I last featured the extraordinary Demeure du Chaos—literally Abode of Chaos—over two years ago. Rather than rehash that long post, I encourage you to give it a quick read before proceding, since it provides the background on an artistic call to arms recently launched by Demeure creator and lead artist Thierry Erhmann.
As the inheritor of a large fortune, and a successful creator of Internet-based businesses, such as his ArtPrice.com art auction results site, Erhmann is in a privileged position to make whatever artistic vision possesses him take form. The most recent example of this has been the construction of the Demeure du Chaos, transforming over a period of nine years what was once a charming old property in a sleepy town just outside Lyon, France, into a hive of artistic activity.
The Demeure is now home to more than 2,900 works commissioned from artists around the globe and constructed in situ under the watchful eye of Erhmann, who can sometimes be spotted lending a hand with the construction. This remarkable site is one of the more ambitious and authentic art world projects and has understandably garnered praise in the art press and also attracted the interest of the general public, a difficult combination to pull off. In fact, more than 120,000 of the curious make their way to the Demeure each year to observe its evolution.
All would seem to be well—except for the relentless attempts by local town officials to have Erhmann tear down the whole thing and put the property back to the way it was when he bought it. This has resulted in an epic struggle of wills that has dragged through the courts for nine years. I'm covering the Demeure for the second time because it's faced with a serious judicial threat and Erhmann is calling for support from the global art community via signing its petition.
Before going that route, you can get some additional background in English and view thousands of shots of the Demeure on Flikr. Alas, the petition itself is in French but if you're up for participating, I can tell you that it's simply a request to the French Minister of Culture to protect the Demeure du Chaos from judicial threats of destruction, such as the one it's currently trying to ward off. Not worth the effort? Don't forget, just as in an election, every voice counts.