Photo: Profimedia

Daniel Buren. Ephemeral exhibition “Around the roads and paths” installed on the island

At the invitation of the town of Ile d'Arz, Daniel Buren, a major figure in contemporary art, came to discover the island and its exceptional environment in the Gulf of Morbihan. From this meeting was born a unique journey of 7 works, entitled "At the bend of roads and paths, 7 works in situ".

4 mins read

This exhibition, which will be held from June 30, 2022 to October 30, 2023, is an initiative of the Ile d’Arz organized with the department of Morbihan and the support of the Ministry of Culture.

These interventions, all carried out on site and using the simplest materials, are an invitation to grasp the charm of this small island of Brittany. From the port of Béluré to the tip of Liouse, passing through the town and village of Pennero, the visitor will walk through multicolored porticoes, plays of light and alignments of colours. Come and discover or rediscover the Ile d’Arz, and let yourself be surprised at the detour of the roads and paths!

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France. Brittany. Morbihan (56). Island of Arz. Embarcadere de Belure, One of the works of the ephemeral exhibition “Au detour des routes et des chemins” by the famous visual artist Daniel Buren, installed on the island until November 2023 (Photo by Antoine LORGNIER / via AFP)

Daniel Buren likes to say that some of his works borrow from the landscape. This concept comes from the Japanese word Shakkei, which designates a tradition of Japanese gardens consisting in including through openings of various shapes, a kind of window, the near and distant landscape of the background in the garden, giving an impression of infinity.

The landscape, humbly borrowed, thus becomes a component of the garden, but it has not been appropriated. It is this image which appeared much more interesting to Daniel Buren than the usual terms of framing, of inclusion, but it is indeed about that: framing the landscape, the environment in the work, or integrating the work in a landscape.

For Daniel Buren, there is borrowed landscape when there is osmosis between the addition and the existing, this term seriously reinforcing the fact that the existing, even transformed, does not belong to him.

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French artist Daniel Buren exhibits on the island of Arz until november 2023. All the sculptures have been made on the island by Cedric and Iban, local carpenters. Photo: Profimedia

After being requested by the Town Hall of Ile d’Arz for a specific intervention and after several visits to the site, accompanied by the curator Joel Benzakin, Daniel Buren thought it would be wiser to propose a series of interventions, directly linked to the context of the island, to its landscapes, and which could punctuate public visits or walks.

These external interventions, all carried out in situ and in the simplest materials, thus punctuate chosen places and present themselves as a route that can be followed without any real order allowing to go around the island and that in a time frame accessible to all

STATION 1 (port of Béluré)
The first intervention takes place on the pier. On the jetty where visitors arrive, a series of seven wooden gates mark the direction of travel by alternating 8.7 centimeter green and white bands. In the other direction, the one that should not be taken, the back of these same gates is striped with white and red stripes.

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France. Brittany. Morbihan (56). Island of Arz. Pennero, the famous visual artist Daniel Buren in front of one of his works. Ephemeral exhibition “Around the roads and paths” installed on the island, until November 2023 (Photo by Antoine LORGNIER / ONLY FRANCE / Only France via AFP)

STATION 2 (Penero)
At the edge of one of the roads leading to the main village of the island, and offering a fairly complete view of it, a large square open in its center comes to frame this chosen part of the village, with its bell tower in point of target.

STATION 3 (Bern)
On the seafront near the island’s tide mill, a clump of trees literally becomes the support for an intervention that is inscribed in the curve of the branches and which reveals on one side, a door and on the other a window.

STATION 4 (The Priory / Town Hall)
In the main village, on the other side of the road separating the town hall from the public space facing it, a large frame highlights a perspective. This point of view is in fact an alignment of twelve vertical posts, equally spaced, which cross this garden in a perfect diagonal between its entrance on the town hall side and its exit towards a path leading to the sea.

STATION 5 (Liouse)
On one of the promontories of the island, the most exposed to the winds and where the last great storm broke many pines, only their more or less large stumps remain. This depopulated wood faces the sea and offers a very beautiful panorama on the open sea. The intervention did not require any construction, only the remaining stumps are used and the trunks of these cut trees are striped with alternating white and colored bands.

daniel buren Arz
French artist Daniel Buren exhibits on the island of Arz until november 2023. All the sculptures have been made on the island by Cedric and Iban, local carpenters. Photo: Profimedia

STATION 6 (Bilhervé)
It is on one of the marked paths of the island facing the sea that five frames are aligned like so many viewpoints. The center of each of these frames is tinted with a different color which slightly colors the landscape.

STATION 7 (Penero)
A wide path becoming a path brings us to a beach. It is therefore a question of inviting walkers to take it, via five gantries, and to enjoy a swim or a walk before taking the return boat.


Born in 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt, Daniel Buren lives and works in situ.
From the middle of the 1960s, he developed a radical style of painting that played both on the economy of the means used and on the relationship between the substance (the support) and the form (the painting).

daniel buren Arz
Daniel Buren expune pe insula Arz până în noiembrie 2023. Toate sculpturile au fost realizate pe insulă de Cedric și Iban, dulgheri locali. Foto: Profimedia

In 1965, when he painted pictures that mixed rounded shapes and stripes of various sizes and colors, he chose to use an industrial fabric with alternating vertical stripes, white and colored, with a width of 8.7 cm. Starting from this extremely banal visual register, he impoverishes it even more by repeating it systematically to reach the zero degree of painting. This reflection will then move from the work to its physical and social environment, the place that hosts it.

In 1967, he definitively abandoned the studio to work only in situ, starting with the street and then the gallery, the museum, the landscape or architecture.

His “visual tool” based on the reworking of the pattern of alternating bands allows him in particular to reveal the significant particularities of the place in which he works, by developing specific and sometimes complex devices, between painting, sculpture and architecture.

His in situ interventions play on points of view, spaces, colors, light, movement, environment, cutting or projection, assuming their decorative power, emphasizing or radically transforming places. Source:

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