Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jewels in an Urban Landscape...







Over the past few years, I've repeatedly gone past a patch of derelict land that hasn't changed in all that time. The indescript rubble offers no real indication to what stood there before the demolition and there is nothing to catch the eye or imagination...








However, lying in the debris was a single tile from the building that had occupied the space, some time ago. The bright blue-grey pattern drew my attention, all the more so since it was the only thing there that seemed to have a story to tell. Once part of the standard cement-tile flooring in the corridor, or kitchen, a common feature in French homes from the end of the 19th century, this solitary survivor had, in theory, endured the two World Wars. It was still miraculously in one piece following the work of the wrecking ball, yet also frustratingly beyond reach, behind the fencing that offers no access point, even to the most determined thieving magpie.






Nevertheless, repeatedly I had said to myself that I had to find a means of retrieving this modest urban jewel, but somehow never did. Having seen that it had finally been broken, and its two parts separated still made me swear that I would rescue it from weed-ridden anonymity one day. I never did get round to doing so, but last night I decided that today would be The Day. Armed with an elongated metal coat-hanger (stuck onto a long wooden spoon), acting as an effective hook, I finally clawed out the tile parts... The tile has now joined other orphaned jetsam and flotsam that I took in from different parts of the town. All remind me how little we seem to appreciate traces of our history that are just ripped up and out, or simply cemented over and replaced by a mass that has little to say, bears no craftsmanship and gradually deteriorates into an oblivion of ugliness...


Well, the modern and ephermeral can indeed produce works that have a blindingly beautiful quality, like some incredible insect that will only last a few fleeting days. The grey trudge to an incredibly ugly part of town here is always rewarded and illuminated by the urban art on the walls of the car park.


I thought that once having created these, they would be in place for some time, but in fact, no...


 Some of these have changed over the past month, which is amazing in view of the time and money involved (all those spray cans!!).


Not only that, but I don't know when these are created since the car park is open to the public from early morning till evening...


I don't know how the artists design these, or carry them out on such a scale...


But I really think they're stunning...


Even the less vivid are just great...


And all are sunshine on concrete...


As part of my take on the new year, I promised myself to look for the colours that make up grey, wherever it may be or whatever form it takes in the urban landscape.

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