In an expression of our ultimate manifesto treasuring aesthetics as a way of life, Eva Léandre has united forces with the raw talent of artist Jack Servoz to take over the passage des Abbesses for our latest artistic project, creating a rebellious re-make of the Hollywood concept of a “walk of fame” in the context of Paris, Montmartre.
Driven by the idea to promote and share art and beautiful ideas, Léandre and Servoz have breathed new life into the previously somber and somewhat insignificant passage des Abbesses, transforming it completely to create an animated and alternative art scene, showcasing a live exhibition of portrays of major world artists. This spiritual tribute to the artistic geniuses of Rimbaud, Hemingway, Kafka, Mondrian, Nick Cave, Camille Claudel, Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, Janis Joplin and William Burroughs has rendered the passage both an ideological pantheon and a highly alive contemporary art scene.
In this interactive street art gallery, which changes every day as people tear down the posters and tag over or next to them, there’s this perpetual dialogue running between the spectators (who sometimes feel tempted to take a little artistic memento by trying to unglue the posters) and the artist Jack Servoz who tirelessly and selflessly patches them up, painting over the torn bits and changing the colors to enhance the expression of the portraits’ eyes or so. This has become a constant happening transforming this alley into a vibrant and convivial art scene.
Aspiring to liberate a traditional art exhibition and set its specimens free by permitting them to live their own lives, just like the birds, this artistic intervention transgresses walls and minds and breaks the chain between the artist and his interpreter, thus giving the “reader” the power of “unlimited interpretation”, in which every new pair of eyes adds their own layer of interpretation to the artwork and so changes it.
On his decision to represent these artists in particular, Jack states:
Certain great artists have left behind an indelible imprint in time. Yet in their time, they were seen as “fragile”, hyper sensitive, unstable, unpredictable, sometimes even schizophrenic. Like Antonin Artaud, an actor, a painter, a writer and perhaps our last great accursed poet “locked in the house of the dead” in the psychiatric hospital in Rodez. Or Camille Claudel, a genius sculptor, who – abandoned by all – wrote in her hospital bed in the South of France “Screaming out loud, I demand freedom!” Or else, Hemingway, the Nobel Prize winner who shot himself in the head after years of psychiatric treatment and electroshock…
For Servoz, it’s the artists “hors normes” that count – writers, painters, poets, musicians – the rebels, these cursed souls and turbulent spirits, prisoners of misconception separated by time, but united here and now by their radical, unruly and blazing ideas – in this meeting of the minds set in the unforeseen juncture of a 21st century passage in Montmartre.
Already featured as a highlighted stop-over in some of the hill’s guided visits, the newest metamorphosis of passage des Abbesses has started to lay the foundations of its reputation of Montmartre’s hottest artistic hub, with model Willy Cartier bringing it up in his social networks and “Le Figaro” using it as a backdrop for their cutting-edge fashion photo shoots.
As for the passage residents – those lucky few who are now on first-name terms with artistic majesties such as Antonin Artaud, Arthur Rimbaud and Camille Claudel – they have grown so attached to their new fellow passage dwellers, that they act as their fervent guardians and keepers who will scold any potential “poster thief” or vandal, thus ardently preventing the “extinction” of any Kafkas, Hemingways and Nick Caves inhabiting the passage.
“We know now that to dream is a biological necessity…” says William Burroughs in his opening quote in the upper end of the passage “I think that it is what make the artists – they dream for the others…”
A stroll in passage des Abbesses is just as much an invitation to dream, not for the others but for yourselves. Anyone tempted by getting lost in a crisp oneiric reverie for an indeterminate amount of time is welcome to visit.
Passage des Abbesses can be entered from 57, rue de Trois-Frères (just opposite our office) and 22, rue des Abbesses. Enjoy!