It was in 1986 that the Colonnes de Buren were erected in the main courtyard of the Palais Royal. Situated opposite to the Louvre Museum, this sumptuous building was the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu in the early 17th century. Commissioned from the French artist Daniel Buren, the art installation formally known as the Deux Plateaux was originally regarded as highly controversial. Read on to discover everything you need to know about this incredible work!
An echo of ancient architecture
Daniel Buren wanted to design an urban space to enhance the courtyard of the Palais Royal. His installation, which covers an area of 3,000 m2, comprises 260 black and white striped classical-style octagonal columns of different heights, arranged in the form of a conceptual grid. Made of white Carrara marble and black Pyrenean marble, their straight-line symmetry and varying degrees of emergence from the ground give the impression that they are rising from the bowels of Paris.
A controversial project
Is it acceptable to impose a piece of modern art in the grounds of an old building? This was the question asked when this project was first announced by the culture minister of the day, Jack Lang, and it caused a general outcry in the political and artistic sphere of the time. Following on from the controversies regarding the Eiffel Tower in 1889, and in later years the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre Pyramid and the towers of Jean Nouvel, this new ‘whim’ that would, some said, disfigure a landmark, was not to everyone's taste. It sparked hundreds of articles in the newspapers, from petitions to a legal action that caused work to be suspended for a time on the orders of Jacques Chirac, then the mayor of Paris. After much litigation, Jack Lang’s successor François Léotard was obliged to have the work completed.
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