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From the art of converting a city to Street Art, the example of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (at the foot of Mont Blanc) and focus on artistic patronage

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Dressing up the underground car park in the city center of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc in a real place of contemporary art is the cultural project of this Savoyard town at the foot of the famous Mont Blanc.
Between May 15 and May 31, 2017, 12 internationally recognized artists were given the free space to give their imagination lessons to give color on 11 levels of concrete monochrome wall surfaces typical of a car park, built in 1983 and originally dedicated to the storage of batteries, thus deserving a second life and dedicating the destiny of this town as a place of attraction for Contemporary Art.


The entrance of the Saint-Gervais Contemporary Art Platform and the facade realized by the Italian artists Sten-Lex (with sponsors the Grosset-Janin Cottages) (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

This colorful adventure, carried by its mayor, Jean-Marc Peillex, and under the curation of Hugues Chevallier, president of the Kill Art Factory association and the artist Frédéric Battle (Zoer), is entitled 2KM3, for 2,000m3 of surface invested by the artists.
The new space thus inaugurated Saint-Gervais Contemporary Art Platform, fully funded through sponsorship for a global budget of around 500,000 euros (including one patron per level) also mobilizing volunteers from this city to carry out preparatory work and who have each one involved, alongside 13 patrons, either for the realization of one of the levels of the car park, the facade, the lighting of the works, or through the supply of the painting. Which, a patron put to profit for an eco-responsible lighting of places, completely in LED for a power four times higher for a cost two times less to the original material, 350 points of light to be changed to highlight pieces.

The façade of artists Irsut and Zoer in 2016 for the 95th anniversary of the successful landing on the Dome Pass and the Church of St. Gervais in the background, a primitive church prior to the twelfth century and rebuilt in the late seventeenth century , dedicated to Saint Gervais, martyr of the first century (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

The mayor of this thermal city, Jean-Marc Peillex, wanted to extend this artistic dynamic, initiated by two previously successful events, that were the KILL ART FACTORY, urban art festival, and the realization by the artists Irsut and Zoer of a Giant fresco in the heart of Saint-Gervais reproducing the original photo of the first landing of an aircraft at the Col du Dôme, under Mont Blanc.


Entrance to the Saint-Gervais thermal baths and panoramic view of the Mont-Blanc massif (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

Saint-Gervais, already known for its invigorating baths (whose owner, the firm L’Oréal will carry out nearly 5 million works of modernization of the places in 2018), its casino, its Festival of Humor, its 445 km of tracks between the conifers, its proximity to Mont-Blanc, the “Roof of Europe”, connected via the Prarion area by the Mont Blanc Tramway, the highest cogwheel train in France, is now announced as a destination a new amateur tourism of Contemporary Art.


The car park before the project and Zoer’s draft sketch (Photo credits: Saint-Gervais)

The date of May 15, 2017 gave the start of the 2KM3 Saint-Gervais Contemporary Art Platform, (which lasted until May 31, 2017), contraction of two thousand cubic meters, the volume with which each artist had had to dial. Each of them was assigned a floor, 450 m2 of wall and 500 m2 of ceiling. Without constraint of medium, the artists will have to appropriate the places and to tame the aesthetic characteristics related to the constraints of a parking lot.
At the end of this period of creative intensity, the place has become a huge free alternative museum, open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
This unique event is in line with the Lasco Project at the Palais de Tokyo, paving the way for a new way of integrating art into the city, into its architectural landscape.
Moreover, several artists of the collective have already made the experiment through various projects of urban cladding which could give color to some cities to the delight of the inhabitants, like municipalities like Rouen or Nantes who were seduced by the dyeing of public places giving them a new youth.

Artists from all countries who were able to fit into the space with each a theme of their own inspiration, leading to think the Argentine artist Elian Chali claiming “that it is necessary to live the work, with a figure that ‘we must see everywhere’.


Some sketches of the report, the Serbian twins Sobekcis and British ROID MSK whose sponsors were SEMCODA and Carré d’Or Real Estate (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).


The straight perspective of Argentinean artist Elian Chali and the Velvet Latin universe, supported by SEMCODA and Babilou (Photo Credits: Alexandre Plateaux).


The tropical frescoes of JAW as well as the work of Étienne de Fleurieu with its stellar constellations, although the work is exposed in one of the lowest floors. Facilities financed by the ski resort of Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc and the Thermes de Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).


The final space of Zoer and that of his sidekick Swiz, supported by DocteGestio and Casino Saint-Gervais (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

Finally, an inauguration evening of the new “repainted” places took place on June 2, 2017, accompanied by a charity auction of the “06” work carried out on January 7, 2016 in Saint-Gervais by Die_Cast, for the benefit of ‘Everest Ever!’ to help children with cancer or leukemia and, since 2011, women in breast cancer remission to “climb their Everest”.

With facilities of: Elian Chali (Argentina), Étienne de Fleurieu (France), Felipe Pantone (Argentina), Jaw (France), Roids (Great Britain), SatOne (Venezuela), Sobekcis (Serbia), Sten & Lex ( Italy), Swiz (France), Zoer & Velvet (Die_Cast) (Spain – France).

2KM3 in a few figures:
• 6,500 liters of acrylic paint
• 2,500 aerosol cans
• 11 levels of 40 m. long, 20 m. wide, and 2.5 m.
high ceilings.
• 11,500 m2 of painted surface

Contemporary Art in other forms in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains


The Pile-Pont Expo and the stronghold of Hautetour, two other places vectors of Art in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.

Another artistic facet emerges from the presence of the permanent exhibition center Pile-Pont Expo, unique art place (9 meters ceiling) under the bridge (built in 2012) in this space dedicated for 5 years for exhibitions in located from June to September, for an average attendance of 3,000 visitors per year.
From 9th June to 28th October 2017, the visual artist Élodie Boutry enchants us with her “Cosmicism” exhibition, with her pyramidal wooden installations, some backlit, symbolizing crystals like those that can be found in the alpine massifs. scenography studied using joyful colors to show a message of end inevitable where everything will one day disappear. She is accustomed to creating works in her exhibition spaces, including volumes based on geometric forms that are more decorative and immersed in space. The pieces will be open for sale during the exhibition.


The exhibition “Cosmicism” by Élodie Boutry (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

In addition, the fortified house of Hautetour, former stronghold of the 13th century became cultural center, located near the city center houses a museum presenting a virtual ascent of Mont Blanc and the history of the guides of Saint-Gervais. He is currently planning a temporary exhibition “Ligne de Crête” and welcomes artists in residence including the installation of the artist of Sallanches, Xavier Brandeis, who questioned the report of the man with the mountain, with a thorough study of the field lexical of the mountain with its outdoor installation on steel Corten, called “Etymological Revisions” in front of the dome of Miage, with some words based around the norm and the rule, a double etymological look.


Installation of Xavier Brandeis “Cultures Sommitales”, based on fragments of stones from the Mont-Blanc massif and some elements testifying to the many strings possible to climb Mont Blanc (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).


Installation of Xavier Brandeis “Etymological Revisions” (Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

The latest modern touch to refresh history, the Church of St. Gervais, including a typical Baroque facade, which must have an altarpiece, and with windows normally white to let in the light like the baroque heritage regional and ten chapels nearby.
Particularity of the recently renovated site with new thermoformed windows, inaugurated in 2017, containing colors with different cooking, designed by the South Korean father Kim Hen Jong, also author of the stained glass windows of the chapel Bâtiaz in Martigny.


(Photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

A focus on cultural patronage:
Cultural patronage is a donation to an organization of general interest; he may be in competence, in kind or in cash.
For a company, patronage entitles you to a tax reduction of 60% of the value of the donation within the limit of 0.5% of turnover.
Each year, thanks to cultural patronage, new artistic sites can be created, masterpieces in danger can be restored, and national treasures are purchased by major French museums.
To find out more about cultural patronage: Article 238 bis of the General Tax Code.
The municipality of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, in parallel with the tax reduction, offers the sponsors of the 2KM3 project additional rewards, via the “2KM3 Patronage Club” created for the occasion.

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