The Living Utopia

by HRM on August 4, 2012

Parisian artist Laurent Godard on Flateurville

by Franziska Knupper

“You are now officially crossing the border between real life and fiction!” Artist Laurent Godard opens the door of his Atelier with a grand gesture, “you will enter a whole new world situated right in the heart of Paris.” With a proud look on his face he presents this tiny part of the world of Flateurville, a fictional state he himself created and developed over several years. On the rue des Petits Ecuries in the 10th district of Paris, Laurent Godard has built a complete parallel universe in the vast space of his atelier.


So how can one imagine that? Entering the area of Flateurville you will be offered an ID card to become an official citizen, a Flateur. If you accept you will also be given a pair of glasses with one round and one square shaped glass – the official sign of Flateurville, also to be found on all the “national flags” hanging on the walls. “It works with every outfit,” he laughs, “and I assure you after some time you will not even notice anymore that the glasses are not alike.”

You will then wander through the different rooms of the building all playing an essential part in the fictional story of the state’s history. There is the bar where the national drug, the blue flower, can be consumed. There is the corner with the million sheets of paper, a script, telling the story of how the state came into existence. There are the numerous TV screens with live streaming from the other Flateur-locations across France. There is a garden space where the blue flower is grown. Rooms full of couches and 70s furniture, another with a defunct old car and stuffed animals on a child’s bed. It is a vivid exhibition space, a cabinet of curiosities, a lucid dream. And every Thursday, Laurent Godard opens the doors to the public, giving everyone the opportunity to have a look at his art, to wander around from room to room and to get acquainted with his idea of “Flateurville.” Then people can hear and give concerts, they can present and look at experimental video installation or performance art.


And then there are of course Godard’s huge paintings, covering the walls and portraying all the different citizens of Flateurville. Godard likes to work with varnish in all different colors, dripping it on the canvas like Jackson Pollock and letting it float until it reaches its own shape.

“I never work with models,” he says, “It doesn’t fit my style of painting. My work is impulsive, fast, coincidental.” Godard only does portraits, slightly deformed faces in all sizes and colors with eyes wide open, the Flateurs’ faces. “In real life it was me, Laurent Godard, who made those paintings. But in the world of Flateurville it was one special inhabitant called Marcel who created all this. That is also why this atelier carries the name ‘Hangar de Marcel.’ He is the artist of this space,” Godard explains.


Flateurville has its stories, its myths, its struggles and its distinct characters with their life stories. Godard has thought it through. Flateurville is a place of revolution, of drug trafficking, of prisons, of murder: “I know it may seem that in my vision, only the worst things of the world would come together. But I personally think that I created a living utopia – because in Flateurville the things are in the process of changing, the revolution is actually about to happen. It is dynamic, moving. That is a crucial point of the state’s development. And most important – the main aspect of life here is: Find the artist in yourself. Because art gives us the possibility to get rid of our destructive energy in a different way than by harming someone.”

Previous post:

Next post:

ISSN: 2116 34X