Paris 22: The Spiral Staircase of 59 Rivoli

On my recent stay in Paris I visited 59 rue de Rivoli – a contemporary art gallery and studios unlike anything you might see in Paris. I took photos of the impressive six-story spiral staircase – la cage d’escalier – adorned with work from some of its resident artists. Just like the art on the facade of the building does, the staircase art changes periodically to reflect the creativity of the artists associated with this vibrant and special building.

History:

59 Rivoli’s history can be traced back to November 1999 when three artists – Kalex, Gaspard and Bruno (collectively called the KGB), along with other artists broke open the cemented-over door of the state-abandoned 59 rue de Rivoli in the centre of Paris, with the intention of turning the premises into a creative workplace for artists.

Once inside, the group took over as squatters and called themselves “Chez Robert, Electron Libre.” They opened the premises to the public, organising shows,  performances and concerts, while facing eviction orders from the French state scheduled for early as the following year. Intervention by the collective’s lawyer, Florence Diffre, earned them an eviction delay of six months, while the press became interested in the phenomenon of to “squart” – a contraction of ‘squat’ and ‘art’. The media interest was such that the French state didn’t pursue the eviction matter for several years, though, for the collective, the threat of eviction still hung over the rooftop of N°59 like a swirling cloud ready to unleash its storm. 

Image: Facade of 59 Rivoli in 2006

Then along came a political ally…  Bertrand Delanoë was the then candidate for the mayor of Paris, and during his campaign Delanoë visited the squat and fell in love with what the collective was doing, promising to legalise the premises if he were elected mayor. Following his electoral success, Delanoë kept to his word and made 59 rue de Rivoli a protected site for artists. Merci, monsieur le Mayor!

Today, the building and its collective is called 59 Rivoli and remains open to the public. It has 30 artist studios, exhibition and performance space, and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year, claiming its spot of one of the three most visited sites of contemporary art in Paris.

Information adapted from the official site: History and life of the place – 59 Rivoli

My photographs of the spectacular six-story spiral staircase, going down…

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Six Sentence Stories: A Love Like Iron

Art Window, Paris. Photo: TVTA.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Iron.

 

 

Editor’s note: the following is an extract from a larger work in progress, a ghost story, and features two characters making a circular journey. I chose this extract for the Six Sentence Story as it mentions the word ‘iron’ many times, and seemed the perfect fit.

A love like iron

Henry felt the impatient pull of the maze, a magnetism drawing them to the window, reducing them to ferromagnetic powders sent scurrying to the vibrating point of an impossible attraction in an impossible place.

Marling took his arm and led him along, shoulder to shoulder, their cheeks so close they might have easily turned their faces and kissed as two lovers.

And they walked like this for moments in silence, pulled towards the maze, the midday sun finding the iridescence of Marling’s feathers which poked from her crown; medicine woman, animal power.

And the sun’s rays did also cast luminosity upon Henry’s new silk eye patch; pirate-bold, buccaneer.

When finally they arrived at the centre of the maze, the window had already been flung open by their enemy; the relentless pursuer who was waiting for them on the other side.

They entered the world of iron butterflies, iron maidens, iron ladies, iron men, iron giants, iron fists, iron skies and iron ages of a paradise wrought to a refinement good enough for the Eiffel Tower and Paris balconies, where once they haunted these structures as ghosts – flitting through the fretworks without a care in the world, and yet to be burdened by a guilt forged in iron upon their bare shoulders.

Love locks, Paris. Photo: TVTA.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris. Photo: TVTA.


 

An interesting lot…

We certainly thought so. Presenting a mix of international advertising and graphic art, 1980 to 2017.


Greek telephone cards, 2000

Swift Wind, Princess Power, 1986

Disneyland Paris ticket, 2015

Black Sabbath autographs

Leaflet cover for Dali Exhibition Paris, 2017

1980s mailing sleeve, Netherlands. Featuring Master of the Universe, My Little Pony and Zoids

Groquik, Pif Gadget, France,1986

The universe of marbles, Pif Gadget, France, 1986

Unknown Japanese newspaper print ads

Warren Movie Magazines: Moonraker, The Lord of the Rings, Alien, Meteor, US, 1980

Homemade 3D Ghosts scan

TVTA Ghosts

Postcards from Stella

stellamarss.com

stellamarss.com


thanks for getting interesting with us 🙂

Thanks to Philip Ayres for identifying the Zoids toy in the mailing sleeve as the Spine-Back (AKA Gator in Japan).