works of art of the metro

Freezing cold is haunting the business district of Courrouze in Saint-Jacques-de-Lande (Ile-et-Vilaine), southwest of Rennes. A few passers-by gather under the bus stops, near the relay stop and the new subway line stop. A man climbs alone to the bottom of a gray concrete building.

E-cigarette in hand, he gazes at a sculpture of four steel modules in bright colors in a cloud of white vapor. “I am always interested in another vision of the world, look at this bus driver. There are people who live and move here. Fortunately, there are works of art. »

Title Is it round?This work by English artist Philip King is one of seven artworks selected by Rennes Métropole for the opening of the new B metro line in September 2022. Two million artistic commission on a construction site of 1.3 billion euros.

“This is a proactive policy that is not mandatory for transport infrastructure, but does not fall into the framework of the cultural 1%, which is in the old tradition of the city run in the 1980s” explains Antoine Chaudet, project manager of visual arts for the community.

Minimum communication to maintain intelligence

The latter six have avoided any major communications operations around the works (the seventh will be installed in 2023). That’s why residents discover them when they travel. At Gares station, here Morvarc’h, Jean-Marie Appriu’s two-headed horse. Installed in front of the SNCF station in June 2021, it is the legendary Mount Gradlon, king of Brittany, who has the gift of walking on water.

Florence, 65, takes a picture of him with her phone to show her family. “This horse is tired, he needs a moment’s rest after a long journey. VSnot reallyinvitation to travel! », she shouts. He asks the price. The jobs cost an average of 300,000 euros each, including research and development. He sighs: “300,000 euros! It’s too much! “.

The cold cuts the conversation short. Return to the automatic train. The following works were installed in the tunnel between Sainte-Germain and Sainte-Anne stations. Three one- to ten-meter LED screens show video images of animals in motion. The images are fleeting: the train is traveling at a speed of 90 km/h.

“The artist, Charles de Meaux, reinterprets the parietal art of the caves”, Antoine Chaudet comments. He warned the cross, 29-year-old Sophie begins to peer into the darkness. A fawn appears. “Is it over? she asks. It’s nice, but it goes fast. I will tell my colleagues about it! »

“It changes, I really like it”

At Sainte-Anne station, Brazilian artist Camila Oliveira Fairclough created a two-part work. A red and blue fresco near the platforms and a concrete heart of the same color at the entrance. he called Appointment, which refers to a building on the Place Sainte-Anne that was demolished during the construction of the metro and which advertises the Dubonnet aperitif. A famous monument in Rennes.

“It’s original, it changes, I really like it”, A 17-year-old high school student slides Nihad in front of the wall. The cat and thunder are reminiscent of the graphic style of Cassander, the creator of the slogan “Duo, Dubon, Dubonnet”. Richard Leroux, a German teacher at Chateaubriand high school, discovers that the red pillar he passes every day is actually two colors and in the shape of a heart. “Great idea, adds. There is a need for art and culture in the public space. »

On the other hand, he saw the creation of Valentin Carro, at the entrance of the Joliot-Curie station: the Swiss visual artist freely reworked the design of the fence. The wavering line evokes the sinuous lines of literary manuscripts. None of the dozens of students I met seemed to care. “I didn’t even notice 19-year-old Myrtil is in the second year of veterinary training. True, it brings a little color to the front of the high school, it is not very appetizing. »

“Let your imagination run wild”

At the end of the line, northeast of the city, there is the Cesson-Viasilva station. In the offices under construction, opposite the subway air terminal, stands a giant statue. Swiss visual artist Ugo Rondinone chose to present the human figure in its most archaic form: head, bust, two legs. Roughly cut bluestone blocks contrast with the modernity of the surrounding buildings.

“A bit like Mr Potato Head”, says 36-year-old Emilie, manager of the nearest restaurant. With an orange scarf on his shoulders, Guillaume Lebastard, 49, spreads cement on the pavement. “I was only here today, but I saw him. I don’t hate him he says. I take a few pictures, I will come back with my camera and shoot in black and white. It’s raw, of course, but you have to let your imagination run wild. See: Sunlight makes the nose stand out. »

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