As a world debut, the first GoLux of the new Goboservice series could not aspire to a more relevant and prestigious urban context for its operational baptism: the “Ville Lumiere”. The Eiffel Tower, the dome “des Invalides”, the Arc de Triomphe and the National Library are the four most important monuments that have unwittingly been the backdrop to the self-promotional incursions of a controversial French artist, John Hamon – the “best known unknown face of the capital ”- as the media have renamed it, whose enigmatic smile has recently become more famous than that of the Mona Lisa.
Especially now that it has been projected with a powerful and concentrated beam of light on the monuments of Paris. The image generated by the Golux that the 34-year-old photographer carried up and down the boulevards of the metropolis together with a small electric generator, then bounced back on social networks across the Alps, fueling debates and controversies and thus managing to hit the target of his promoter: to be talked about.
This is not a new initiative. Hamon inaugurated his very personal form of Street art in 2002 by compulsively wallpapering the city with the photo used for his identity card. Nothing else. A beautiful and good provocation in the name of the slogan: “c’est la promotion qui fait dell’arteiste ou le degré zéro de dell’arte”. One evening a week spent around hanging between 50 and 100 posters on fences, construction sites, walls and bases, arousing the most diverse reactions: from complacency to fierce criticism. Everyone was talking about this illustrious stranger while he remained (and remains) in rigorous silence, continuing his work of communicating in 33 countries and 77 cities with the simple help of a group of friends.
Time passes, the paper fades and the projection technique evolves and so, it must be asked, why not try a 2.0 version of this form of visual communication? An internet search leads the young man’s intuition to stop on the Italian company’s website. Fill out the form on the Goboservice store to purchase ONE projector and ONE gobo. Commercials and creatives look at each other perplexed while the image is reproduced on the computer to be brought back on the glass and wonder who is the mysterious subject that will be represented. In less than 24 hours the product is finished and shipped to France and so in a humid Parisian night, the epigone of Batman begins to shoot his own identity logo at a distance on the main monuments of the city with a speed that the previous system gives. sticking with paper and glue certainly did not allow it. Now he just has to start the generator, press the power button and focus the image by establishing its size using the powerful manual zoom provided. A few seconds and the clear blow-up of light is seen by hundreds of people. And then off again in another part of the city to repeat the undertaking, also generating involuntary comic situations such as when – and we arrived in mid-June – he telephones the officials of the “Palais de Tokyo” to propose an exhibition. Too late, the officials realize that Hamon did not want to do it in the palace but on the palace.
The large glass facade overlooking the Seine has suddenly become the glittering frame of the artist’s satisfied face. All this thanks to the extreme versatility of the projector given by the ease of use and its lightness. elements that allowed Hamon to move quickly by himself, making fun not only of obligations, prohibitions and prescriptions but also of hypothesized technical limits of the buildings themselves. Such as the iron texture of the Great Tower. The security officers had branded as “fake” the image made to run on social media of the face that stood out on the second level coinciding with the conjunction of the pillars. The artist, who nourishes his fame through a deliberate mix of provocation and communicative reserve, takes note of it and responds with a second challenge, informing by email that he would repeat the feat by posting a video of the shooting this time. This is what happened, as can be verified on the jhonhamon.com site and at this point, not without a hint of embarrassment, the top management of the management company, “Sete”, had to surrender to the evidence. The Golux’s light beam was also right about the empty spaces of the pylons, managing to mark the most famous tower in France with the provocative smile of Hamon.
Photo by John Hamon Projection