Daniel Buren - Monumenta 2012

For the fifth edition of Paris' Monumenta art event, French conceptual artist Daniel Buren has taken over the Grand Palais with his exhibition Excentrique(s). Following on from Anish Kapoor's suitably monumental sculptural installation for last year's event, Buren has been faced with the challenge of filling the vast glass-and-steel structure of the Grand Palais with a specially commissioned, site-specific work.
The artist, who is known for his minimalist work, has created a bright and colourful field of transparent circles, all held up by columns in Buren's signature black and white stripes. Colour is also a central part of Buren's work, as an element that he uses to convey pure thought - as he says, "It (colour) cannot be transcribed into music, words, philosophy or anything else. It is raw!” 

The viewer walks through this landscape of colour, being alternately bathed in orange, yellow, blue and green light as they pass under each circle through which the outdoor sunlight shines, making the viewer a part of the work and the work a three-dimensional and sensorial experience which fits its setting of the glass-ceilinged Grand Palais and exploits its extraordinary light. 

The centre of the Grand Palais is empty of this field of coloured circles, and instead there is an open space with circular mirrors on the ground, on which the viewer can stand and see themselves and the circular and blue-stained glass roof of the Grand Palais reflected in one field of vision, again uniting the venue, the work and the viewer in one singular concept.

Daniel Buren - Monumenta 2012 

Until 21st June 2012
Grand Palais, 1 avenue General Eisenhower, 75008 Paris  
Open every day except Tues, 10am-7pm (midnight Thurs-Sun)

All photos copyright Kim Laidlaw Adrey


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience as most of us won't get to Paris in time to visit it.

    What of your feeling towards this visit? What did you expect before you went? How did you feel when you left?

    I'm very curious about Monumenta!

  2. Hi Géraldine,
    Thanks very much for your comment.
    Before going I was very intrigued to see how the work interacted with the space - it's a vast (high and wide) space to fill. Buren succeeds in creating a link between the viewer, the work and the space - as described above - creating a sensory experience and an impressive unity.
    I have been on several occasions, day, night, sunny, cloudy and the feeling that I had of being bathed in these saturated colours in a vast field of multicoloured discs is an exceedingly positive one - and this feeling of happiness stayed with me after the visit!
    Hope that answers your questions but do let me know if you would like to know anything else!
    Thanks again for stopping by!
    Kim xx