I attended a surprising use of a road roller for producing art. It happened mid-May in the Paris suburb “Les Lilas”. The happening was organised by a local artist association, “Lil’art”.
First maybe a few words about “Les Lilas”. This commune, just outside the Paris eastern border owes its name to the lilacs which used to grow on the hills here. We find the lilacs on the city emblem. The area used to be known for a number of “guinguettes” where people came for drinking, eating, dancing.
This creates also a link to an author, Paul de Kock (1793-1871), very popular during the 19th century and who owned land here and created an open area theatre, more or less on the land where the road roller art happening took place. Paul de Kock was pictured by the caricaturist André Gil (1840-1885), also known for the rabbit and the Montmartre cabaret “Lapin Agile” (see previous posts here and here). Paul de Kock’s bust can be found in the open area, garden, where later a beautiful village hall was created. (André Gils’ bust can be found in a little street, bearing his name, at Montmartre.)
The village hall from 1905 with some beautiful ceiling decoration has now been transformed to a theatre, “Théatre de Garde-Chasse”. The seats are retractable, meaning that the place is also used for exhibitions. This was the case the day I visited.
Reverting to the road roller: The event was referred to as “Rouleau de printemps” (spring roll). I believe that these pictures are self-explanatory.
The motive we can see is of the close-by telecommunication tower.
The tower is referred to as the “Tour des Lilas” and is situated on what used to be the “Fort de Romainville”, built around 1830 and during WWII transformed to a Nazi prison, where some 7500 resistants and hostages were interned before being deported.
This tower was also a leading theme for the art which was exposed at the “Theatre de Garde-Chasse”.
The art exhibition had also temporarily taken over the nearby covered market, normally a place to buy your food.