Paris 2024 Olympic Games: “It’s my way of participating in the party”, the extraordinary work of a French artist to celebrate the Olympic medalists

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: “It’s my way of participating in the party”, the extraordinary work of a French artist to celebrate the Olympic medalists

L’œuvre atypique d’un artiste français pour célébrer les 30 249 médaillés olympiques. MAXPPP – Matthieu Mirville

L’article français Baptiste Chebassier a créé une œuvre atypique pour célébrer le nom des 30 249 médaillés olympiques de l’ère moderne depuis la première édition en 1986.

Write by hand and in chronological order the names of the 30 249 Olympic medalists of the modern era since the first edition in 1896 : this is the  rsquo;atypical work by French artist Baptiste Chebassier that he wishes to complete before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, from July 26 to August 11.

Entitled "Amateurs", the project of this 27-year-old sports enthusiast was born three years earlier at the following reading an article from the newspaper L’Équipe and discovering the work of Roman Opalka.

This Polish artist produced a work over a period of 46 years, from 1965 to his death in 2011, whose objective was to question time since he painted numbers infinitely which follow one another.

A work 120 meters long

"This gesture symbolizes the time I am willing to dedicate for this event. It’s my way of participating in the celebration that Paris 2024 is going to be and which is 500 meters from my home", explains Baptiste Chebassier, interviewed at his home in Saint -Ouen-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis).

According to his projections, the work should be 120 meters long with 12 separate rolls of paper with an average of 3,000 names each.

At the start of his project, he devoted himself to his work one to two hours a day before increasing the pace two months after resigning from his position as an innovation consultant.

"We are no longer celebrating performance but by celebrating it all the same, we are not putting one person forward, we have 30& ;nbsp;000 people who have dedicated part of their lives to pushing the limits of the human being, of performance, of excellence, of repetition through their work, through effort& quot;, he explains.

"In itself, I write names, so it’s an activity that is very repetitive, sometimes boring, sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it. Many of my friends don't understand."

Meeting athletes

As he completes it, he sometimes takes the work out of the room in which he works to meet medal-winning athletes. He notably greeted on Tuesday in Aix-les-Bains (Savoie) the Frenchwoman Perrine Pelen, triple Olympic alpine ski medalist in 1980 and 1984, when registering her name.

"I am very honored to be among the names of all these medalists. This is an opportunity to reiterate how important an Olympic medal is. And the expression allows you to have your name engraved, declared Perrine Pelen.

"Meeting the athletes means experiencing a moment, it’s sharing a moment, it’s anchoring that name in a reality", says Baptiste Chebassier. The artist is currently writing the names of medalists from the 1980s and hopes to complete his work before the start of the Olympic Games to continue day by day with the new athletes who will win honors in Paris.

"I wanted to add them (the Paralympic athletes), but the database does not exist. In any case largely incomplete. But I am committed to doing it once we have created the database", he specifies.

Baptiste Chebassier would like his fresco to be seen by the public and athletes but does not yet have an exhibition location.

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