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Zevs | Eiffel Phœnix public and monumental art piece

October 4, 2018

As part of the 2018 Nuit Blanche which will be held on October 6, the artist ZEVS will take over the Eiffel Tower, the symbol of Paris “City of Light”, in order to make it a public and monumental art piece: Eiffel Phœnix

The show is accessible to everyone from midnight to 7am.

When night falls on the evening of the 6th of October, the lights of the Eiffel Tower follow suit at midnight. This night, the tower is lit in order to be unlit. Following the dictates of the artist ZEVS, the tower’s lights scintillating on Paris skyline will all fall to the ground, step by step, in reverse order of how the tower was built, step by step, from the ground into the sky.

The construction of the monumental structure designed by the company of the engineer Gustave Eiffel was completed for the Universal Exhibition in 1889. The tower was not just a product wrought in iron of the Second Industrial Revolution. It was also meant to commemorate the French Revolution for its centennial. Despite initial controversy, the tower, which was conceived as a temporary structure, went on to become a permanent fixture of the Parisian cityscape. The lights, which temporarily adorned Tour Eiffel for the opening in 1889, also became permanent later on. Today, the tower is in more than one way a symbol of The City of Light.

The illuminated tower recalls Plato’s description of how one is blinded by the light when one first sees it. The Eiffel Tower not only lights up Paris. It is also a cause of so-called light pollution. While Paris’ lights illuminate the city, they also block the view of the sky. When ZEVS lets all the blinding lights on the tower fall to the ground, he not only invokes the obscurity which preceded the Enlightenment. He also invokes the obscurity which might succeed it for all to see. It is the construction of the tower in reverse, it is the undoing of progress, it is tabula rasa. ZEVS’ work Eiffel Phœnix is a tower, which is no longer lit by man, but rather – like a lightning rod – dependent on something even bigger beyond his reach. Eiffel Phœnix offers a view of the French capital, which for once is not given in ad- vance. How that looks can as a consequence not be put into words.

“I wrote the text thinking about the state of the world (the end of the Enlightenment, the end of the progress at the time of the rise of the anti-democratic populists (Trump, Putin, Orban, islamism etc), at the time of the crisis of the climate etc) without giving details.

I like that it remains to the the viewer to make a symbol.” — Toke Lykkeberg

Eiffel Phœnix and Orient-Occident by Xenakis

ZEVS, in his in situ creation celebrating the Eiffel Tower, also pays tribute to the composer Iannis Xenakis. To accompany the lighting … in the abyss of the Eiffel Tower, ZEVS rhythm his deconstruction/reconstruction by the lights to the sounds of an extract of the composition Orient-Occident (1960). The synchronisation of Xenakis’ composition on the Eiffel Phœnix project manifest an extra dimension to ZEVS’ work. The two creations interfere with each other, it fertilises and reu- nites before ramifying, generating continuously an uprise to reveal the essentials by the simple organising of the space and the time.

An engineer who became a musician and an architect alongside Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis was able to impose his innovative ideas on the sidelines of the domination of serialism. He builds his musical conception on two elements that are the reference to mathematics and physics, and his new perspective of considering the sound like another building material. Inventor of the concepts of musical masses, he presented the calculation of probabilities and the theory of sets in the art of composition before using the computer for the calculation of musical forms.

By Toke Lykkeberg