You are used to intervene within public spaces and cultural institutions: in which way the context of the department store is different?
Galeries Lafayette is a place where an enormous flow of people go through every day. To us, it is therefore similar to other highly frequented public spaces. But what is also interesting is that it is a historical building, constantly transforming: it has not remained as it was in the first place but it has known many transformations since its original construction. It has several layers of “things” (beyond the goods for sale) like furniture, ceiling elements, walls, signaletics, screens, stairs, elevators, different surfaces - so it is really charged and a lot of its architecture is undisclosed.
Your practice is fed with architectural and graphic elements present in the spaces that you invest. What are the elements of the department store or Galerie des Galeries which have inspired you in the conception of this installation ?
We work on two levels: on one side we created a geometric pattern that is very colorful and “screaming”. It’s based on an elliptic shape of the store's cupola– with several extending rings in black, white and grays combined with a bright yellow and a magenta pink.
The boldness of this pattern is opposed to the fact that it is somehow hidden: the pattern is concealed inside Beautiful Tube #6 - a tunnel sculpture, totally black on the outside and elevated from the floor. This work refers to the layout of the space of Galerie des Galeries and is accessible for the visitors to walk through. So it can be read as an attempt to compete with the density of the inside of Galeries Lafayette, with on the one side the hectic consumer world shouting for attention and on the other side a space which fulfill the desire to hide and seek silence and a rest in a hidden, protected place without any purpose…
What reactions do you expect from the visitors of the department store?
We never expect a certain reaction from visitors. But we do make assumptions on the basis that we are the visitors of our own installations. Being confronted with fragments of a pattern in the hustle and bustle of the department store, that we discover inside of a tunnel lined with soft carpet that will swallow every sound seem to be an experience we would like to have.
What we create is an in-between state, made of simultaneously a slightly claustrophobic narrow experience and a delightful and delirious feeling. We play with mixing soft and shiny color and a hard, black and bulky shape set into a white space.