Saint Etienne.  The street artist C215 came to do graffiti for La Rotonde

Saint Etienne. The street artist C215 came to do graffiti for La Rotonde

Guillaume Desbrosse could not believe his eyes when he received, about two years ago, via Twitter, a message from C215, one of the most famous French street artists, known internationally. “I was at home, it was during confinement. He had written to me that he really liked what we were doing and that he would like to set up a project with us. I checked several times that it was not a joke or a fake…”

Guillaume Desbrosse is the director of La Rotonde, the center for scientific, technical and industrial culture at the School of Mines, which organizes exhibitions, events and workshops with the aim of popularizing science among the general public. The man is also a big fan of street art, and an admirer of C215.

“Science is essential in our time”

However, it turns out that, conversely, the street artist (whose real name is Christian Guémy) is passionate about the scientific field. “I am a historian by training and I am very curious about the history of science. I find that the sciences are essential today, in a time when many truths are contradicted, are doubted by public opinion. »

In 2015, the street artist presented a major exhibition entitled “E = mc215” (in reference to the famous formula “E = mc 2 by Albert Einstein), at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris. Portraits of scientists, men and women, some very well known to the general public, others less known “but just as important”. “I then completed my collection as I went…”

Also some pop culture figures like Yoda and Emmett Brown

These are some of these portraits, chosen with the team of La Rotonde, that C215 came to graffiti in Saint-Étienne, this Wednesday all day. About twenty very colorful works, painted using the stencil technique, his speciality. We thus find Marie Curie, Commander Cousteau, Galilée, Haroun Tazieff, Jules Verne… Or even Rosalind Frankin, Georges Charpak, Peter Higgs… As well as some pop culture figures, but also having a link with science, or at least science fiction: Yoda and C-3PO Star WarsEmmett Brown of Back to the future

Ten of these portraits were taken at Explora, the new La Rotonde site opened in September 2021 and located above Joseph-Sanguedolce Park (Couriot). The others are located at La Soucoupe (the historic site of La Rotonde, Cours Fauriel), at the Planetarium, at the Museum of Art and Industry and at the Cité du design.

“Another way of understanding science”

These C215 stencils are works of art, but they were also, and even above all, designed as teaching aids. “The idea is to take a side step,” stresses Guillaume Desbrosse. This is yet another way, through art, to get people interested in science. »

La Rotonde wishes in particular to organize guided walking tours with a mediator. Everyone will also be able to find a map of the works and all the information on the scientists represented on the La Rotonde website.

Note that this project was financially supported by the City of Saint-Étienne.

A local regular

It was not the first time that C215 set foot in the Loire. He has indeed come several times. In particular in 2015, as part of an exhibition at the Berthéas art gallery.

For the anecdote, he had then made a portrait on an electrical cabinet next to the gallery, place Maxime-Gorki. The door of the cupboard, and therefore the work, had been stolen one night by students, before the latter, seized with remorse (or panic following the media coverage of the affair), do not return it a few days later.

C215 also came to paint in Roche-la-Molière in 2018, as part of the Safir street art festival. He had painted a superb cat (one of his recurring motifs) on a wall behind the town hall, which was unfortunately demolished a few months ago (as part of development works).

Finally, more recently, C215 went to Estivareilles, in Haut-Forez, in July 2021, to present an exhibition of portraits of resistance fighters at the Museum of 20th Century History – Resistance and Deportation. He had also made four graffiti in the streets of the town.

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