Giant bronze cat statues amuse on Champs-Elysées

The display of huge cats is by Belgian artist Philippe Geluck, bringing welcome humour - but also some deeper messages - to the Paris avenue

28 March 2021
Artist Philippe Geluck with one of the sculptures. Giant bronze cat statues amuse on Champs-ElyséesThe bronze figures are of the famous “Le Chat” (Cat) character by Belgian artist Philippe Geluck
By Hannah Thompson

If you come across a row of huge cats in Paris, fear not: they’re part of a new artist exhibition, featuring 20 giant cartoon cat statues on the Champs Elysées.

The bronze figures, each installed on their own plinth, are of the famous “Le Chat” (Cat) character by Belgian artist Philippe Geluck.

Mr Geluck is known for using his comedic cartoons to broach sometimes-difficult subjects with humour and gentleness.

The exhibition on the north side of the avenue - between Concorde and the Marigny theatre - is named Le chat déambule. It is set to be in place until June 9, and has been described as bringing “some lightness” to the capital during the difficult days of Covid.

Each statue measures two metres tall, and is in a different, humorous position; although some of the cats do have a deeper message.

One shows a cat as Atlas, carrying a globe on its back, but the globe is full of compressed plastic waste. 

Another statue shows a cat playing the flute, which is actually a branch on which a bird is singing. Another cat is a weightlifter; while another symbolises Saint Sebastian, and is pierced with arrows.

The row of statues is close to the nearby Galerie Huberty-Breyne, which is showing a parallel exhibition of unseen pieces of Mr Geluck’s art, including drawings, canvases and prints.

The President’s wife, Brigitte Macron, was among those to visit the exhibition as it opened.

After their stay on the Champs Elysées, the cats will travel to Bordeaux, and Caen, as well as around a dozen other French and European towns and cities.

Their journey will end in Brussels to coincide with the forthcoming opening of the city’s Musée du Chat (cat museum).

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