Each year, MONUMENTA invites an artist of international stature to invest the 13,500 m² and 35 m of height of the Nave du Grand Palais, with an original work, specially designed for this space.

Daniel Buren dans la Nef du Grand Palais

After the success of the first four editions of MONUMENTA entrusted to the German painter Anselm Kiefer in 2007, to the American sculptor Richard Serra in 2008, to the French artist Christian Boltanski in 2010, then to the British artist born in India Anish Kapoor, which attracted more than 270,000 visitors in six and a half weeks in 2011, Daniel Buren, one of the most recognized and honoured French creators in the world – both by his peers and the public – took up the challenge from May 10 to June 21, 2012.

Daniel Buren has created nearly two thousand exhibitions worldwide. Born in 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt, he declares that he lives and works in situ, emphasizing the fundamental importance of the sites in which and for which it creates. He transfigured the Guggenheim in New York or the Cour d'honneur of the Palais Royal in Paris. In 2012, MONUMENTA offers him to confront all the excess, beauty, light and history of the Nave of the Grand Palais.

Daniel Buren has been pursuing for fifty years a radical work thanks to a range of «visual tools» in minimal appearance but which engage the visitor in a profound metamorphosis of his perception: what he thought he knew is, by the grace of simple gestures but with tremendous possibilities, as if turned on itself. The place becomes inseparable from the work that reveals its hidden dimensions, and the gaze suddenly sees «differently». If the artistic work, the theoretical reflection, the modes of intervention of Daniel Buren have changed the apprehension of contemporary art, the attachment of the artist to the primordial sense of vision, to color as «raw thought» as well as the latitude and the pleasure of experimentation which it offers to the spectator have also ensured the favour of the general public.

For MONUMENTA 2012, Daniel Buren will immerse visitors in the heart of a transformed Grand Palais. Their journey in space will make them actively participate in the deployment and the plastic and spatial activation of a new work, faithful to the demanding approach of a great artist whose discretion of tools generates a maximum of effects, revealing hidden dimensions, a previously invisible potential, an ancient and present-day history.

The force of evidence of the work of Daniel Buren constitutes a fertile ground for putting into action the democratization of access to contemporary art. To this end, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, through the editions of MONUMENTA, has created a device designed to accommodate the most diverse audiences implemented by the National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP). To meet all expectations and so that everyone can, beyond a priori, become familiar with contemporary art, visitors can have – free – the accompaniment of specialized mediators, the knowledge and talents of teachers multiply the possibilities of access and understanding of the work.

In collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, school audiences benefit from specific, multidisciplinary and playful programming, from kindergarten to high school, including dance practice workshops, in partnership with the Théâtre national de Chaillot. The pedagogical activities, which make extensive use of the Internet, allow to connect the work of the artist to the programs of the students. Thematic visits, from all generations, also create a link with the work of Daniel Buren. At the same time, MONUMENTA offers visits to disabled audiences to facilitate their access to today’s heritage. Finally, throughout the exhibition, a program of evenings proposes to make dialogue the word, music or dance with the work of Daniel Buren, in order to discover new aspects.

According to the artist’s wishes, he did not want a curator to accompany him in the implementation of his project. The CNAP is directly responsible for these artistic production missions. In addition, Daniel Buren asked Patrick Bouchain and Loïc Julienne, from the architectural agency "Construire – Reconstruction", to take over the project.

The construction of the ensemble is entrusted to «Art Project», directed by Patrick Ferragne, who has accompanied Daniel Buren many times over the past twenty years for achievements both in France and abroad.


Daniel Buren also wanted to continue his «informal» exchanges with Jean-Louis Froment who will also accompany him during the gestation of this exhibition.

The entrance fee to MONUMENTA is 5 euros, with a reduced rate of 2.50 euros. The cultural program (accessible with the entrance ticket) offers concerts, shows, readings and meetings in connection with the work of Daniel Buren. A bilingual, well-documented website allows you to prepare and deepen your visit.

Several editions accompany the event. An album of the exhibition, co-edited by the CNAP and the public establishment of the Reunion of National Museums - Grand Palais, a monograph, co-edited by the CNAP and Flammarion, "Les Écrits - 1965-2011", a basic work, essential for the in-depth knowledge of the work of Daniel Buren, a book of more than 3,000 pages, co-edited also by the CNAP and Flammarion and a booklet of pedagogical resources published by the Regional Centre for Pedagogical Documentation, in collaboration with the CNAP.

MONUMENTA is organized by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, which has entrusted the project management of the event to the Directorate General of Artistic Creation, project management delegated to the Centre national des arts plastiques and production at the Réunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais.

1. The Museum that did not exist at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Centre Pompidou Metz recently, but also in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Mexico City (Mexico), Lyon, Tours, England, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland...