Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Rivoli 59: Aftersquat

Little did I know when I first stumbled upon this place that Rivoli 59 was once one of the most visited tourist places (in fact I read somewhere that it was the fourth most visited- but considering what is in Paris I find that fact quite surprising and remain dubious). Having spent the last six months living in a kind of commune/verging on this kind of living, it was interesting seeing one that took its concept to the full. Rivoli 59 is situated in a typical Haussmannian Parisian building, but unlike any other I have ever seen. I was met with a rather colorful front door (that I secretly coveted and wanted for my own front door) and a rather eclectic interior. Needless to say I was intrigued and had to go have a look. 

Aforementioned front door and a communal piano,which on the way back someone was actually playing. 

This squat is one of many in Paris and houses dozens of artists who create and live in this unique space. Once it became too popular as an attraction, it was threatened with health and safety issues and closing, though thankfully it was saved by the mayor who then bought it to protect the livelihoods of the artists in question. 

 Nearly every surface imaginable has been marked with their presence, stairs, walls, doors, even the ceiling...

I spent some time talking to one artist in particularity, he was painting a portrait of a girl whilst I was there and I was intrigued by his method of using the floor as a palette for mixing his colors (below). Some of his art is also shown above left. (Above right): Another artist I was taken by was Charlotte Massip, however taking a photo of her work was difficult as all the large pieces were behind glass, but they were stunning. A mix between engravings, drawings and watercolors, with a hint of the Victorian and macabre and a huge dose of internal organs. Check her out here.

Sadly I did not take photos of all the rooms in the squat, some artists had rules against it, plus it gives you a reason to go check it out yourself...

There were about six floors in all, it felt like doing the reverse of falling down a rabbit hole, and was no less intriguing! Art squats are very popular in Paris and I have several more on my hit list to check out, along with everything else I want to do...

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