Passage des Gravilliers used to be a convenient, but dingy, shortcut between Rue Chapon and Rue des Gravilliers. Now the short cut takes longer than the long way round by the street. There’s so much to explore on the way.
The first art gallery to arrive in the Passage opened its doors in 2005. Two more galleries and a graphic design studio followed. In 2012 the four businesses joined forces to stage an arts event in the passage, launching their respective autumn exhibitions. In preparation for the 2015 edition of passage pas/sage, in September, street artist unSolub was invited to transform the passage into an urban jungle.
The transformation started off in the open section of the passage with a fairly conventional, botanically correct, interpretation of the jungle theme. A gnarled fig tree twines round a doorway, palm fronds spread across steel shutters and a philodendron climbs a pillar.
It was when he reached the dark, covered section of the passage, towards Rue des Gravilliers, that the artist really let his imagination rip. The walls here are a patchwork of old blocked up doorways, door frames and pillars, long plastered over, cables and utility boxes. Old doorsteps now lead to impossible staircases, blocked entrances open into another dimension and flying machines (worthy of the Arts et Métiers museum) swoop through the spaces in between. The title is Hétéropie – a world within our world, where different rules apply.
Aside from the steel shutters, there are four real doors in these pictures. The door that opens if you cut round the dotted lines isn’t just imaginary.
(Click on any photo for a closer look and click again to zoom in.)
These pictures are in full colour, it’s the artwork that is monochrome. Black, white and grey paint in the open section of the passage, with highlights of silver in the dark section. Camera flash makes the silver paint glow.
Each week Thursday Doors links a collection of posts about interesting doorways around the world. In recent weeks I’ve linked in photos of some beautiful, historic doors in quiet, Paris back streets. Here’s another side of city, just round the corner, in the gaps in between.