CCA Exhibition: The Mound of Vendôme

On view at the CCA from 19 June to 14 September 2014 and curated by architectural historian David Gissen, The M ound of Vendöme revisits one key episode of French history when the Commune de Paris in 187 1 voted to demolish the Ve ndöme Column,abolishing all allusions to the Napoleonic era. To protect the surrounding architecture during demolition,a radical landscape was erected on Place Ve ndöme. lnformed by the methods of experimental history,Gissen’s ongoing research project and installation at the CCA traces the provocative history of the column and mound, while arguing for its historicisation and reconstruction.The mound is a seemingly simple yet provocative artifact: an ephemera l earthwork that became a central part of a radicalattempt to transform urban iconography during the two­ month rule of the Paris Commune in 187 1 . In his research and contemporary architectural proposal, David Gissen recalls this lost structure and offers new ways of thinking about memorial landscapes and monumental forms.As mirrors of the post,architectural monuments are reminders of collective memories and socio-political powers.Yet monuments are also subject to changes in va lues,representations and soc ial tensions overtime. The exhibition contextualises the mound with the historicalcontext of the Commune de Paris. On 12 A pril 1 87 1 the CentralComm ittee of the Paris Commune voted to demolish the Place Vendöme Column – a monument commissioned by Napoleon 1 in 1809 to represent his military victory at Austerlitz and renovated in 1 863 by his nephew Napoleon III to celebrate Bonapartist rule.

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