A rich history and moving look at the accessible, immersive art embedded in the Paris subway system.
Submarine wall decorations, a ceramic declaration of human rights, a stained-glass red hen, a mosaic mouth, a Murano glass aedicule. The walls of the Paris Métro, adorned with works by French and foreign artists, have punctuated the underground travels of Parisians and tourists for over a century. In 1900, architect Hector Guimard created the subway entrances. His art nouveau–style works embrace the notion of free art—accessible to all, flowing with movement, surprising, and ambitious.
Today’s subway system still champions this immersive cultural experience and artistic openness, as evidenced by the 20 or so creations selected for Art in Motion. With concise and well-researched texts, Anaël Pigeat introduces readers to the artists and gives them a voice. Pigeat explains their creative process, paying tribute to the work of the many craftsmen and craftswomen and their innovations, while highlighting the numerous constraints entailed by the subway environment. With a contemporary perspective featuring more than 130 images by photographer Philippe Garcia, the book captures the works in their environment, then moves closer to show us the material and the artistic gestures. Each creation carries its own story and its own relationship to the underground, imperceptibly changing our travels. Offering a reinterpretation of existing works or fitting into the framework of an international exchange, Art in Motion takes readers down memory lane or into a dreamlike world.