Gilbert Boyer

L'ange interdit

20 October - 30 November 1996

"Around the Place de la Gare de Lille Gilbert Boyer used a hundred engraved padlocks which he attached to the street furniture intented to prevent people from crossing the road except on supposedly safe pedestrian crossings. The engraving always consists of two words arranged on two lines: the word rien (nothing) crossed through, and below it a verb. According to the historical dictionnary of the French language the French word for padlock (cadenas) is derived from catena, which in Latin means "chain". The list of the verbs engraved on the padlocks also forms a chain. A chain can be intended to prevent access- but prevent access to what?


The padlocks Gilbert Boyer offers to the hands and eyes of passers-by do not turn their thoughts to comtemplation , as an icon does; they invite them to look as they walk along, memorising as they do so, they since the list of verbs is constitued as they pass. And the expression "urban poetry" used by the artist/author is appropriate: the space between the verbs is rhythm, and the rhythm of walking carries on in an internal music, at the same time as the sum total of the verbs gradually draws a mental landscape."

Denis-Laurent Bouyer