Hors catégorie / Published on March 3, 2021
FRESQUES À TOUTES FINS
Du Roadtrip français aux favelas de Rio…
From the days when they were merely decors in churches and palaces, murals have today acquired new uses and display new messages.
They improve the image of industrial sectors, of metropolises and of their outskirts.
As a tool for urban design, murals also act as a social catalyst, for Montreal’s downtown to the project streets of Philadelphia, from photography to paint…
Written by Juli Pisano for INT.design in February 2021 and inspired by an article previously written by Alain Hochereau and published in INTÉRIEURS 43, SUMMER 2008.
1 / JR, STREET ARTIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER, FRANCE, JR-ART.NET
Renowned New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda passed away at the age of 90. A few years earlier through the street artist JR, she had found a second youth and a true friend.
Together, they had embarked on a road trip through France in 2015, exchanging with citizens, of creating gigantic frescoes along the way and creating a very touching documentary, part of the official selection out of the contest at the Cannes Film Festival.
They were 55 years apart and formed a tender and joyful friendship that lasted until the death of the grand (anything-but-tall) lady!
Learn more about the JR’s photobooths project Inside / Out
In the documentary Faces, Places, when the young-minded Varda talks about her aging (she shot the movie at 88, when her eyesight was declining), it is from the collective angle of memory and how one leaves a trace. A documentary to savour and savour again, time and time again…
Her accomplice, the photographer JR, no longer needs an introduction. He is recognized and sought after worldwide for the sensitivity of his photographic monumental frescoes.
For the Rio Summer Olympics, JR took to the streets of the city with his giant black-and-white shots of athletes. Inordinate installations for a poetic and surprising project.
2 / MU, MONTRÉAL, CANADA. MUMTL.ORG
In 2007, Montrealers Elizabeth-Ann Doyle and Emmanuelle Hébert, aware of murals’ social impact, set up the non-profit organization MU. MU associates with various local players to initiate social catalysts.
Caixa-Lavallée High School, indoor walls, Montréal-Nord, Québec, Canada, 2019.
The organization’s 100th mural, inaugurated in 2017, ten years after foundation, has already become an emblem of the city. Unveiled on the day of the first anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s death, the mural created by artists El Mac and Gene Pendon and a team of 13 assistant artists pays tribute to the Montreal poet, in love with his city of Montréal.
Watch a short making-of documentary…here
3 / MURAL ARTS PROGRAM, PHILADELPHIA, UNITED-STATES. MURALARTS.ORG
The Mural Arts Program is the biggest program worldwide to organize and promote the production of urban murals. Since its creation in 1984, the walls of Philadelphia have been endowed with some thousands of mural paintings. The activity, which started as a minor component of a municipal plan to address illegal graffiti, was so successful that it quickly became an efficient tool to fight social exclusion. As such, 3,000 youths are trained every year, and the program helps improve the quality of life in some areas—in collaboration with educational programs and rehabilitation programs for prisoners, for example.
4 / FAVELA PAINTING, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL. FAVELAPAINTING.COM
In 2006 – 2007, journalist and producer Dre Urhahn and graphic designer Jeroen Koolhaas set up a mural project in a shanty neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. The mural painting showing a child flying a kite expands on the front of three favela houses. The youth involved not only developed their artistic talents, they were also offered a break from the prevalent world of drugs and violence while conveying a more positive image of the favela than is generally shown in the media. Fund raising and exhibitions have been organized to support the project, notably at Christie’s.
Boy with the Kite, Rio de Janeiro, Brésil, 2007.
Photos : Firmeza Foundation.
The initiators of Favela Painting have since “continued to create art in unexpected areas in collaboration with local residents” in Brazil and abroad.
The organization has grown and projects have piled on, from Philadelphie to Haiti, while concentrating on the birthplace of the self-sufficient project, operated some fifteen years later by the involved actors of the Vila Cruzeiro community and funded by the United Painting Foundation of Amsterdam.
Praça Cantao, Rio de Janeiro, Brésil, 2010.
5 / CITÉ CRÉATION, LYON, FRANCE. CITE-CREATION.COM
The workshop Cité Création changed the city of Lyon into one of the world capitals of mural painting by covering its walls with hundreds of frescos in the past 40 years. The largest one, Fresque des Canuts, is over one kilometre long! According to Cité Création, walls are “the inhabitants’ skin…” These trompe-l’oeil paintings do not only tell stories, they also improve the lifestyle of the inhabitants by embellishing their environment.
Improving the image of depressed neighbourhoods and enhancing the aesthetics of industrial constructions such as the Feyzin Refinery.
From Lyon to Marseille, from Shanghai to Québec City, Atelier Cité Création has been able to tell stories through brushstrokes on stone. To mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City, the group produced a monumental mural design in the heart of the old city.
During a visit by the President and CEO of the National Capital Commission of Quebec (Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec), in Lyon, struck by the urban and human similarity of the two cities, the idea of a monumental mural design in the image of Lyon’s frescoes, in line with the 400th anniversary of the birth of the city of Québec, matured.
They say an image is worth a thousand words… Discover their talent and work for each other in two minutes and thirty seconds of images times a thousand!