Tucked between glitzy international stores in the premier arrondissement of Paris, the colourful façade of 59 Rivoli never fails to pique the curiosity of passersby – some often stop, throw a furtive glance at the interiors, and some even dare to venture in. Formerly an illegal artists’ squat, this colourful building is now a legitimised collective studio space and exhibition centre being used by more than thirty permanent and temporary resident artists.


Formerly used as a bank branch by Credit Lyonnais bank and later abandoned by the city for 15 years, this deteriorating building was taken over by three friends, Kalex, Gaspard et Bruno (who called themselves the ‘KGB’) in 1999. Soon some other artists joined the KGB to revive this unused empty space and create a lively, democratic place for the artists to create and exhibit their works. The new artist squat, which was now serving as an exhibition and performance space under the name “Chez Robert, électrons libres“, soon attracted the furore of the residents. With the pressure growing, the city government decided to evict the artists.

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59 Rivoli Artist Squat Paris
59 Rivoli, By Airair (talk · contribs) (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
59 Rivoli: Democratising Art Creation
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