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French Artist Buren Brings Color to Paris' Grand Palais for Special Monumenta Exhibit

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Published on May 9, 2012

Paris' Grand Palais was getting ready to showcase French artist Daniel Buren's work for the fifth Monumenta exhibition on Wednesday (May 9).

Each year Monumenta offers different artists the opportunity to create art, often a challenge, for the huge Grand Palais, which also has Europe's biggest glass roof.

Buren is the fifth artist to take on the challenge of creating a unique piece of art that must take into account the unusual dimensions of the Grand Palais' nave.

Buren has created works of art in several parts of the world, from Chicago to Milan and Paris' Palais Royal.

In 2007, Buren received the Praemium Imperiale, a prestigious Japanese arts prize, from the Emperor of Japan.

Known for his work on black and white stripes, colours, lights and reflection; Buren created a structure more horizontal than vertical, with black and white pillars holding circular roofs made of coloured transparent plastic.

The structure occupies the whole ground surface of the Grand Palais, but leaves the dome area entirely free.

Buren said he wanted the visitors to take possession of his work, an important notion in his career.

"If it (the artwork) is fluid and coherent enough, then I think that the public can have a kind of freedom, do what they want. They wander about; as it is very big they can discover by themselves all the different angles possible. There isn't one part better than the other, for me at least. One can say this is the best angle, but it is the point of view of the one saying it," he told Reuters Television.

Visitors wandered below the coloured roofs, but the main attraction of the structure was the mirrors installed by the artist right under the dome of the Grand Palais, the highest point of the museum.Buren's challenge in this exhibition was to make the Grand Palais seem more human to visitors, so they could have a different perspective of it.

"The roof (of the structure), which is very low, makes this monumental place much more friendly, at a human scale, which it isn't normally. And the open space below the dome, that I left entirely free, gives more visibility of the air surrounding us. In the rest of the structure, air is pushed lower, to the usual scale, height of a flat," he said.

The Monumenta exhibition featuring Daniel Buren's "Excentrique(s)" ("Eccentric(s)") will be open to the public from Thursday May 10 to June 21st.

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