Over the past two years there has been a silent artistic revolution in Limoges.
It all started in rue Alphonse Daudet. During the night. One moment everything was normal, the next I was treading on a web of creativity, a lacework of muscular black lines under my feet. So began a quest to discover whether this was just an isolated phenomenon or something more important, a sea-change in the urban environment. Two years later, it has clearly spread across the town and continues to grow.
What am I talking about?
The mysterious tar lines of Limoges of course.
Extremes of temperature like frost and snow or heat waves combined with heavy traffic, torrential rain and the occasional earth tremor all cause cracks to appear in the tarmac that covers the surface of our roads. The traditional method of repairing cracks is to patch them with bitumen. Potential cracks are treated with liquid tar which seals any holes that might have started and acts as a flexible plaster when the road surface expands and contracts.
Up until recently, the machinery to do this was cumbersome and heavy. My hypothesis is that repair gangs now have access to a much lighter machine that gives the operator unprecedented freedom to move and make supple, calligraphic lines.
Imagine having a giant paintbrush and a canvas the size of a street. Some of the workers seem to have great style. I wonder if an artist hasn’t secretly infiltrated one of the teams?
Could this be the new tar "paintbrush"?
A Project I would like you to map any roads you think have been treated in an interesting way. Note the name of the street. Use any method you prefer as a means to document or record samples of the styles. Compare them with samples from friends. Can you identify individual styles? Combine them like a jigsaw puzzle. Turn them into a motif you can incorporate in your work. Tell a story with them. Imagine what you might paint if you had the machine for one night.
Feel free to interpret this project any way you like, working individually or in a group. Good luck!