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May 68, the walls are talking

jeudi 21 septembre 2017

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  • "Mille et une nuit pour le pavé", poster from the Atelier Populaire, 26 May 1968
    Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (MuCEM) / Franck Raux

May 68: a visual look back at the most important political, social and cultural revolt of the past 50 years.

As the students' anger grew, political posters filled the streets, taking over from advertising posters. Spontaneous and prolific creativity is a free form of expression against the political establishment. 

The Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris

During the occupation of the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris, the need to produce a larger numbers of posters led to the creation of the "Atelier Populaire ex-école des Beaux-Arts", where the use ofscreen printing allowed the production of 2,000 posters per day.

Recteur de la répression policière Roche. Atelier populaire de l'ex-Ecole des beaux-arts. Photo (C) Beaux-Arts de Paris, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image Beaux-arts de Paris

L'Atelier Populaire de Marseille

'Ateliers Populaires' (people's workshops) began appearing in several big cities: Toulouse, Caen, Marseille, Montpellier and Bordeaux. In February 1969, a set of forty-three posters created by the Atelier Populaire de Marseille was donated to the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires. We find the same assertions as elsewhere: the fight against reactionary right wing organisations like Action Française, protests against a bureaucratic and repressive government, and a demand for the practical involvement of young people in public life.


Ne faites pas de politique, le gouvernement la fait pour vous, Atelier populaire de Marseille / Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (MuCEM) / Franck Raux


Artists testimonies: Gérard Fromanger and Asger Jorn 

Gérard Fromanger, known for his involvement with May 68 and the Atelier Populaire des Beaux-Arts in particular, produced 21 screen prints that reproduced scenes of conflict and the barricades with protesters coloured in red that he collected into the album "Le Rouge".

"Le Rouge" album by Gérard Fromanger / Photo (C) Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Georges Meguerditchian


The Danish artist Asger Jorn took part in the events of May 68 with four posters supporting the student revolts in Paris.

Poster by John Asger  / Photo (C) Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat