Tower of Babel
Installation, 2006-2013, 2021

A tower of books, its form reminding us of the Tower of Babel as it is represented on Pieter Brueghel’s famous paintings.

Height and diametre over 4.50 m, 15 000 books of all origins, languages, contexts: novels, poetry, theatre texts, art books, cook books, children’s books, school books, travel guides, do-it-yourself books, diet books, memoirs, technical and scientific publications, administrative texts, political books, censored books, translations and books in their original langage, old books and very recent ones ...

This installation has been shown (and each time enriched with new publications)
→  in 2006 at the contemporary art centre La Maréchalerie, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, curators Valérie Knochel and Nicolas Michelin ;
→  in 2007 at the ZKM, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany,
- and in 2008 at ARTE, Strasbourg, curator both times Bernhard Serexhe ;
→  in 2009 at the Maison de l’Architecture de Poitiers, on invitation of the Ville de Poitiers, curator Dominique Truco, within the art event Tout autour de Babel, in the company of Bernard Heidsieck and Jacques Villeglé, of Jaap Blonk, Jean-Pierre Bobillot, Pierre Henry, Chiara Mulas, Serge Pey, VaduzChoral and many others, and in association with the Rencontres Littéraires of the University of Poitiers;
→  in 2012 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Lille in the exhibition Babel, curator Régis Cotentin,
→  exhibition shown again in 2013 at the Botanique in Brussels.
→  In 2021, the books have been put back into circuit by the online second hand bookshop RecycLivre with the help of the ZKM.
→  That same year, the Tower of Babel welcomes the public with a very big photo “trompe-l’œil” in the atrium of the ENSAPLV, for the 40 years anniversary exhibition of the publishing house Éditions de la Villette L’espace publié - Published Space.

With support from :
French Ministère de l.a Culture et de la Communication, Région Ile-de-France, Conseil Général des Yvelines, Ville de Versailles, Emmaüs Alternatives, Monum Editions du Patrimoine, Knauf Insulation, Actes Sud, Collège Henri Matisse de Montreuil, Le Cherche Midi, Larousse, Numilog.com, Boudier Moskwa Architectes, Metzler’sche Buchhandlung Karlsruhe, the ZKM librairy, ARTE, la Ville de Poitiers, the Faculté de Lettres and the Maison de l’Architecture de Poitiers, RecycLivre, the ENSAPLV and the Éditions de la Villette, and all the contributors of books.

Many thanks to :
Nicolas Michelin, Valérie Knochel, Aziza Albou, Julie Pagnier, Nicolas Moskwa (EXP architectes), Alain Accard, Jason Karaïndros, P&U Gautel, Peter Weibel, Bernhard Serexhe, Christof Hierholzer, Gisbert, Ronny and the team of the ZKM, Anatole Serexhe again and again for his precious assistance, Théo Beilé, the whole team of ARTE, François Bouet, Jean-Pierre Uhlen, Dominique Truco, Régis Cotentin, Jean-Marie Dautel and the team of the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Lille, Marie Papazoglou, Lucie Duckerts and the team of the Botanique in Brussels, and all the people and contributors without whom this babylonian installation wouldn’t have been possible.

→  Centre d’art contemporain La Maréchalerie
→  ZKM, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie
→  Espace Mendès-France Poitiers
→  EXP Architectes

The photos are by J.G., unless specified otherwise (Bernhard Serexhe and Jason Karaïndros).

  • The Tower of Babel at the Maréchalerie, Versailles 2006.
  • The Tower of Babel at the ZKM, Karlsruhe 2007. Photo: Bernhard Serexhe.
  • The Tower of Babel at ARTE, Strasbourg 2008.
  • Tout autour of Babel at the Maison de l’Architecture, Poitiers 2009. On the wall, Bernard Heidsieck’s text Vaduz written in Jacques Villeglé’s socio-political alphabet.
  • Maggy Hubert-Wallace, Jacques Villeglé et Bernard Heidsieck at the exhibition Tout autour de Babel, Poitiers 2009. Photo: Jason Karaïndros.
  • Jakob Gautel, Bernard Heidsieck, Jaap Blonk and Dominique Truco at the exhibition Tout autour de Babel, Poitiers 2009. Photo: Jason Karaïndros.
  • The Tower of Babel at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille 2012.
  • The Tower of Babel at the Botanique, Brussels 2013.
  • The Tower of Babel as “trompe-l’œil” at the Éditions de la Villette exhibition L’espace publié, ENSAPLV, Paris 2021.

Voir aussi
#Installations #Memory #Books #Words #Tales, Myths #Politics #Censorship, Copyright, Freedom of Expression