Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
The rallying cry of the French revolution and the ideal that is the proud foundation of modern France.
On the 14 July 1789 the Parisien stronghold of La Bastille was overthrown, the power was firmly in the hands of the people and the aristocracy were left in tatters. Centuries of French history had been violently turned upside down. The future belonged to the citizens -" le jour de gloire " had finally arrived . . . . that is until Napoleon, with an eye for the main chance, ceremoniously crowned himself Emperor of France and embarked on his autocratic albeit stylish dictatorship. " plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. "
Today living in 21 st century New Zealand we so often take for granted the basic tenets of freedom, equality and fraternity.
At Haunt this month we pay homage to the lofty ideals of the French revolution with a setting inspired by the pomp and ceremony of French patriotism.
A pair of deconstructed, 19th century, Louis 15 style bergères are stripped back to a patchwork of red, white and blue ticking. These chairs could have been plucked from the set of Les Miserables, their faded grandeur echoing the ransacked chateaux and the devastation of the nobility.
The industrial pieces remind us of the gritty reality and pragmatic motivations of the revolution. Centre stage is a mid 20th century industrial sideboard from Marseille. The sideboard is awash with industrial charm, the peacock blue paint and steel top are original. The large industrial steel pendant light is one of six and is finished in a deep, dusky, midnight blue enamel with a white interior. These lights originally hung in a textile factory in Lyon.
Above the sideboard hangs an unknown amateur's copy of Delacroix's painting - Liberty leading the people. This image refers to the revolution of 1830 - another century, another revolution. The personification of Liberty is also symbolic of France herself and she leads the people forward brandishing the tricolour towards a hopeful and glorious future - an imagined free and equal society, somewhere like contemporary New Zealand perhaps.