Art is usually a bit isolated. Paintings and sculpture sit quietly in museum halls, hang in place on gallery walls or in collectors’ homes. A certain amount of sculpture punctuates city streets and parks, but for the most part we don’t encounter that many art objects unintentionally.
Panos Fake Roadsigns is a collaborative project that takes the work of 47 artists from around the world, in the form of 105 fake road signs, and turns the streets of Lyon, France into an enormous gallery without walls.
The round red and white signs look enough like real European traffic signs that you might take them for granted, but weird enough if you notice them to make you stop and think; which is likely what people will do with signs that seem to indicate “octopus ahead”, “bubble blowing not permitted”, “feces area” or “fallopian tube zone”.
I’m not always fond of “installation” art that takes itself too seriously, but this project has a delightful sense of humor, lots playful absurdity and a wonderful scale. The accompanying web site gives a little (very little) background on the project, but the interesting thing, of course, is the signs themselves.
Unfortunately the site is hampered by a rather cramped Flash interface. Go to the “Artists” tab and click through them to see the signs both in situ and close up. Under the sign design you will find links to all of that artist’s designs as well as a link to that artist or studio’s site. Each artist or studio contributed one to three designs.
Keep your eyes open when you’re walking around, you never know when you may be walking through a gallery.