Brands get monumental in city centers
Art & Business | Major brand names have recently associated themselves with the renovation of the façades of landmark buildings. A law lays out this lucrative activity that noticeably lightens the costs for the owner, whether public or private. In the heart of select cities, these brands find a powerful means of expression, quantitatively, through the number of people they reach, as well as qualitatively.
Brands are making themselves at home in city centers, imposing their reflection. Advertising, or communication should we say, is no longer a matter of surface but, more nobly, of volume. Because architecture is no longer framed but literally wrapped in a thin tissue that, in great detail, reproduces the building’s exterior appearance. The volume is rendered as if by scan, generating a spectacular impression of surreal absence. The façade and the architecture, and since these projects concern prestigious districts, also the cities and historic neighborhoods themselves, are used like objects for sampling. Brands insert themselves into the process. They don’t communicate : they participate. Who knows what Guy Debord what have thought? They insert themselves into a grand narrative with a lofty cultural and historical dimension, multiplying the return on their investment through the highly seductive effect produced by their presence.
There is some Christo in this way of working : the perfection of the installation married with the idea of the city-world, an idea of exclusivity. And, like Christo’s wrapping of the Pont-Neuf, the brands envelope the historic centers of our cities : not a building, but numerous buildings. Multiplying the already imposing scale used by the artist, turning it on its head and giving it a planetary dimension. Not only one city, but numerous cities, chosen like a diamond merchant selects his stones. Christo should be worried about a lawsuit for copyright infringement one of these days ! When concept is king, whether its model be applied to the body or the law, you can even imagine it winning out over the forces of time.
Dominique de Varine
Publié le 27/08/2014
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