The Unique Gare du Nord Street Art Gallery
During the last couple of weeks Paris Gare du Nord station has gradually been transformed into one enormous street art gallery, brightening up the station for its 700,000 daily passerbys. Whether you arrive at one of the lower or one of the upper floors of the station the brilliant artworks made by the street artists participating to the Quai 36 Art Residence just can’t go unnoticed, as we witnessed a couple of weeks ago when we made a spontaneous visit to the French capital.
The first brightly coloured mural already popped up in front of us as soon as we stepped out of the underground, the Metro 4 line. And this was only the start of our street art discovery through Paris’ largest public transportation hub. More stunning murals would be awaiting us. With a map indicating the locations of the other murals on our phone we continued our search.
The idea to transform the Gare du Nord station into one street art exhibition came from Quai 36, a collective founded in 2013 by a group of Parisian friends, who all passed the Gare du Nord station during their daily commute from the suburbs into town. The friends all had the same wish, to promote urban art by bringing together public and private stakeholders in a public space, a project they succeeded with well, The French national railway company SNCF Gares & Connexions and the local transport company Region Île-de-France eventually subsidised the Quai 36 Art Residence project fully.
During a period of four weeks different parts of the station were decorated by sixteen national and international street artists, all interpreting the theme ‘Faces of the Station’ differently.
Not only did the artists make use of all different type of spaces available at the station – including corridors and poles -, but also of the objects around, creating playful art works, like the ones here below:
The name of the collective – Quai 36 – does by the way refer to ‘platform 36’, a common entry point to the station for the initiators of the project. It is here where you can admire a large number of artworks by all different artists who took part in the art residence. If you have no time to walk around the station to see every single mural, we recommend you to visit this part of the station, all artists from the project have at least one work exhibited here along the some 150 meters long ‘real-life canvas’.
At the time of our visit to the station, the street artists were still actively working on their murals, given the scaffoldings we saw here and there – we arrived on a Sunday morning before heading back home, when none of the artists were around -, yet by now the Art Residence has ended and no new murals will be made anymore. The murals will however stay for some time as part of the renovation plans for the station, so go and check them out if you can!
If you have no opportunity to see all works live or like to have an idea where to go in the station, check out this video taking you along part of the murals in just a couple of minutes.
Curious about the street artists? Here are the names of 16 the street artists contributing to the Quai 36 Art Residence 2015: Btoy, Solylaisse, Jerome Mesnager, Baske Tobetrue, Levalet, PiocPPC, Koralie, Dourone, Gregos, Jana & JS, Bad Trip Crew, Louis Masai, Fafi, SP38, Kool Koor and Artiste Ouvrier.
Like to see more street art from around the world? Have a look at our other posts – including loads of picturers – in our Street Art Corner.
We also wrote more about Paris.