Tracy and I participated in the Au Panthéon Photo Project that is visiting 8 national monuments in France collecting portraits of visitors to later use as an art project of portraits covering the enormous scaffolding system that will be surrounding the Pantheon in Paris during its renovation this year. The Centre des Monuments Nationaux commissioned contemporary artist JR to create a participatory work inspired by his Inside Out projects, “encapsulating the humanistic and universal values embodied by the Pantheon.”
From March 5 to 29, The Inside Out project’s unique mobile photo booth is visiting the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis near Paris, home to the royal necropolis and its collection of 70 sculpted recumbent statues; the medieval city of la Cité de Carcassonne; Angers Castle, home of the Apocalypse tapestry, the largest known tapestry from the Middle Ages; the Carnac Megaliths near the Morbihan Gulf, the largest group of standing stones in the world, a key place in European prehistory; the three towers of La Rochelle, facing the Atlantic as some of the most important medieval maritime fortifications; the Palais du Tau in Reims, the royal and episcopal residence associated with the coronation of 32 French kings; the Savoye villa à Poissy and its modernist architecture by Le Corbusier; and returning to the Pantheon in Paris, the masterpiece of the architect Soufflot, located on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève. People unable to come to one of these locations may still participate by taking a photo at home and uploading it to http://www.au-pantheon.fr/en/.
According to the Au Panthéon website, “The portraits that best represent the diversity of the contemporary world will be used to create a mosaic that will be visible around the drum beneath the dome, and on certain places within the monument. The aim is to use all of the portraits in the final work. It will be inaugurated on Tuesday 22 April 2014.”
During our visit the mobile photo both produced poster-sized prints of our images like a giant Polaroid camera. We added out photos to the temporary mosaic of photos on the sidewalk outside the barbacane surrounding the Château in La Cite De Carcassonne. Although there was a lengthy line to participate in the free process, we had a great time visiting with an American expats family from Oregon currently living outside Aix-en-Provence, our upstairs apartment neighbor and her friend also visiting from Oregon, and a French women recently returned from Miami where she was working for an US company. Sami the MinPin enjoyed the attention from the crowd as well.
We were two of the 288 portraits taken during the day at Carcassonne. The link to the Au Panthéon photo gallery is located at http://www.au-pantheon.fr/en/portraits/carcassonne/.
Since we have plans to be in Paris in June, we are looking forward to seeing the finished art project and possibly even our own images displayed at the Pantheon.