Known for her unique expression and meditative installations, the street artist Mademoiselle Maurice embarked on another endeavor in conquering the hearts of spectators - primarily the ones of the Parisian 13th arrondissement. Her signature origami birds now cover the area of 2000 square meters, composing the largest urban mural ever made in the French capital. The piece is a combination of the artist’s origami work and her painterly skill, spreading the message of peace and harmony across the city. Realized in close collaboration with Mathgoth Gallery, the piece makes a singular work of public art that will embellish the town of Paul Bourget for a certain period of time.
Inspired by both human nature and the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, Mademoiselle Maurice explores the interactions of the man and his environment, focusing on urban surroundings. Dedicated to delivering the message of optimism, she always donates 20% of her proceeds to humanitarian or environmental associations. Contemplatively powerful and poetically vibrant, her public artwork speaks to the observer on several levels, bearing communiques of universal and particular quality. While the entire human population can relate with these anti-globalization messages, the references to endangered or troubled cultures, such as Aboriginal, can be found in her works. Said references are interwoven through color, geometric shapes of the painted and the paper, in the implied ornamentation and the multitude of vantage points.
The Lunar Cycle mural project is imagined as an ephemeral piece realized within the restructuring project of the Paul Bourget town of the 13th Parisian arrondissement. The building holding the mural at this time will be demolished towards the end of the year to make room for new housing capacities for the inhabitants.
Having 140 meters in length and 15 meters in height, the entire front of the structure was first painted black by the artist. Thus prepared background now holds about 15,000 origami pieces, folded over 150 hours of work. The bright palette of the origami, pops against the dark background, adding to the communicative potential of the entire art piece.
The vast mural was realized despite the harsh, rainy weather and the fact that a large number of paper foldings was destroyed. This is when Mademoiselle Maurice invented a solution named ‘Maurigamis’ - a painted origami that cannot be destroyed by any weather conditions. Positivity, invitation to contemplate on the cyclic nature of time and the necessary changes we all must face are meant to inspire the locals to accept and welcome the structural developments in their own neighborhood, keeping its history and spirit alive.
Widewalls reached out to the industrious young artist, chatting about one of the greatest achievements of her career as a public artist so far.
Widewalls: Your latest mural in Paris covers the surface of 2000 m2. What prompted you to take upon such a large-scale task?
Mademoiselle Maurice: Yes it was a really big surface... holy shit.. (sorry)... but we did it!
I can not say no to a project like that because it's a so beautiful opportunity... And because I really like challenges... and because I was really lucky to be chosen for this project... and it was the first wall in Paris so big...
Therefore, I like to work on really big scale because it's the best way to give to the passers by a kind of real immersion... more than a mural, it can be see like an installation, and you can maybe be lost in the creation easily...
WW: What did the production process look like? Did you have the support of the community?
MM: The production process was really long and complicated. Fortunately, I had great help thanks to the Mathgoth Gallery family and team... They were here from the beginning, thinking about EVERYTHING!!! Materials, food, drinks, material, moral support and more!
For the process, I had first to fold thousands of origamis... some friends help me to do the 1/3... But I had to fold the other one... for weeks and weeks... really long evenings: drinking beer and folding origamis...
After, the next step was to paint the entire wall in Black... I did it in three days with my little arms, with the help of my friend Michel who was the lift driver... and after that, there were 2 weeks of installation for sticking / sticking and fighting with the rain.
All the viewers give us a lot of support, since the people who lived there could vote and choose 1 design (I proposed them 3 sketches.)
And a lot of children or adults wanted can help to put the tape on the folding. Therefore, I did a presentation at the school in front in the building, and another one with the people who lived in the building. That was a big team project - alone I couldn’t do it… Lots of work but, great memories!
WW: What was this amazing piece inspired by?
MM: It's about Cycles of the Moon, about the change, the movement, the story of the life.
Work with the moon was a tribute to my grandmother too who is watching the moon phases for the garden and vegetables growing.
And I wanted to speak about the process of change, because hundreds of inhabitants lived in this building that they will have to leave (for safety reasons). It was a big trauma for a lot of them because they spent their lives there, sometimes even there since they were born. They will come back later into the new building, but waiting for that they can say goodbye to their home with colors and with the evocation of changes.
And the thousands of origamis were birds - because a team of guys work on the history of the building and they used the evocation of the "the phoenix that rises from the ashes".
Of course the rainbow colors are here to give the positive feeling, and an ode to the Nature and its beauty and about the "living together", all the same, all human, even all different.
WW: The mixture of techniques you employed in the making of this piece is particularly interesting. Can you elaborate a bit on this and tell us what lies behind the decision to combine origami and the traditional stenciling method?
MM: First of all, I didn’t plan to paint the origamis, the ones that I called "Maurigami".
But during the installation, we had one week of middle rain. Everything was ok that time. But after, we had a big storm and crazy rain again and the wall became a waterfall and hundreds of origami fell off. Instead of putting them back and take the risk of losing them again, I’ve decided to give a longer-standing memorial with the paint. Finally, that gave an interesting effect, with play on 2D and 3D and with variations of colors.
The mural created by Mademoiselle Maurice was proposed and selected by the locals’ votes among the three submitted projects. As such, it enjoys a large support and admiration by the people for whom it was essentially made, inspiring other communities to get involved within their surroundings more. Over the 3 week period, the people of the district were encouraged to visit and observe the work on the site, as was any exchange and communication between the observers and the artist.
Lastly, after exhausting 500 liters of black paint, making 15.000 origami birds, painting 2.000 Maurigamis, Mademoiselle Maurice covered the huge area with a well thought-out, inspirational monument. Sadly, the piece will only be preserved in photos after the demolition of the building, but its impact will surely last on, just like her newly-discovered technique most definitely will.
All images courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery, Paris, France