Codex Urbanus to Subtly Invade the Gustave Moreau Museum

May 7, 2016

The Gustave Moreau Museum, designed by the French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, located in the artist’s home, and donated to the State in his will, opened its doors in 1903, and its original layout has since then been preserved in keeping with the artist’s wishes. The need to be remembered was one of the driving forces that pushed Moreau to create the museum, and this need to emphasize the existence of the work of art is just one of the points where the old master of symbolism art meets with the Street artist Codex Urbanus, known for his presentation of imaginary creators in tattoo art, cartoon strips, and of course, Urban art. This meeting of the two worlds, of the old and traditional form of art and the new Urban and Street art, is just one of the reasons that you should visit the museum and experience the magic of the residency that the Street artist Codex Urbanus will take up in the rooms of this institution. Be prepared to feast your eyes with the most magical creatures you could possibly imagine.

gustave moreau museum
Codex Urbanus - Hydre Lerne

The Shared Love

In sharing Moreau’s love for dreams, imagination, and Symbolism, the artist Codex Urbanus, also shares his desire to present and preserve a world of drawing and illustration. For years now, the streets of Paris, are his pages upon which the artist draws his impossible creations, giving them a brief life, before the cleaning service of Paris erases them. This urban manuscript, or Codex Urbanus in Latin, presented a host of strange chimera and fantastical animals, brought the artist to the attention of the general public. The artist’s work is a form of Street Symbolism, which connects him to Gustave Moreau, and both explore the world of imagination but in different mediums. Now, in the streets, the spray can and marker pen, have replaced oil paint and the artist’s palette. Codex also raises in his work the question concerning the ephemeral quality of his street art, where each of his work is destined for eventual destruction. This need of trying to preserve and the confrontation with immortality was also a driving force behind Moreau’s need to have his museum.

gustave moreau museum
Left: Codex Urbanus - Concert Oiseaux / Right: Codex Urbanus - La Question

The Quest for Immortality

By entering the museum, Codex is also entering into a personal relationship with Gustave Moreau’s work and is shedding his own particular light on them. This show is taking the public through every floor of the museum on a journey of discovery combining the dreamlike and symbolic, offering a new perspective on Moreau’s work next to which Codex will present his own works on a number of different supports, such as canvas with the anti-graffiti coating, paper and old press cuttings. Each floor of the museum covers a different topic, such as the questions concerning the immortality of the artist’s persona and the Street art, and the question surrounding the notion of the myth and the legend. The artist Codex is raising also the question of the potential existence of the Gustave Moreau legend; Did the painter, through his magical and epic creators become a legend, a fantastical character only temporarily absent from his home, inviting generations of artists and intellectuals to continue his work?

gustave moreau museum
Left: Codex Urbanus - Vendus Ennemi / Right: Codex Urbanus - Romanciers, detail

Gustave Moreau Museum and Codex Urbanus

For The Long Night of Museums, the artist Codex Urbanus will take up residency at the Gustave Moreau Museum. From 18th to 30th May 2016, his own world of imaginary, bestiary themed works will meet those of the French painter Gustave Moreau, most famous for his illustration of the biblical and mythological creators. The meeting point of the two worlds and the shedding of the light onto traditional art and the street art at the same time will culminate in the evening of 21st May 2016, when the artist Codex Urbanus will present a public performance. Codex will produce his own pen and ink drawing in Moreau’s studio, from 7pm til 11pm. The museum is now a place where the creations born on Paris walls come to life, and where the mythological creatures of both artists gather.

All images courtesy of the artist and Gustave Moreau Museum. Featured image in slider: Codex Urbanus – Predation; Codex Urbanus – La Question, detail; Codex Urbanus – Louvre Medieval; Codex Urbanus – Louvre Medieval, detail; Codex Urbanus- In Situ- Gustave Moreau Museum; Codex Urbanus- In Situ- Gustave Moreau Museum; Codex Urbanus- In Situ- Gustave Moreau Museum.