Monument to Smile


Monument to Smile is a 50-story projection of over 300 photographs of smiling New Yorkers onto the façade of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The artist lived in New York in 2001 when the twin towers were destroyed. Monument to Smile was created as a gift to the New Yorkers. The artist created then some other giant projections and architectures of photographs of smiling faces in situ in different world’s cities and places. The concept of these events stems from a reflection about the act of smiling in our lives and some aspects of our globalized world and virtual reality. Its main objective is to involve the inhabitants of the cities in an artwork project seeking to open their minds and hearts through the power of smiling.

Monument to Smile
Rockefeller Center – New York | may 31 – june 9, 2007

Can you smile for me ? The artist photographed more than 800 people in the streets and parks of the various neighborhoods of New York City over the course of two years. 300 smiling portraits were chosen and assembling into a massive collage that could be projected onto the façade of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza, transmitted by twelve large projectors positioned atop Saks Fifth Avenue for ten nights. The uppermost level of Monument to Smile has been flooded in white lights, color of peace. The Nobel Price, Elie Wiesel, wrote at this occasion, a poem Faces, translated in 11 languages and offered to everyone, on the opening night. Monument to Smile is a message of Love, inspired by the diversity of the city and the feeling of joy of living and optimism of the New Yorkers.

Sourires Résistances Espérances
60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Palais de Chaillot – Paris | december 10, 2008

Are we smiling in Paris ? Back to Paris, the artist photographed more than 900 people in the streets and parks of the city of Paris. On December 10Th, several hundreds of smiling faces of Parisians were projected onto the side façades of the Palais de Chaillot to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Daphnis et Chloé, music from Maurice Ravel was played for the launching of the projection and then music from all over the world. Stephane Hessel, former writer of the Declaration, gave a recitation from its Preamble.

Smiling Faces
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto – Holt Renfrew | october 2, 2010

The project has been realized in partnership with the photography program of Ontario College of Art and Design. With the artist, several students photographed the inhabitants of Toronto in the streets and parks of the various neighborhoods of the city. Over 250 smiling portraits were projected onto the façade of the Holt Renfrew Building during the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.

Visages en Seine
Rouen Opera House – Théâtre des Arts | june 19, 2012

Visages en Seine project was initiated by some students of Rouen Business School, elected to the Arts board in 2012 to address the theme of diversity chosen for their campaign. They photographed over 300 students and young people from Rouen on campus, in the streets and various districts of the city. These faces were projected onto the façade of the Opéra de Rouen accompanied by various musics.

Monumento al Sorriso
Canal Grande – Venice – Rejected project in 2009 – In waiting

Monumento al Sorriso (Monument to Smile) is a public art project for the city of Venice and its inhabitants. It consists in an installation of hundreds of portraits of Venetians on the windows of forty (public and private) palaces of Canal Grande and on those of several landing stage of the vaporetti. Some of them will be lighted at night in partnership with the Covedi, the agency in charge of the public lighting in Venice.
The artist and several students of the Academy of Beaux Arts in Venice took more than 600 photographs in the city of Venice. More than 20 private owners of palaces as well as 10 public institutions as Post Office, Ca Foscari University, Venice Casino, ACTV (local transportation company), the APT (tourism office for Venetian area), Gruppo Fallani  and some others supported it.
The inauguration, initially planned for May, 31, 2009 was cancelled by the Superintendence for Architectural Heritage, the Countryside and the Historic, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of Venice and its Lagoon.

Tests techniques réalisés en février 2009
en collaboration avec la Covedi (éclairage de la ville) et le Gruppo Fallani.
Dream Mosaic
Medina – Tunis – Project in waiting

A Tunisian artist Mouna Jemal Siala, part of whose photographic work focuses on mosaics, invited the artist to photograph the faces of the Medina for several weeks. The project invited a parallel between the photographs of the Tunisian artist and the projection of a giant mosaic of faces on the Place du Palais Kheireddine in Tunis. This project is awaiting completion.