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Paris la Defense

La Défense is not what  believe those who never go there. 

It is a City of Lights, in the plural, because all the reflections, the reverberations meet there in endless games that men had not foreseen when designing their cubes and their tubes. When I discovered, ten years ago, this "district" which had become the business capital of Europe in the third millennium, it was suddenly before my eyes, the year 2000 that I dreamed of when I was ten years old. . I had finally found the playground that had populated my dreams. This unthinkable meeting  in a toy town was magical. So I took great pleasure in it.

  That was not an order. I was not on a mission. Long after the release of my book on La Défense, I returned to my wonderland where light interferes everywhere, without any preconceived idea. Always, I went where my heart took me. Constantly, I listened to my eye. In complete freedom. 

And I understood that everyday life is fantastic.

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The La Defense esplanade



Cold and always disturbing. The aquarium of a Captain Nemo who has lost the keys to his labyrinth, like those of the fairs of yesteryear. Vertical strata of deceptively transparent glass. Very thick glasses, like steel plates which let the gaze through but block the winds, under the giant Arch which aggravates the Venturi effect. Planted in staggered rows, they filter the human, inevitably lost like this gray silhouette, since all the suits are anthracite or gray. A man who lost his shadow long ago.



A bundle of colored pencils. A rainbow beam. The Moretti  tower sinks into the blue sky criss-crossed by the trail of jet planes. An obelisk, which gives meaning, to everyone's taste. 

It reminds me of the game of my childhood, when we were consigned. They drew a fortified castle, lined with well-armed soldiers, between the merlons. It was attacked with pencils, thrown with a flick, which could miss their target. 

A game, since defense can also be a playground, a playground for those who haven't forgotten anything.

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A square lawn, between Mondrian and Malevitch. A green geometry of eternal spring. 

Since the year 2000, young trees have grown. So that, from this angle, the grass is definitely hidden, rendered in the shade, lost to view. It is also a Scottish tartan. A flag that no pole will raise. A buried sign. A moment of freedom in the land of glass and concrete, ephemeral.

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Five red pellets, authoritarian like five red lights, prohibition to pass, for those who would dare and would not understand? No, it is an optical protection to signal a dangerous glass barrier for the foreheads of distracted people. A man disappears in the distance, so he was able to enter. But will he get out? 

Fly under a bell…he knows the little chicane that opens the human trap. Signed Kafka



The apocalypse. The irradiated limbs of a giant body, a setting from Blade Runner. 

The buttresses of precious wood draw a perspective of the future,  the passages of the model city that we imagine in films or comics  Footbridges in a sort of patio, the wood already fossilized. Hot but disturbing.



A chessboard à la Giacometti or à la De Chirico. 

On the "Place des Steps" this funnel looks more like Father Ubu's phynance pump than a playful sculpture. Degree should be understood as the part of an angle, not as a step leading somewhere. 

A man enters the infernal machine, another comes out, but in what state, his shadow struck by the sun at its zenith, melts at his feet like soft wax. 

They are only four on the chessboard. The king, the queen, and two fools, of course...



The thinker of 2010 no longer takes his chin in his hand, with a dejected air, as with Rodin. Dressed, he wears the regulation three-piece suit, crushed by a facade whose blank squares invite graffiti like speech bubbles from comic strips. This little Sempé guy has lost his pretty little house and his bike with panniers.



How simple warehouses without malice or secrets become, through the play in abyss of reverberations, a hermetic defense system, a wall of blocks that prevents any passage. Only a bird was able to escape. Even the old-fashioned battlements, top and left, from heroic times, are enlarged.



Luminous signs in this implacable geometry? Not necessarily. These squared “bubbles” remind me of childhood dreams, when (fake) balloons forced open the door of my room, an implacable army disguising the toy. Mephistophelic balloons. Bulimic. Like the balloon in the soap opera The Prisoner.



Bright signs 



Bright signs 






View of the port of Rouen before the departure of the tall ships, old rigs? 

La Défense, port of all dreams. Halyards, shrouds, cap shrouds, the whole arsenal of the big three-masted boats that doubled Cap-Horn at the peril of the sea. , the only colored place in this universe of monochrome mist, two bottles at his feet. So alive.  

But as alone in his nightmare as Captain Ahab.



That evening, in the setting sun which always does things well, I saw a spaceship, immense; surely leaving for Mars, or even further. For a black hole that would tell us the story of the world. The concrete frames become powerful metal structures of the largest rocket in the world. The play of lights -for a few seconds- made this "Passage des Corolles" an annex of Cap Canaveral. 





Same color of aquarium, of viscous water, vaguely fluorescent, which delays. Same sector. Misleading impression since it is a merry troop of Italian tourists. The plays of light, which were not planned by the architects, but which give life to this city born from nothing, give them the air of artists in a shadow theatre. Commedia dell arte.



Mouth of truth. Entrance to hell. Chasm of chimeras. Even the men do not approach it. They avoid brushing past the crater black as hell. In truth, it's a skylight for a parking lot. The man gives the scale, but does not reassure.



Another childhood memory, the good loco, in the background, spits monstrous smoke while it is "Double Indeterminate Lines", by Venet. Magical encounter between a characterless building and a powerful sculpture, in an imaginary marshalling yard.



Sunset Fire Tower 



The antithesis of the Moretti tower full of colors and strength. An aggressive, disturbing shimmer, cells like computer spying eyes, blades like the jaws of saurians or sharks, or like the cutting bars of mowers that spare nothing. Your choice. 



Perfect optical effect. For the photographer placed on the glacis, who dominates the slow staircase under the Arch, all the men are on the same line, they therefore seem of different sizes since the depth is denied. Thus offering a skewer cut on the spot, as if some were 3 meters and the others less than a meter. An infeasible sample elsewhere

Above the heads of this zoo, the strange velum, a neo-cubist parachute, which is supposed to erase the vertigo effect: the top of the Ark is so far away that it is necessary to cut the perspective to make this infinite space habitable. .






people who flee

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“Luminous Trees” by Takis. This is true since the color illuminates in all weathers, and small lamps, at dusk, animate the heads of these puppets mounted on spirals. Or vaguely anthropomorphic corkscrews, high-voltage line insulators discarded by EDF and customized by pranksters? Army of springs, sequence cut in Mars Attack. Strip of steel cactus in the City desert. 

No laughing.



Defense. New capital of 21st century Europe, it is part of the growth of Paris: the Eiffel Tower is still present even if it is 8 km away! Paris la Défense, Tour Gan Eurocourtage, restructuring work on the CB31 tower (ex-AXA), the Montparnasse tower, the Eiffel tower, the Iris footbridge and the Iris tower.

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