Being so close to France I really wanted to visit Paris during my time in Amsterdam. I was lucky enough to go a few weeks ago and embrace all that Paris has to offer. Paris is full of museums and exhibitions but, I wanted to see something a little different in the hope it would inspire me to be more creative. Situated right in the centre close to the Louvre, 59 Rivoli is a unique collection of artists in a former squat, to have a space like this in such a affluent area intrigued me straight away.
Walking though Paris on a sunny afternoon, 59 Rivoli stuck out like a sore thumb. Situated on one of the main shopping streets covered in flags, streamers and banners this art house definitely provokes a response.
Upon arrival I noticed straight away there was not a large queue like most Paris attractions, I was able to walk right through the door and was greeted by a friendly reception and, a piano.
As soon as I stepped in I was hit instantly by waves of creation, every single tiny bit of space was filled with colour, illustration, and words.
There was not a single piece of empty floor, wall, door, ceiling, light switch or even door handle.
59 Rivoli started in 1999 when three artists took over the building which had been left empty for 15 years, it was only after three months eviction letters starting coming through the post box. But thanks to good publicity and legal work they were able to remain in the building. In 2001 Mayoral candidate at the time Bertrand Delanoë promised if he won the election he would turn the building into a legal studio. He did win, and remained true to his word allowing some of the most creative minds in Paris to continue making masterpieces.
The building is home to 30 different studios on 6 floors each one unique in their own way. The artists themselves also change very regularly meaning no two visits will be the same. As you walk through from bottom to top you can see vastly different exhibitions and work from watercolour painting to sculpturing.
Usually walking through an artists space can feel intrusive but at 59 Rivoli you are encouraged to talk and interact with the artists. Every artist who I spoke to was friendly, (spoke English) polite and inspiring.
The space is set out differently to that of a standard gallery, the studios are not divided by era or medium. The studios emphasise what the artist is working on during that day. This is how most of the artists sell their work, the space is also home to music festivals and concerts filling the whole building with live music. This hub of creativity is perfect for anyone looking for inspiration or a change to the average art gallery.
One thing which struck a chord with me was how the building utilised every bit of space. Just the corridors themselves were extraordinary. Every step and bannister had a funky drawing or philosophical statement. A lot of the text throughout the building was in French, not being able to understand different languages makes them even more intriguing.
Even though it can be quite overwhelming at first, the explosion of art captures your attention at every corner. Seeing the artists at work and talking to them is something very unique for a museum.
It must have taken several hours for these collections to be built making this more inspiring. This building is almost a fun house for those wanting to create something beautiful.
Each space on each floor is like walking through a persons unique personality and thoughts, due to the large amounts of art there are only small passageways for people to walk through. It’s like a computer game bought to life.
As you climb further and further up the house it almost feels like a portal to a different world, the winding stairs and high ceilings feel seem to go on forever.
I highly recommend anyone going to visit Paris to check out 59 Rivoli, its free entry making it accessible for everyone wanting to explore the creative side of their mind.