“Not essential”: Rero expresses himself on the façade of the CENTQUATRE

A fresco to denounce the situation reserved for art and culture for nearly a year, the CENTQUATRE-PARIS as all cultural places are again closed since late October and until further notice.

It is in this context that the artist Rero wished to invest the facade of the CENTQUATRE in order to affix his lettering in Verdana font, black and white where he takes up the formula so much heard in recent months: “NOT ESSENTIAL”. Through a game of obstruction of windows that creates a real physical border, Rero seeks to hide what we are prevented from consuming collectively: art and culture.

Born in 1983, Rero has established himself for more than a decade as one of the most important street artists of the French and international scene. Strongly impregnated with philosophy and sociology, his work never ceases to question the codes of our society, notably around the notions of consumption and obsolescence. Themes of a burning topicality. For him:

“Even if it is in pain, the pandemic is a unique opportunity to clearly ask the question of what is essential in life. It is a vast debate, a war of opinions. So I wanted to expose mine, and the Centquatre was the perfect place to express it. It is not a museum of the past, it is a multicultural place totally in its time, based on exchange, creation… Even if it is not a question of questioning the sanitary measures, there is a form of injustice to see today the cultural establishments always closed. The exchange is a primary need for the man…”

José Manuel Gonçalvès, the director of CENTQUATRE-PARIS who commissioned the work, is clearly of the same opinion:

“Our situation is obviously complicated, and we wanted to translate it with an artistic gesture that crosses this terrible word that has been suffocating us for months. We were already with Rero in preparation of a project under the great nave. Without abandoning it, the situation made us diverge towards something else. We thought about a more frontal act, addressed to the public more than to the politicians. A somewhat sad message to tell them that we are now reduced to this word which makes us sad. But that does not prevent us from remaining active: the Centquatre is the largest vaccination center in Paris, we welcome dozens of elderly people every day!”

The work is visible since this Wednesday, February 24 in front of the Centquatre, at 104 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Also read: “Zoom on Rero’s creative process”