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Route Nationale 6 - Peintures murales
Olivier Mosset

Patrons - The Association of the Communes along the RN6, Sivom of Arnay-le-Duc and the Syndicat de pays Auxois-Morvan
Mediator - Xavier Douroux
Supporters - Commune, Leader II European Initiative, the department, Fondation de France

An overall programme capable of conjuring up memories of the Route Nationale 6 between Avallon and Chagny, at the same time as enhancing the value of initiatives located along its route and demonstrating new communication approaches, is being undertaken to increase the number of people using the road and offer them new services or provide centres of interest for tourism. The patrons wished to turn to an artist; a signage approach to the scheme was among their priorities.

The plan to put on a festival of road movies is under way. The market hall created at Aignay-le-Duc (officially opened in 2003) by Scaranello and Chaimowicz with awnings that can serve as a projection screen would constitute a leading attraction on this programme. By way of groundwork for the project, a workshop run by Mosset and Hubert Besacier was organized with students from Dijon Art School. It resulted in a set of photographs collected into a book (les presses du réel, 2004), souvenir images of the RN 6. Mosset observes: While the autoroute' [motorway] makes itself (auto-route), we'll have to make the route nationale' for ourselves. That is what the students of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Arts in Dijon discovered. Their photographs, which are their point of view, become the starting point for this adventure. Making the road means setting out, and being on the road is a bit like Kerouac (or a road movie), but we were interested first and foremost in the monuments along the RN 6: service stations (often derelict), a transport café that had become a nightclub (LE CERCLE ROUGE), also derelict, as well as the modern frescoes that are the remnants of the painted advertisements on the walls of the buildings lining the road.

The mediator suggested bringing in Olivier Mosset with whom he has collaborated since the mid-1980s, the time when post-abstraction was in its infancy, and who in his eyes represents a mechanic of painting who is both intuitive and very intelligent, capable of imagining a new trunk road experience. In 1966 the artist joined forces with Buren, Toroni and Parmentier to question the boundaries of painting through a radical, subversive attitude. We know the story of the BMPT group. A black circle drawn on a square white canvas is the signature of Mosset's work. Keeping the subjectivity of the Ego at a distance is one of the fundamental principles of their approach. Moving to New York in 1978, he embarked on monochrome works influenced by Pop Art. Since then each of Mosset's paintings, whether a target, a screen, a degree-zero painting or whatever, has questioned the potential of the pictural image. Mosset was the only member of the BMPT group to own Harley-Davidson, so was a lover of the open road, wide open spaces and fast-turning wheels. The RN 6 commission is a rerun of how things were at that period in a degree-zero mode that cancels out any utopian, nostalgic dimension.