Pierre Kohler expose Banksy dans son musée de l’art optique à Porrentruy.

Pierre Kohler brings Banksy to Porrentruy

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With one double exhibition, the Museum of Optical Art is as disturbing as the other.

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Pierre Kohler exhibits Banksy in his optical art museum in Porrentruy.

lematin.ch/Sébastien Anex

The exhibition, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays, is called

The exhibition, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays, is called “Dismaland”.

lematin.ch/Sébastien Anex

Poetry is at the meeting point in Popa, in the old town of Porrentruy

Poetry is at the meeting point in Popa, in the old town of Porrentruy

lematin.ch/Sébastien Anex

The hugely popular “Love IS in the Air (Flore Thrower)” made artist Banksy a phenomenon. In Porrentruy, thirty pieces of cardboard under glass make up an exhibition decorated with black, white and gray motifs. And what motives!

Banksy’s images are stenciled, like this flower-throwing man first tagged in Jerusalem in 2003. “These works come from a private collection and it is impossible to formally attribute them to Banksy…” recognizes Pierre Kohler, initiator of the Museum of Optical Art Father.

The exhibition is entitled “Dismaland Works – Banksy or not Banksy?”. The works come from gloomy land, an amusement park designed by the artist in England in 2015. “The Bruntrutaine exhibition was not authorized by Banksy: his work is intended for the street,” the exhibition’s designers state.

Strong symbols

Popa would like to invite the visitor to immerse himself in the universe of the street art star “through strong and significant symbols of his work”. The museum says it decided to introduce street artist Banksy through a series of works scattered around Dismaland, a “beyond bizarre” amusement park, in 2015. Dismaland is a portmanteau of gloomy (gloomy) and country (territory).

This park has been dubbed “the gritty version of Disneyland.” Banksy himself described it as “a family theme park unsuitable for children”.

five francs

From August 22 to September 27, 2015, access to the park was possible during the day or in the evening. The entrance fee for the park was three pounds sterling, or just under five francs. With several thousand visitors a day, the park brought in over thirty million Swiss francs.

In addition to the entrance fee, “Dismaland” consisted of various paid attractions. Banksy hijacked the attractions familiar to the general public: the ducks were sticky with heating oil and the wooden horse carousel fell victim to a serial killer who butchered his foals to make lasagna.

In the same spirit, we found a game that made it possible to steer small boats on a body of water that were filled to the brim with migrants that we could never disembark. The front desk staff was on a mission to be cold and distant.

The biggest mystery is the origin of the works presented in Porrentruy. There is no ‘Pest Control’ certificate like other Banksy works. The works presented were not created to be sold: they are not for sale.

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“You have to take your time, find your perspective, your distance…” explains Youri Messen-Jaschin.

lematin.ch/Sébastien Anex

The geometric information is so numerous that the brain is fooled.

The geometric information is so numerous that the brain is fooled.

lematin.ch/Sébastien Anex

The photographer from matin.ch almost faltered in front of a 3D work.

The photographer from matin.ch almost faltered in front of a 3D work.

lematin.ch/Sébastien Anex

At the same time, the Lausanne artist Youri Messen-Jaschin will be unveiling his works and optical illusions. Visitors are invited to test their brains. Through lots of oils, silkscreens and weavings, “you have to take your time, find your point of view, your distance… and colors appear,” the artist advises.

“Sometimes it looks like the squares are three-dimensional,” says Youri Messen-Jaschin, who has been working with brushes and mathematics for more than sixty years. “The geometric information is so numerous that the brain is fooled into inventing colors or movements,” he explains.

If he is wrong by two or three millimeters, the artist loses the optical illusion. For half a century, visitors have been plagued by dizziness, palpitations and migraines, and even pain in the solar plexus… Youri Messen-Jaschin exhibited his works in the Popa four years ago.

“What doesn’t exist”

His art is meticulous, mathematical and geometric. The slightest approach to a distance or thickness can disrupt an effect. “A color here, a shape there: the brain sees in my pictures what doesn’t exist,” the Lausanne artist summed it up.

The line is laid freehand, without a ruler or compass, sometimes with three bristles on the brush, so a painting can take two years. Convex or concave, inside or outside: every brain has its own vision. Too many lines and the brain becomes saturated: it adds elements that are not there…


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