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Carmen Mariscal : Chez Nous

On March 12, Mexican artist Carmen Marisca installed her work “Chez Nous” at the Place du Palais-Royal in Paris (1st arrondissement). How could she predict that, five days later, the whole of France would also be condemned to stay "at home"? Back on a premonitory work whose meaning has evolved over time.

Erected in public space, a three-meter-high house gives a second life to the gates of the Archbishop's Bridge, known for hosting the engraved padlocks of loving tourists. A poetic work that initially invited reflection on the links between love and home. Today camping in the deserted landscape of the capital, the monumental installation takes on a whole new meaning and becomes, despite itself, the symbol of a new national confinement.

Thought six years ago to take place in the heart of Paris and be admired by the crowd of people who flock there, "Chez Nous" actually lives at a completely different pace. That of a slower capital, but also more contemplative. Point of tourists quickly crossing the house on the way to the Louvre, but Parisians happy with their daily walk and delighted to be able to reflect for a moment on the work of the Mexican visual artist.

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But if the fictitious home has become one of the symbols of confinement, its primary message unfortunately remains valid. "When they announced confinement, I said to myself that it was going to be even more catastrophic for all these women and children who are locked up with their executioners" says the artist. Because if staying at home seems like a welcome break for many of us, not being able to escape from a violent environment remains a reality that should not be overlooked. A fight dear to the artist who has also launched a call for donations campaign to support two associations, Aurore - a French organization -, and Espacio Mujeres - a Mexican structure.

A more complex work than it seems.

For more information, visit the Carmen Marsica website

Photographs: DR

Zoe Térouinard

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