Knocking out the world of the construction site? Nothing is less certain, if we are to believe the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, which is organizing until March 11, 2019 an exhibition not on the site itself, but on its representations, whether made by artists, political organizations, architects or workers. Enough to change your opinion on this world of noise, tools and rubble ...

If the word "construction site" only evokes the din of a jackhammer, truck in the middle of the street, dust and other inconveniences, go quickly to the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine (16e) to discover the exhibition The Art of Building Site, build and demolish 16the 21century. Imagined by the curators Valérie Nègre and Marie-Hélène Contal, this event which does not have the ambition to tell what is - or was - a construction site, but to explore the ways in which it could be represented by the artists like by companies or even craftsmen, will undoubtedly modify your perception of this so unique universe ...

If the ultra-rich corpus of 433 works presented within the walls of the Cité Chaillot is worth the detour, it is for several reasons. The first, and not the least, is to remember that this very special moment in the life of a project is a source of inspiration for artists. Perceived as a " Street show ", it fascinates as much as it exasperates, being the subject of portraits sometimes laudatory, sometimes critical. But more interesting still, the exhibition reveals above all how the representation of the construction site - and by extension the communication that surrounds it - is a matter of power. Promotion of the know-how of craftsmen; show of force for a company aiming to demonstrate its ability to build a tower of several dozen floors in record time; social demands tool for workers; object of propaganda instrumentalized by certain parties; media intended to promote - if not to gain acceptance - a regional planning policy ... There are many examples presented demonstrating to what extent the site represents, for those who draw the picture, an effective means of defending their about.

Beyond this meta-political dimension, the event is also an opportunity for the visitor to discover some unknown aspects of the site so often " forbidden to the public " : to understand that it is for engineers and companies a place of experimentation, for budding architects a moment of learning, and, for certain unannounced visitors - children, wanderers, prostitutes, etc. - a meeting point! Although appreciable, this little extra is also the little minus of the exhibition, giving the impression that it loses sight of its own subject, sliding from the representation of the construction site to its reality. But this inconvenience remains minimal ... So do not hesitate any longer, put on your boots, your helmet and go to the City of Architecture and Heritage to discover The Art of Building Site!

To learn more, visit the site of the City of Architecture and Heritage 

Photography and illustrations:

1) Eugène de Salignac, Painters hanging on the Brooklyn Bridge cables, 7-10-1914
© New York City Municipal Archives
2) Knickerbocker Photo Service, The Empire State Building Under Construction, 1930
© Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
3) Alphonse Terpereau, The viaduct of Gabarit, state of work on 6 april 1884 7
© Musée d'Orsay, Dist. RMN-GP Alexis Brandt
4) John Soane Office, View of the Chelsea Royal Hospital Infirmary Room Under Construction, 1809
© Sir John Soane's MuseumPh. Geremy Butler
5) Fernand Léger, Aloe Constructors, 1951. Tapestry woven by Pinton Frères workshops
© RMN-GP (F. Léger Museum) -G.Blot - Adagp, Paris, 2018
6) Henri Rivière, plumber worker on the tower. Thirty-six views of the Eiffel Tower, between 1888 and 1902
© RMN-GP (Orsay Museum) -RG Ojéda - Adagp, Paris, 2018
7) Lewis Wickes Hine, Icarus, at the top of the Empire State, 1931
© The New York Public Library
8) B. Descamps, Badauds looking through the hole of a palisade of the construction site of the Forum des Halles, in front of the fountain of Innocents, 1979
© BHVP-Parisienne de Photo
9) Michel Delaporte, Replatrage in the moral, political and literary caricature
10) Achille Beltrame, Mussolini launches the Via dei Fori project
11) You are unionized. Why are not you a cooperator, to 1935
12) Supporting a cement slab-mushroom
© Felix Candela architectural records and papers, 1950-1984, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
13) Alain Bublex, Plug-in City, Monumental experience, 2003 © C. Pompidou MNAM-CCI Dist. NMR-GP
© Adagp, Paris, 2018
14) "In thanks to Notre-Dame-de-Laghet. 17.12.26 Menardo Geoffroy ", 1927
15) "Ex voto. Ma. Sig. Staudo dentro nel cortile successo he 18 aprile venerdi santo 1851. Paolo Tibaud. Malero Modesto. Fortune Viegi ", 1851

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