The installation is not without merit. The juxtaposition of forms and textures are interesting, and there is a certain organic feel to the piece - especially now that nature has clamped itself onto the creation - but the ensemble to my eyes is ugly almost to the point of repulsiveness.
Perhaps it is unfair to class the creation as a sculpture at all. It was placed here in the early 1970s, and was part of an urban regeneration project that also included the covering over of the périphérique and the construction of an underground exhibition centre. It is a fully-functional wall, marking the outer limit of a small park (more a kind of scrubby urban plot that attracts only city outcasts), but it is impossible to overlook the sculptural aspect of the piece.
But just what are these strange forms? Sitting alongside the Square de l'Amerique latine, the wall is apparently supposed to represent the Andes mountain range, with its peaks, depressions and volcanic flows. An interesting idea, but one that seems to have born poorly executed. Perhaps though it is simply a creation that has come to the end of its life-span. The lava flow certainly looks today like a cast off from a low budget science-fiction filmset, and the brick wall is in a very sorry state.
At certain points chunks of brick are missing, but the biggest crime against the material is that several different colours have been used in the various repair jobs performed over the years. Diluted tags and grafitti have left traces across the surface, and even the lava seems to have been put in the wash with something of a clashing colour.Can the artist be blamed for the condition of his creation 40 years after its installation? I find it difficult to believe that it was ever attractive, but it certainly could have been looked after better. I think it unlikely that it will get a second chance, but I imagine that few people would mourn its passing if it was replaced in its turn by another urban regeneration project.