La Demeure du Chaos - Abode of Chaos

Abode of Chaos press release about the forthcoming hearing at the Appeal Court of Grenoble on Monday 17 November 2008.

Following the decision in Paris on 11 December 2007 by the Cassation Court which overruled all aspects of the Lyon Appeal Court decision of 13 September 2006, the parties to the dispute will again be heard at the 1st Correctional Chamber of the Grenoble Appeal Court on Monday 17 November 2008 at 2pm.

The Town Council of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or has been pursuing a crusade of artistic negation against the Abode of Chaos for the past 9 years (since 1999). The Grenoble Appeal Court will hear its latest attempt to legally force the Abode's return to its "original" physical and architectural state, a move implying the destruction of 2,900 works of art by Thierry Ehrmann and his collective of artists. We remind our readers that at the December 2007 hearing, the Cassation Court rejected the appeal lodged by the Public Prosecutor.

Now, facing a new Appeal Court hearing in Grenoble, the artist Thierry Ehrmann will once again be obliged to defend his works and his convictions against the legal assault by the Saint Romain au Mont d'Or authorities in this historical case. More than ever, Thierry Ehrmann, the artists' collective and the 72,081 petition signatories are preparing themselves to launch a vigorous defence of their rights and freedom of expression in general. The petition to save the Abode of Chaos from destruction is more than ever crucial of this defence as it carries the power to take this dispute to the European Court of Human Rights.

Started on 9 December 1999 by the conceptual act of Thierry Ehrmann, the Abode of Chaos is an œuvre au noir (most difficult phase of the alchemist's process, the separation and dissolution of substance...) inspired by the alchemical chaos of the 21st Century, tragic and yet sumptuous, whose embers were ignited on 9/11.

Today, the Demeure du Chaos (New York Times refer to it as the "Abode of Chaos") - having been the subject of more than 1,080 press and TV articles in 72 countries over its 9 years of existence - is a unique and unavoidable art 'Factory' and a recognised landmark on the international art scene. Open to the public free of charge museum, it operates as an open-air museum, presenting more than 2,900 works and it welcomes more than 120,000 visitors a year. Between 18/2/06 and 30/6/08, the Abode of Chaos received 270,000 visitors under its E.R.P. (Establishment Receiving Public) status, of whom 21% from outside France. It also doubles as a residence for a number of artists.

Thierry Ehrmann has been working as an artist and sculptor for 20 years and he is the principal creator of the Abode of Chaos. In his view, "the sole reason for the case being sent to the criminal Appeal Court of Grenoble is the iniquitous appeal to a Cassation Court by the Saint Romain au Mont d'Or authorities. In effect, on 7 January 2008, the Saint Romain au Mont d'Or authorities - now represented by new mayor Françoise Revel (formerly by Pierre Dumont) - decided to launch - alongside this first historical and extraordinary legal case - a new series of criminal proceedings based on urban planning regulations and it continues to deny any form of artistic value in the 2,900 works of art at Demeure du Chaos. Quite apart from it attitude of artistic negation, the town council of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or is now also guilty of historical revisionism because the Demeure du Chaos is already part of art history, a fact which is amply supported by the numerous works and art reviews focused on the place worldwide. We are therefore not just fighting against art negation but against the re-writing of history."

At a time when France is contemplating its loss of global artistic influence and seems unsure of where to steer its national cultural policy (particularly with respect to the principle of free entry to museums), La Demeure du Chaos is a genuine and original response. Press Kit / Kit Journalistes (copywrite-free photos) - Photos hautes définitions/High Resolution photographs / Videos - Textes et communiqués - Texts and press releases - at: www.demeureduchaos.org www.abodeofchaos.org contact@demeureduchaos.org - La Demeure du Chaos - Musée l'OrgAne - BP 69 - 69270 Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or - France - Fax : 04 78 22 06 06. Make an online video visit to the Demeure du Chaos: www.999-lefilm.com www.999-themovie.com or via the DVD distributed freely at the Demeure du Chaos.

Press release - Tuesday 15 January 2008, 19:08.

Press release from La Demeure du Chaos relating to the written decision dated 15 January 2008 following the public hearing in Paris on 11 December 2007 by the Cassation Court.

The Cassation Court has overturned all aspects of the decision by the Lyon Appeal Court dated 13 September 2006 and has ordered that the case be heard again in conformity with the law before the Appeal Court of Grenoble, to that designated by extraordinary debate of the Chambre du Conseil.

The Cassation Court has rejected the appeal of the Public Ministry which sought a judgement to force the place known as La Demeure du Chaos to be returned to its original physical and architectural state, a judgement implying the destruction of 2,900 works of art at La Demeure du Chaos.

The Cassation Court only accepted two of the appeals filed by the Commune of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or. These appeals were based on 3 points

Point 1: the town council disputes the decision for having acquitted the SCI VHI without seeking to establish whether or not the violations had been partly committed before the date on which the said legal entity acquired responsibility for the place.

Point 2: the town council disputes the Lyon Appeal Court's decision whereby the dispositions of the property's plans that have been "violated" (notion of harmony) were insufficiently precise to warrant a sentence by a criminal court.

Point 3 (not accepted by the court): the town council criticised the motives for which the Lyon Appeal Court decided that there was no justification for the destruction of the 2900 works of art and the return to its original state of La Demeure du Chaos.

None of the points in the Public Ministry's appeal were accepted!

Thus, in the absence of valid justification provided by the Attorney General of Lyon for an extension of the Cassation Court's mandate to the criminal aspects of the decision, the Cassation Court decided to proceed by raising with the public prosecutor the point about violation of the property's plans.

Upon examination of this decision one may consider that the iniquitous action of the town hall of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or and of its council, by its appeal to a Cassation Court, is the sole reason for the case being sent to the Appeal Court of Grenoble. The town hall of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or, represented by Pierre Dumont - the current Mayor - and its municipal council, did not hesitate to launch (alongside this first historical and extraordinary legal case) parallel proceedings with a new series of complaints filed on 7 January 2008 based on town planning rules, and persistently denying any form of artistic value in the 2,900 works of art at La Demeure du Chaos.

Quite apart from "artistic negation", the town council of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or has entered into the annals of "artistic revisionism"; in fact, La Demeure du Chaos is already part of art history, a fact which is amply supported by the numerous works and art reviews focused on the place worldwide. We are therefore not just dealing with "art negation" but with "re-writing history" as well. According to Thierry Ehrmann, sculptor / artist for 20 years and principal creator of La Demeure du Chaos (which began in 1999), the action taken by the local authorities reveals its profound conservatism by requesting the destruction of the place.

This new legal battle must be shared with the Collective of Artist's , the 72,081 French and international signatories of the Petition to save La Demeure du Chaos and to respect the right to freedom of artistic expression, as well as with those who have communicated their support from around the globe.

In the context of a further Appeal Court hearing, Thierry Ehrmann will present counter-arguments to those which have allowed the town hall of Saint Romain au Mont d'Or to have this historical case re-examined in a court of appeal. More than ever, Thierry Ehrmann, together with the Collective of artists and supported by 72,081 signatories will vigorously defend their position to respect and have respected their rights to freedom of expression. Indeed, on these grounds, the Petition is continuing, more than ever, with its capacity to take this extraordinary case before the European Court of Human Rights.

At a time when France is desperately wondering what happened to its global artistic influence (front page of Time Magazine: the Death of French Culture 03/12/07) and its cultural policy and, particularly, its principle of free entry to museums, La Demeure du Chaos is a truly genuine and original response. Born on 9 December 1999 with the "conceptual act" of Thierry Ehrmann, La Demeure du Chaos has today become, in less than 9 years, an unavoidable and unique "Factory" according to the international art press, with more than 910 press and audiovisual articles in 72 different countries. It is a free, open-air museum, presenting more than 2,900 works and receiving roughly 120,000 visitors each year. In the framework of its status as an ERP (Establishment Receiving the Public) La Demeure du Chaos has welcomed 201,000 visitors from 18/02/2006 to 30/10/2007, with 21% from outside France.

Press Kit (Photos for press use are free of copyright) - High Resolution photographs - Texts and press releases on: www.demeureduchaos.org - contact@demeureduchaos.org -La Demeure du Chaos - Musée l'Organe - BP 69 - 69270 Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or - France - Fax : (33) 4 78 22 06 06

Press release of December 11th 2007.
On standby for the Court of Cassation final detailed judgement .

The Court of Cassation has rejected the public prosecutor's appeal in his demand to put back Thierry Ehrmann's property in its initial condition, which would mean the destruction of its 2,900 artworks.
Regarding the mayor's appeal , the Court of Cassation has taken it into consideration but the detailed judgement only will clarify the status of each of the three means.
The motivated judgement, that should be released in the next days is essential as it will determine whether the Abode of Chaos status as a work of art should be reexamined by the Appeal Court of Grenoble.

According to Thierry Ehrmann, an artist-sculptor of 20 years' standing and the principal author of the Abode of Chaos, created in 1999, the ruling from the Court of Cassation partially invalidates the ruling from the Court of Appeal and marks the demise of a consensus established by the French high court on the demarcation of the cognitive boundaries of Art. This new trial must be shared with the Artists Collective, the 72,081 French and international signatories of the petition to save the Abode of Chaos and to ensure respect of the right to freedom of expression, as well as with all supporters from across the globe.

This dismissal before another Court of Appeal only partially over-rules the Lyon Court of Appeal; it is now up to artist Thierry Ehrmann to contest the means which have enabled the applicants to have this historic battle partially re-ruled. Thierry Ehrmann, the Artists Collective and their 72,081 supporters will be fighting harder than ever to highlight the right to freedom of expression and ensure its respect. In this capacity the petition is ever more important in its ability to take this conflict out of the common and before the European Court of Human Rights.
At a time when France is desperately addressing its loss of artistic influence in the world, (Time front page: Death of French culture 03/12/07), its cultural policy and particularly the issue of free museum entry, the Abode of Chaos is a genuinely atypical response.

According to artist Thierry Ehrmann: 'This ruling should be compared with that of the US Supreme Court in 1928 in which the Romanian sculptor Brancusi opposed US Customs. With this ruling, America redefined the work of Art'. This case involving numerous court hearings has produced an impressive body of documentation on the arguments used in the 21st century by the detractors and defenders of the Abode of Chaos as a world-renowned work of art. This ruling from the Court of Cassation, by its public nature, concerns all players involved in the art world.

The Abode of Chaos, born 9 December 1999 from Thierry Ehrmann's conceptual act has, with more than 910 print and broadcast press reports in 72 countries, over 9 years, since become an indispensable 'Factory' which is unique in the world, according to the international art press. It is a free, open-air museum, exhibiting more than 2,900 works, visited by 120,000 people every year. Within the framework of its E.R.P. (Establishment welcoming the public) museum-related status, the Abode of Chaos had 201,000 visitors between 18/02/2006 and 30/10/2007, 21% of whom were from outside France.

Press Kit (Photographs without reproduction fee)
High Resolution photographs - Texts and Releases
At: www.demeureduchaos.org
The Abode of Chaos
La Demeure du Chaos - Musée l'OrgAne
BP 69. 69270 Saint-Romain-au-Mont-d'Or
France
Fax : 04 78 22 06 06
contact@demeureduchaos.org

Saturday 16 September 2006.

Thierry Ehrmann and the Artists Collective note that the town of St Romain-au-Mont d’Or and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have decided to appeal against the ruling which preserved the Abode of Chaos. This choice rekindles the debate and destroys the peace established by the ruling. The appeal made by the town hall is regrettable due to its obscurantism with respect to Art.

For all that, Thierry Ehrmann and the Collective welcome the fact that the Public Prosecutor’s office in its statement to the AFP, in Public Prosecutor Viout’s own words has ‘nothing against the Abode of Chaos’. They note with interest that the appeal is only justified by a philosophical issue: can and should the judge determine what is a work of art? This is, in itself, a historic recognition for the Abode of Chaos. In his capacity as an artist Thierry Ehrmann will gladly defend himself before the Court of Cassation and will, naturally, conclude with his full discharge. He does not believe that France's highest court will opt for the censorship of artistic expression and standardisation by bulldozer.

One century on, France decides to retry the case of Brancusi versus the United States on the definition of the work of art in the eyes of the law. History will inevitably conclude that, 'in 1928 it was a bird, and today it is the Abode of Chaos’. What is at stake in the Abode of Chaos case is thus the re-establishment of a consensus framed by the law on the demarcation of Art’s cognitive boundaries. The High Court will rule on a new ‘labeling theory’, already tested by Duchamp.

With support currently from 54,090 signatures world-wide, Thierry Ehrmann and the Artists Collective are appealing more than ever for a mobilisation against the censorship of artistic expression in France through the signing of the Abode of Chaos petition.

13 September 2006: Victory for the Abode of Chaos

In respect of the ruling handed down from the Lyon Court of Appeal on 13 September 2006: Thierry Ehrmann and the Artists Collective consider, given the reading of the ruling, its grounds and pronouncements, that they have won an unquestionable victory against the obscurantism of the applicant, in this case the town of Saint Romain-au-Mont d'Or, represented by its Mayor, Mr. Pierre Dumont.

This victory also belongs to the 54,090 signatories of the petitions (26,432 of whom French, 27,658 outside France including more than 4,700 artists and teachers of the arts) who supported the Abode of Chaos right from the judgement of the first instance.

The 2,500 works at the Abode of Chaos have been preserved in their entirety by the Court of Appeal decision and due to the supreme authority residing with the judges as to the decision to restore the premises to their original condition or not, pursuant to article L 480-5 of the town planning regulations.

In a subsidiary capacity: The SCI VHI received a full discharge.
Mr. Thierry Ehrmann was discharged on the following points:
- no prior filing of a declaration of works on outer walls .
- co-visibility with a historic monument
- violation of article 11 of the POS (Plan d’Occupation des Sols, local town planning rules, harmony with the surroundings)
- violation of the height of works greater than 12 metres
And fined EUR 200,000; for having failed to make a prior declaration of a work measuring more than 40 m3.

It should be noted that the principal claims from Saint Romain-au-Mont d'Or town hall, that is to say the POS violation (harmony with surroundings) and co-visibility with a historic building, were judged non-suits.

In conclusion, above and beyond a strict legal reading of the ruling, the Court of Appeal had the great wisdom to preserve the Abode of Chaos, which is considered by the artistic and international press to be one of the 21st century’s unique works and artistic ventures.

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