Arabic grafitti by Franco-Tunisian artist is among works that replace the love locks that once adorned a Paris bridge. Sharon Reich reports.
The "Love Locks" are gone... and Paris' Pont des Arts bridge is transformed with a burst of street art. Spanning the length of the bridge is a work by Franco-Tunisian artist eL Seed, that spells out in pink Arabic letters a quote from Balzac's novel "Le Pere Goriot." Translated to English, it says: "Paris is in truth an ocean: you can plumb it, but you'll never know its depths". Gallerist Mehdi Ben Cheikh is behind the temporary grafitti exhibition on the bridge. SOUNDBITE: Mehdi Ben Cheikh, Gallery director, saying (French): "I thought it was brave ... brave to put an Arabic sentence up in Paris. It's not only a language of terrorists. It's the language of a whole people across the world. A people who are very open ... and have an extremely spiritual dimension." People walking along the bridge, which is situated in the heart of Paris's artistic establishment, have mixed feelings about the new exhibit. SOUNDBITE: Tourist Max Dulberger saying (English): "It's a cool combination to bring together difference types of art, with the classical stuff and more modern nitty gritty stuff, so that's kind of a cool combination." SOUNDBITE: Tourist Jamie McMahon saying (English): "Paris is supposed to be the city of love and and here we've got some horrible drawings on the bridge. I think it cheapens the bridge. Although the padlocks weren't nice to look at, the idea of the padlocks was a nice idea, romantic." Workmen began taking off the padlocks last week after a section of railing collapsed under their weight. The graffiti panels will be replaced by plexiglass later this year.