Le Monument Vivant de Biron
The Living Monument of Biron
Biron, Dordogne, France 1996
The French Ministry of Culture commissioned Jochen Gerz to renew the old monument to the fallen, Le Monument aux morts, in the village of Biron. The artist asked all the residents of Biron the same question on one condition: they would not reveal it. Their 127 replies were then enameled onto red brass plaques and attached to the monumentís replaced obelisk, a substitute to the one erected in 1921. Further to the dedication of The Living Monument on July 13, 1996, a married couple from the village was to ask the same secret question to newly arriving residents and to young inhabitants when they reach adulthood. The new answers are then added to the monument.
Visit the site for The Living Monument of Biron

When you are twenty years old, it seems impossible to die. Perhaps for freedom. You thank those who died for you. Freedom always comes first, but you never know what the future will bring. There have always been wars. Among us Europeans as well. I lived through the 1940s, and in spite of all the dead and the horrors, we were nonetheless very very happy.

The goal is to put an end to war. We're not fighting against an enemy, but against war. It's no longer enough to defend your country; you must also defend its values.

Object: Sandstone obelisk on a two-level base; reddish-brown enameled plaques with white, silk-screened writing, 10 x 17,5 x 1 cm each. Total measurements: 360 x 316 x 316 cm.
Site: Place Jean Poussou, Biron. In collaboration with students at the Ecole municipale des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.

- Le Monument Vivant de Biron, The Living Monument of Biron, Actes Sud, Arles 1996 (French)

» Click to open book order form.

© Frédéric Delpeche
© Frédéric Delpeche

Georges Schlocker 1996, Jochen Gerz Le Monument De Biron in: Kultur Chronik 6 / 1996. Article in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian.