Art in Motion: Riding the Paris MetroAbrams Books
A rich history and moving look at the accessible, immersive art embedded in the Paris subway systemSubmarine wall decorations, a ceramic declaration of human rights, a stained-glass red hen, a mosaic mouth, an aedicule made of Murano glass. The Paris Métro, the city’s public subway network, has been exhibiting on its walls for over a century, through works imagined by French and foreign artists, punctuating and enhancing the underground travels of Parisians and tourists. Beginning in 1900, architect Hector Guimard was entrusted with creating the subway entrances. Through the style of Art Nouveau, his works embrace the notion of free art—accessible to all, moving, surprising, and ambitious.Today, the subway system still champions this approach of an immersive cultural experience and artistic openness as evidenced by the twenty or so creations selected for Art in Motion. With concise and well-researched texts, Anaël Pigeat introduces us to the artists and gives them a voice. She explains their creative process, pays tribute to the work of the many craftsmen and craftswomen and to the innovations found, and also highlights the numerous constraints entailed by the subway environment. With a contemporary perspective by photographer Philippe Garcia, the book captures the works in their environment, then moves closer to show us the material and the artistic gestures. Each creation carries its own story and its own relationship to the underground: Whether they offer a reinterpretation of existing works or take us down memory lane, lead us into a dream-like world or fit in the framework of an international exchange, these works shine on and imperceptibly change our travels.