’Excentrique(s)’ by Daniel Buren for Monumenta at the Grand Palais, Paris

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais
'Excentrique(s)', by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais. courtesy: Daniel Buren, ADAGP, Paris
(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

Creating an installation for Monumenta (opens in new tab) in the nave of Paris' Grand Palais (opens in new tab) is just about the most prestigious commission any artist can win in France. This year, the honour has gone to French grand master Daniel Buren, who follows Anish Kapoor to become the fifth artist ever to fill the dazzlingly glamorous and grandiose space.

Titled 'Excentrique(s)', Buren has conjured a giant cluster of plastic circles, which overlap to form a colourful canopy. You can wander among them, watching how the light, shadows and reflections change with the weather. At night, roving spotlights bounce off the green, blue, yellow and orange panels, disco-style, while an on-a-loop sound track (of a text read in 37 different languages) ensures you won't start dancing.

'When the sun comes out, everyone is upside down,' says Buren, pointing upwards to our reflections on the circles. 'In the beginning, I was impressed by the building, and didn't know how to compete with its extravagance. But it's rather alienating. So I set about providing a human scale by creating a kind of shelter.'

His circles, held up with trademark black and white steel poles, come in four colours only, assembled on site in a repeat pattern, which began alphabetically, with b for the colour blue. You feel safe walking under them, and the reflections create rainbow like patterns under your feet, making you want to linger.

At the centre of it all are mirrored glass circles that you can walk on, to witness the top of the roof, which Buren has covered with intermittent blue panels. It creates a clever contrast between old and new, colour and transparency, pomp and simplicity. Buren, who is 64, is known for his exquisite and masterful use of space, and here you can see why.

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

Just about the most prestigious commission any artist can win in France, French grand master Daniel Buren, follows Anish Kapoor to become the fifth artist ever to fill the dazzlingly glamorous Monumenta in the nave of Paris' Grand Palais

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

Buren has created a giant cluster of plastic circles that together form a colourful canopy

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

You can wander among them, watching how the light, shadows and reflections change with the weather

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

At night, roving spotlights bounce off the green, blue, yellow and orange panels, disco-style, while an on-a-loop sound track (of a text read in 37 different languages) ensures you won't start dancing

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

His circles, held up with trademark black and white steel poles, come in four colours only, assembled on site in a repeat pattern, which began alphabetically, with b for the colour blue.

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

You feel safe walking under them, and the reflections create rainbow like patterns under your feet, making you want to linger

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

'Excentrique(s)' exhibition by Daniel Buren, 2012, in situ at the Grand Palais

At the centre of it all are mirrored glass circles that you can walk on, to witness the top of the roof, which Buren has covered with intermittent blue panels. It creates a clever contrast between old and new, colour and transparency, pomp and simplicity

(Image credit: Didier Plowy)

ADDRESS 

Grand Palais
Avenue Winston-Churchill
75008 Paris - France

VIEW GOOGLE MAPS (opens in new tab)

Emma O'Kelly is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. She joined the magazine on issue 4 as news editor and since since then has worked in full and part time roles across many editorial departments. She is a freelance journalist based in London and works for a range of titles from Condé Nast Traveller to The Telegraph. She is currently working on a book about Scandinavian sauna culture and is renovating a mid century house in the Italian Lakes.