An exhibition of engraved padlocks is being housed on a Parisian bridge in a bid to redeem the bad reputation that engraved padlocks have earned themselves on Parisian bridges (oh do keep up).
Eight artists have contributed designs to Bouquinistes, the exhibition named after its home in a second-hand bookseller stall that perches along the city's Pont des Arts bridge.
Bouquinistes takes its inspiration directly from the padlocks attached to bridge railings by couples who consummate their love through the medium of brass lump. Love locks have repeatedly caused whole panels of the Pont des Arts to peel away under their weight, and the city council removed about a million keepsakes by force last June.
Unfortunately for the aesthetics of le bridge, love locks invariably reappear and multiply to produce a barnacle-clad appearance. The tradition is hated by singles and cynics, and this same controversy formed the basis of inspiration for Bouquinistes – the transformation of a mundane item into an enduring and unique artefact.
In keeping with bookseller tradition, the designer padlocks are only available for display from Thursday to Sunday “when the weather feels nice”.
The newly embodied objets d’art provoke their own cynicism, as their host bookseller previously despised the love lock tradition. In wake of their promotion to fine art, he is a changed man, beckoning the attention that a sister exhibition to the Monnaie de Paris might bring.
Meanwhile back in Dublin, love locks adorning the Ha’penny bridge are coming under threat from a vigilante gang of lock pickers under the twitter handle @LoveLockNoMore.
The locks are removed and stashed in preparation for lock-picking classes hosted by Dublin based hackerspace TOG, where upstanding members of society can learn how to undo the sentimental efforts of padlock-buying romantics.
If TOG endeavour to take their efforts to France, they may inherit some works of art.