Swiss artist Felice Varini was recently invited by the National Center for National Monuments to mark the 20th anniversary of the medieval fortified town of Carcassonne that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Varini installed disorienting yellow rings made of thin aluminum strips across the historic stones of the Carcassonne Castle. However, his installation has invited controversy and has outraged the locals, who have reproached the artist of “desecrating" the ramparts of the French fortress.
The Carcassonne Castle attracts over four million visitors every year and is therefore regarded as France's second-most visited tourist site after the Eiffel Tower. However, now that this colossal hilltop castle in the Languedoc-Roussillon region bears resemblance to a huge aim at a shooting range, has left many tourists unimpressed. [The Sun]
Tourism Carcassonne has been endorsing the site’s newfangled guise, and they call the stripes as “eccentric circles,” which are part of an event highlighting heritage and contemporary art in the area.
The Sun quotes the organization: “Varini's spiralling artwork spread like a wave, fragmenting and recomposing the geometry of the circles on the towers and curtain walls of the fortifications."
The bright yellow concentric circles were intended to lighten the city for five months. However, since many locals and tourists believe that the installation ruins the beauty of the city; over 2000 people have signed a petition to remove the artist’s work. The online petition even compares Varini's artwork to a fluorescent life jacket. [Le Monde]
"What a shame to pay tens of thousands of Euros [for it]. It completely ruins this beautiful city," The Sun quotes a local.
While most tourists and locals express dismay over the aluminum circles exhibited across the medieval walls of the castle, some visitors have applauded the artwork calling it “cool,” if looked at from a right angle.
Even though his installation has received much criticism, visual artist Felice Varini continues to be positive and defends his work. According to him, the circles perfectly match the city's stonework. He also let go of the concerns of the locals, associating their reaction with their profound attachment to the heritage.
Founder Louise Blouin