Daniel Buren Might Sue City of Lyon Over Sorry State of Public Artwork

Daniel BurenPhoto via: Coze
Daniel Buren
Photo via: Coze
Lyon’s Place des Terreaux, with Daniel Buren and Christian Drevet’s installation and the Bartholdi Fountain<br>Photo: via Karen Ruimy

Lyon’s Place des Terreaux, with Daniel Buren and Christian Drevet’s installation and the Bartholdi Fountain
Photo: via Karen Ruimy

The French artist Daniel Buren is considering taking legal action against the city of Lyon over the state of abandonment of his site-specific work for Place des Terreaux, an important city square.

When asked if he would file a complaint against local authorities in an interview for the French newspaper Le Progres, the artist responded: “I think so. Given this disaster and their lack of response, the only way to make things move forward is to attack.”

“The image we are giving of this square and the city is horrible,” he complained.

Daniel BurenPhoto via: Coze

Daniel Buren
Photo via: Coze

Buren created the work in 1994, in collaboration with the architect and urban planner Christian Drevet. The large-scale, site-specific installation features 69 small fountains, embedded in the ground, and 14 black and white pillars in typical Buren style.

The work shares the public square with the famous Bartholdi Fountain, created in 1889 by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, (best known for designing the Statue of Liberty), which is also in a shocking state of disrepair.

When contacted for comment by the AFP, the city of Lyon stated that the restoration of the classic fountain would take priority in the budget and planning, and that Buren’s work would be repaired subsequently. But according to Buren, the city council has been saying this for years, and neither the fountain nor the installation have been revitalized yet.

Lyon’s Place des Terreaux, with Daniel Buren and Christian Drevet’s installation<br>Photo: via Karen Ruimy

Lyon’s Place des Terreaux, with Daniel Buren and Christian Drevet’s installation
Photo: via Karen Ruimy

“The work is hard to maintain, but a public work is completely in the responsibility of the authority that commissions it. The square was built, but nothing is being made to preserve it,” he lamented.

Legal action is Buren’s last resort, who seems despondent about the whole issue. “If I could decide, at this point, I would ask that the square be completely destroyed,” he told Le Progres.

Related stories:

Daniel Buren Files Complaint for Intellectual Property Infringement against Iheap Art School in Paris

Controversial Musée des Confluences Opens in Lyon

Rats Swarm Rome’s Trevi Fountain and Terrorize Tourists


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