Daniel Buren’s project was a response to the public commission for the improvement of the Main Courtyard of the Palais-Royal in Paris, launched by the Ministry of Culture in 1983, at the instigation of the President of the Republic, François Mitterrand. It was based on two fundamental principles, as specified by the artist: “The first consists in not erecting any sculpture in the middle of this Main Courtyard, as tradition would have it, but in revealing what lies beneath it. The second is aimed at including the project within the architectural composition of the Palais-Royal, which is essentially linear, repetitive and gridded. The planned monumental work emerges from the conjunction of these two principles, which is to say from all the possibilities of both of them, but nevertheless without them contradicting one another or cancelling each other out”. The new design of the Courtyard was governed by several axes or themes: the distribution of the columns of the Galerie d’Orléans determined the layout on the ground; the circumference and the inter-axis of the columns of the Palais-Royal dictated the height and spacing of the cylinders; the repetition of the stripes and the 260 cylinders established a unity and a structure in this huge complex by way of rhythmic connections; the way the Courtyard opens towards the gardens, the former being dominated by colonnades on only three sides; the desire to place the visitor in an intermediate position between two levels, thus offering a plural reading of the place; and last of all, the total occupation of the Courtyard’s 3000 sq. m.. As a participatory area, inviting spectators to construct their own viewpoint, Buren’s work invariably comes into being from the site and the people occupying it. The visitor, walking about the Courtyard, summoned here to sit down, climb, jump or lean, which is to say to vary the effect of how he sees the place, as is shown by the artist’s drawings, experiments with the site from an angle which can be endlessly renewed. The visitor becomes a “living statue”, a decipherer of a readable space, not only vertically up to 319 cm. above his head and down to 319 cm. below his feet, but also horizontally and diagonally. In ceaselessly intersecting to encourage the movement of people’s eyes, (up, down, over there, behind), they upset any rigid and unambiguous definition of the terms, because the real ground also becomes a ceiling for the cylinders which are driven into trenches.