It is within the difficult context following the attacks on Paris and Saint-Denis over recent days that the American artist Shepard Fairey is unveiling his latest work “Earth Crisis” at the Eiffel Tower. Paris is still standing and that is why the installation of this work is going ahead, although without a preview.
Earth Crisis is a giant sphere suspended between the first and second levels of the Eiffel Tower taking the environment as its subject. It can be seen from the 20 November to 02 december and is a powerful artistic gesture for Paris as the host of the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change.
Public art to awaken consciences
This project was conceived and set up by La Galerie Itinerrance and is a result of the coming together of the firm commitment to sustainable development of the artist, of Paris City Hall and of the Eiffel Tower Operating Company.
The sphere is named “Earth Crisis”, weighs 2.3 tonnes and measures 8 metres in diameter with a printed surface of over 200m2. Suspended more than 60 metres above the ground, it is a powerful call to reflection on the future of our planet and on the threats to its longevity.
For Shepard Fairey, known as OBEY, public art has the power to touch people emotionally and intellectually. The ornamental structure of the “Earth Crisis” sphere is a mandala of floral motifs evoking harmony with nature. This work comprises 8 powerful images wrapped around the sphere symbolising both the nature of the threats to the environment and an exhortation to respect it. The aim of the images of this mandala based on the theme of climate change and the environment is to raise awareness and provoke discussions on the future of our planet. The colours used recall the blue and green of the air, water and vegetation which enable the earth to maintain life.
“My political position on the protection of the planet is dictated by my worries about the quality of life future generations will have. I am not alarmist, but I think that people must understand that we are facing a world crisis. I think it is interesting that the globe presents different experiences to the spectator viewing from a distance and from close by, while residing at the heart of the Eiffel Tower. I hope the “Earth Crisis” sphere is visually striking but also that it generates a conversation we must have about the fate of our planet.” - Shepard Fairey
Detailed presentation of the project: itinerrance.fr/hors-les-murs/earth-crisis/
A work to come and admire and an exhibition to understand
To complement the work, an open-air exhibition on Level 1 of the Eiffel Tower recounts how the project was created and examines in detail the motifs of the huge sphere.
About Shepard Fairey, known as OBEY
Born in Charleston, SC., Shepard Fairey is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). While still a student, he made his name with the OBEY GIANT sticker campaign, which modified the public’s perception of art and the urban landscape. Shepard Fairey has signed more than 60 vast wall paintings across the world, and especially in Paris. Obey’s work is now a real “artistic institution”, and is exhibited in several internationally renowned galleries. Among the best known works are the “Hope” poster for Barack Obama, now exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.
About the Galerie Itinerrance
Galerie Itinerrance opened in 2004 in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, specialising in urban art, and soon made its presence felt on the cultural and artistic scene of Paris, both for its stance on artistic selection and for its daring and innovative "Extra-mural" projects. Whether it is the “Tour Paris 13”, the open air gallery “Street art 13” or “Djerbahood” in Tunisia, the projects of the Galerie Itinerrance and its director Mehdi Ben Cheikh aim to promote Street Art in all its diversity.
About the Eiffel Tower Operating Company
On 1 January 2006, the City of Paris entrusted the operation and management of the Eiffel Tower to SETE (Société d’Exploitation de la tour Eiffel) as a ten-year delegation of a public service. SETE is a semi-public company of which the City of Paris holds 60% of the capital. Its President is Bernard Gaudillère, a Paris Councillor. SETE employs 300 people and its turnover for the year 2014 was 78.5 million euros.