Inauguration on July 10, 2014, in Metz station, of the public commission of the German artist Stephan Balkenhol in tribute to Jean Moulin.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the death of Jean Moulin, on July 8, 2013, a public commission was initiated by the Prefecture of the Moselle and the City of Metz in memory of this great servant of the State, the youngest Prefect of his time, hero of the Resistance. Very naturally, Metz station, protected as a historical monument and crossed daily by 20,000 people, was chosen as the setting for this artistic project since it was there that Jean Moulin was officially declared dead on July 8, 1943.
The creation of a lasting and monumental work makes it possible not only to pay tribute to one of the great figures of France’s contemporary history but also to promote a national historic heritage and to participate fully in the enrichment of the living environment of Lorraine. This commission, by offering the opportunity to an artist, selected for his talent and his international reputation, to realize a work of great magnitude is fully in line with the commitment of the Minister of Culture and Communication, Aurélie Filippetti, to disseminate art in the public space in order to promote his encounter with the greatest number.
By entrusting the production of the work "Homage to Jean Moulin" to a German artist, whose father had been involved in reconciliation very early on, the steering committee of the public commission wished to shed light on the friendship between France and Germany today.
The monument created by Stephan Balkenhol paints an empathic portrait of Jean Moulin by approaching the character in its human aspect and avoiding any pathetic overstatement. His proposal is an installation, in the main hall of the Metz station, of a raised sculptural ensemble (for reasons of passenger flow, no work can be installed on the ground), with this apparent simplicity that characterizes the whole of his work.
Placed on a crossbar in the heart of an arch, the figure of Jean Moulin is thus sacralized. By limiting the height of the installation (approximately 2m70), the artist avoids the distance commonly attributed to heroes, perceived as untouchable. Stephan Balkenhol chose to surround the main character with three sculptures (all in bronze) that embody both ordinary passers-by (an anonymous crowd that people can identify with) and that also implicitly represent "the army of shadows" jean moulin.
This public order from the City of Metz and the Prefecture of the Moselle received the support of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and many sponsors. It is inaugurated on Thursday, July 10, 2014 in the presence of several personalities.