Paris’s Alternative Art Space Le Point Ephemere Shuttered by “Unjust and Arbitrary” Decree

On Friday night Le Point Éphémère, a DIY art space on Quai Valmy in Paris’s 10th arrondissement that houses studios, exhibition, and performance spaces, was told without explanation by the local prefecture that it would have to shut down that evening for nine days. “This administrative closure puts in serious jeopardy an important Parisian multidisciplinary cultural space,” Le Point Éphémère’s directors wrote in a press release (PDF).

In the days following the forced closure the space’s organizers have scrambled with surprising success — and no doubt high costs — to find alternative venues for the nine days worth of events that can no longer take place at Le Point Éphémère. The night before the closure the arts center had held a vernissage for the space’s latest exhibition (pictured above), which will now remain unseen for much of its duration.

“In addition to the hundreds of spectators who have been deprived of shows overnight, there are other important consequences,” the press release continues. “These are firstly financial, since the loss for Point Éphémère is estimated at nearly €80,000 ($103,000) in cancellation fees for bands, lost event income, and the cost of keeping the space shuttered. In a difficult economic context, this profoundly affects our organization’s structure, and will require the re-evaluation of many of this season’s projects.”

The forced closure, Libération reports, stems from an incident on May 12 in which a pedestrian passing near Le Point Éphémère was assaulted by a homeless man. Three months later, at the end of August, the art space’s administration learned of an administrative measure alleging that one of their patrons had been the cause of the violence. On September 21 the arts center’s directors presented their evidence during a hearing at the local police prefecture, and everything seemed to be settled. Until, that is, it was informed of a decree demanding its near-immediate closure Friday at 6pm. The space’s directors returned to the local prefecture to present their case first thing Monday morning.

“Le Point Éphémère, an open, civil, social, and culturally productive space,” its directors plead, “has been put in a fragile situation by this unjust and arbitrary decision that is based on distorted fact.”

— Benjamin Sutton