11.1.11

The fourth apple.

A new, somewhat astonishing, statue was inaugurated yesterday, close to Place de Clichy. It replaces a statue of Charles Fourier (1772-1837), which, in 1942 together with a multitude of other Paris statues disappeared during the Nazi occupation; the bronze was needed for other purposes.

Charles Fourier was what you may consider as a predecessor to socialism, utopian socialism, well before Marx, Engels… He was also the creator of the word “feminism” and defended the liberty of women. He claimed poverty to be the major cause of “disorder in society”, that work should be correctly paid and even those who could not work should receive a decent minimum. Every man, woman and child should be offered the chance to education. He proposed an – utopian - kind of society where workers of both sexes should be recompensed according to their contribution and where their work should be adapted to their interest and desires. This could take place in what he called “phalanstères”, grand “hotels” where people would live together in total and self-contained community. Some experiences were made in Europe and in the States, even after his death, but they did not survive as such. Some buildings are still there (e.g. at Guise, an hour’s drive north of Paris).

His ideas were perhaps utopian, but they are still referred to and several societies are there to defend them or at least keep them in memory.
Why an apple? Why what he called “the fourth apple”? Fourier was of course against the then beginning capitalism, the commercialism… He noted that an apple in Paris could cost 100 times more than where it was produced. He made this to a symbol. The three preceding symbolic apples were the one Adam gave to Eve, the “apple of discord” that was given to Venus / Aphrodite, and the apple that was supposed to have dropped on Newton’s head. (Without a plate explaining this and giving a brief story about Charles Fourier I guess unfortunately that most people passing by will wonder why this apple is here.)

So, instead of trying to remake the original statue, the Paris authorities decided to go for an apple. Created by Franck Scurti it was then placed on the original base (surrounded by coloured, transparent “windows”) and thus now officially inaugurated by the mayors of the 9th and 18th arrondissements. (It stands just on the border).
Charles Fourier is buried at the nearby Montmartre cemetery.

36 comments:

Olivier said...

c'est vraiment original, j'aime beaucoup. Cela me fait penser a une expo de pommes qui se trouvait dans tout NYC

Marie-Noyale said...

Et nous, notre Big Apple elle ne compte pas!!!
Si Paris nous vole nos pommes Rien ne va plus!!!
:~))

Mrs A said...

It looks a bit out of place - very modern, not sure i like this and not very french! but i did see Australia in your photo!

Studio at the Farm said...

Hello Peter'
What an interesting man was Fourier. I suppose I don't recall his name as I don't do a lot of reading on political subjects. The "Fourth Apple" as a name for the sculpture then makes perfect sense. Thank you again for an enlightening virtual visit!

caterpillar said...

That is indeed a very unique statue...but I like Mr.Fourier's ideas and symbolism.

V Rakesh said...

A very unique installation indeed! Here in India, price rise and the woes surrounding it can well be related to, in the thoughts of Charles Fourier.

Anonymous said...

Lovely statue, lovely post! Thank you so much. Maria O. Russell

Thérèse said...

Tres interessant ce Monsieur Fourier. Je n'en avais jamais entendu parler. Si je passe devant un jour au moins je saurai le pourquoi de la pomme grace a toi!

Catherine said...

I like the apple - and the story of its symbolism is very interesting - the reflective nature reminds me a bit of Kapoor;s Cloudgate sculpture in Chicago that everyone loves to interact with...

ALAIN said...

Ton petit cours d'économie politique me rajeunit. J'espère qu'il y a une explication sur le socle de la statue, sinon, bien des parisiens vont penser qu'il s'agit d'un hommage à Maurice Chevalier (Ma pomme, c'est moi...)

Ola said...

This apple is very interesting! I like it

Cezar and Léia said...

Perfect shot dear Peter!I love the beautiful reflections in that huge sphere!
Léia

Harriet said...

Your capture of the reflections in the top photo is magnifique.

SusuPetal said...

I like that apple, it looks smooth on the surface.

Synne said...

What a pretty and poetic sculpture! I'll make sure I get to see it the next time I'm in town!

Adam said...

I'm quite sad to see the previous installation go, but I guess it was closed all of the time. I think the green box at the base looks very odd.

I'm glad to see though that you are always present at these unveilings. Good work!

Flartus said...

It is the historical backgrounds such as this that make your blog such an interesting view of Paris. How many times have I passed statues and monuments and wondered what the concept was about? Once again, thank you for filling us in!

SCATTI said...

Parigi offre sempre belle sorprese.
Grazie Peter per quello che fai per la tua splendida città.
Mauro

Peter (the other) said...

An example of why I still think blogging posts are one of the finer communication ideas of this technological age (and certainly compared to Fessebook). You present a bonbon sized history with all the little possible diversions included (with photos). Lovely work!

Carla said...

Hi Peter, Great to meet you today.. It was a pleasure to chat and here about your thoughts on photography.. Love your blog .Carla

Maddalena said...

Intersesting story and a great choice, an apple, and so beautifully made. Thank you also for letting me notice what a pretty date today we have! Better later... as they say.

Scheherazade said...

The apple seems like an odd choice, but if it stops people and makes them wonder, perhaps it is the right choice.

Starman said...

I know I've seen the first picture somewhere. I just can't remember where.

BLOGitse said...

Thanks for sharing this great post.
Peace! with an apple or without...

joanny said...

Peter:

"Si vos sciences dictées par la sagesse n'ont servi qu'à perpétuer l'indigence et les déchirements, donnez-nous plutôt des sciences dictées par la folie, pourvu qu'elles calment les fureurs, qu'elles soulagent les misères des peuples."

A beautiful apple sculpture.... and a man worth mentioning in history, he planted the seed, may his ideas took root ---- that is one fantastic cemetery.

joanny

Anai Le said...

"Apple pie" para cada hombre, mujer y niño de este mundo!!

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

claude said...

Pourquoi pas une pomme mapemonde, mais alors le socle....Bouh !!!

Louise said...

Such a fascinating post, thanks so much Peter

Jack said...

I'm pretty much a traditionalist, Peter, so ordinarily I might be tempted to lament the loss of the old statue and its replacement with the modern one. But, as you say, the old one was destroyed 70 years ago. The new one has a thematic link and is a pretty sensitive successor (not a replacement). As with the glass pyramid at the Lovre, we might need to look at it again and again before loving it.

Your extended posts are so educational. Keep it up.

Delphinium said...

je viens de tomber dans les pommes. :-(

Trotter said...

The idea of having an apple for Fourier is quite amazing!! I wonder what they will do for Proudhon, Lassale...

PS: Too busy?

Olga said...

This post is really wonderful. I feel like I was there :)

lasiate said...

qui a commencé de la pomme ou du pépin. tu donne sla solution?
Vive la Tunisie libérée

Virginia said...

Good. Now I can do my post on this apple! :) And we all know what the Fifth Apple is don't we!!

ParisBreakfasts said...

Well I wished they'd replaced the original statue...
Some things shouldn't change IMHO

catherine said...

merci j'ignorais tout de cette 4° pomme (on dirait un titre de roman)
Bonne année Peter !