Le Mur pour la Paix: Art with a political message?
Paris is a feast for those interested in culture and the arts. After my post last week on Barbara Nicolosi’s chapter in For the Beauty of the Church, I’ve been thinking about Politics and art, and specifically Art which has a political aspect.
Le Mur pour la Paix, (the Wall for Peace) is on Champs de Mars, Paris (France) between the Ecole militaire and the Eiffel Tower. The Wall for Peace is a work conceived by French artist Clara Halter and spatially installed by the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Halter has other peace monuments in St. Petersburg (Russia) and Hiroshima (Japan); the Wall for Peace was dedicated on March 30, 2000. The work is described in the following way (Wall for Peace):
In 2000, Clara Halter took possession of a single word – PEACE – that she illustrated ad infinitum in every language and alphabet. This led to the creation, together with architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, of three peace monuments: first the Wall for Peace in Paris on the Champ de Mars; then the Peace Tower in Saint Petersburg for the town’s tercentenary celebration in 2003; and today, in 2005, the Gates of Peace to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
The word peace is written on the transparent panels and cylindrical poles in 49 languages. I visited the work on Friday, 6 August – a significant date in light of the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs by America on Japan. During my time reflecting on Halter’s work, I witnessed a further evolution of the word – the participation of those who share the vision of the monument who has installed not only their message for peace but who had become a physical embodiment of that political desire. Elsewhere in the description of the work I came upon the following:
The Wall for Peace is freely inspired by the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem. Visitors can put their messages of peace in the chinks of the Wall that are planned for this purpose.
It occurred to me that those who inserted themselves in Clare Halter’s work physically, using it as a space for reflection and education about the ramifications of the use of nuclear weapons. I wonder whether the way that this type of installation is viewed is altered because of its description as a monument?
Finally, I wanted to share with you my own artistic response to Halter’s work. I’ve called it “Peace?” This work is a way of reflecting on the political aspect of Halter’s work, the age of the gentleman in the foreground wearing a large peace symbol (a much more identifiably political symbol than the word “peace” which is Halter’s stimuli), and the clearly identifiable location of the monument. For me, this photo incorporates many of the ideas that I hoped to explore in this post:
Images: All images taken by the author