Lek & Sowat, Mémorial de Verdun

Client Mémorial de Verdun - Champ de Bataille
Place Verdun, France
Date 2024

Manifesto is assisting the Mémorial de Verdun - Champ de Bataille in the production of a commemorative work by artists Lek & Sowat for the passage of the Olympic Flame.

Recognized as a historic landmark, the Mémorial de Verdun - Champ de Bataille will be hosting the Olympic Flame during the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To mark the occasion, the site has commissioned visual artist duo Lek & Sowat to create an architectural piece tailored to the Mémorial, with Manifesto overseeing production.

Using temporary paint applied to the windows encircling the building, they will inscribe, in a more or less legible graphic style, the names of individuals linked to the Battle of Verdun, selected in collaboration with the teams from the Mémorial de Verdun - Champ de bataille. This non-opaque paint allows light to filter through, casting shadows within the exhibition spaces, both on the floor and on the walls. Like modern stained-glass windows, this creation evokes the symbolism of the Olympic Flame’s light and Maurice Genevoix’s speech at the inauguration of the Verdun Memorial: “May the light that will watch over us here guide us at last towards peace.”

As artists, we are honored to be involved in the passage of the Olympic Flame at the Mémorial, but it is as citizens that we approach this new project. Of all the places we visited, it was Verdun that shook us the most, because of how profoundly what we saw and heard there resonated with current events. We will paint the windows of this building, erected by veterans, with a message of peace and brotherhood. They are central to our graphic vision, as we inscribe their names along the façades. Inspired by the Flame’s color code and envisioned as a group of contemporary stained-glass windows to enhance the building’s understated architecture, this work ultimately conveys a single message: never again.

- Lek & Sowat

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