ZEVS looks set to capture the very essence of the Eiffel Tower as a topic in public and monumental art. This light performance — visible to all, which will be repeated several times between 12.00 midnight and 7.00 am the next morning— aims to divert the structure’s lighting system in order to “redistribute time and electric light on the Eiffel Tower”. The artist’s pitch is to stage a combat between two nostalgic views of Paris: one envisaging Gustave Eiffel’s construction as an original, streamlined steel structure, while the other transforms it into a beacon of light. The Tower’s lights that shimmer over the roofs of Paris will all “fall” one by one, in reverse construction order. Then, tier by tier, the monument resumes lighting as usual.
ZEVS has added a musical accompaniment to the light show, with the deconstruction/reconstruction light set to the beat of an extract from the 1960 composition Orient Occident by musician Iannis Xenakis.
Trocadéro and the Champ-de-Mars will afford the best viewpoints to watch this work of art in action.
ZEVS started out as a street artist in Paris in the 1990s, assuming various characters such as The Shadow Flasher and The Serial Ad Killer. ZEVS owes his name to a train which nearly crushed him when he was tagging in a Metro tunnel. As from 1998, he forsook conventional graffiti for brushstroke lines depicting the shadows of street furniture in Paris. A few years later, he embarked on a series of misappropriated billboards in which he bombarded models’ faces with dripping red paint. In Berlin, in 2002, he took the Lavazza coffee muse hostage and kidnapped the 10-metre billboard. Once the hostage was liberated in 2005, ZEVS started his “liquidation” project, dripping paint over the logos of major brands as if they were dribbling. ZEVS is also famous for works he calls “proper graffiti” on dirty walls throughout Paris. He uses a pressure washer to paint messages that are invisible to the naked eye and revealed solely by ultraviolet light.
About Nuit Blanche
Since 2002, the Paris City Council has organised Nuit Blanche, on the night of the first Saturday in October, from 7.00 pm to 7.00 am. It has become a major event, at once popular and festive, focussing on the installation of works of art in the public arena and in famous Parisian monuments. Since the first edition, 3,000 artists have participated, with around 250 artistic projects all over Paris, 15 kilometres of art circuits, and nearly one million participants. Gaël Charbau, artistic director at Universcience, has acted as artistic director for this 2018 edition, with a theme drawing inspiration from four constellations in Invalides, Ile Saint Louis, la Villette and Porte Dorée.
About the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE) (Eiffel Tower Operating Company)
On November 1, 2017, the City of Paris entrusted the operation and management of the Eiffel Tower to SETE for the next 15 years, as part of a delegation of public service for a period of 15 years. SETE is a local public company, of which 60% of the capital is held by the City of Paris and 40% by the Department of Paris. Its Board of Directors is chaired by Bernard Gaudillère, Paris Counsellor. SETE has around 340 employees and achieved a turnover of 83.3 million euros in 2018.