In front of the Hôtel de Ville, or the main town hall of Paris, is a large open square where various things get installed during the year. In the winter it becomes a large ice skating rink; during the French Open you’ll find temporary tennis courts and a ginormous outdoor screen showing live matches. A few centuries ago they pulled apart criminals’ limbs with horses here, but they sorta phased that one out. Recently I passed by this spot and was pleased to see an art installation that was one of those contrasty, nature-where-there-usually-isn’t types of art. I love this idea and strolled around it taking pictures from all angles. “Kudos to the city for putting this here,” I said to myself.
I thought I’d done my duty as a citizen by appreciating the extra dash of culture and absorbing the message, but this morning’s Yahoo News page showed I’d missed the piece’s biggest angle, both figuratively and literally. Maybe you’ve seen before those stretched-out pictures drawn on sidewalks so that when the perspective’s just right you get a cool optical illusion. The French artist François Abélanet did the same thing here, but with mounds of sod and trees! Apparently the final payoff of this installation is to mount a small platform at the end and see all the pieces converge:
Pretty remarkable, right? Despite my “art appreciation” I managed to miss this altogether. I saw the white lines as a sign of incompleteness, of markings of something to be added later. Oops!