les expositions dans paris

now that i’ve had time to come back down to earth, i have a bit of time to tell you about some of the great shows and galleries i saw while i was in paris.

last time i was there (in 2007), i was quite surprised that finding independent, funky, contemporary art stuff was a bit more difficult than i thought. granted, i was right at the end of 6 months overseas, had €40 for 5 days and was hangin’ out with dear friends, but still.

anyway, this time around i knew where to look, it seems, ‘cos i saw some fantastic stuff and happened upon some wicked galleries, shows and museums – more than i had time to check out.

marian goodmantino sehgal

a chorus of “welcome to this… situation” was the first thing that was said to me, as i stepped through the doors of marian goodman gallery on rue du temple. i was so fuckin’ excited ‘cos i rarely happen upon performance and/or situationist works. plus, where better to happen upon it than france.

the gallery space was ‘occupied’ by a group of artists/performers, all discussing political and social issues (as far as my bad phrasebook french would allow me to understand). as a new conversation started, or a new person entered the space, the ‘circle’ would rotate in the other direction. all the members adhered to a particular way of moving – slowly – as a rejection of the ‘fast paced’ attitude to contemporary life.

i had a lovely moment when a little way into my stay there, one of the artists addressed me, in english, saying how much she delighted in seeing my initial (excited) reaction to their situation and that it must be a lovely way to approach life, open to all kinds of surprises. it is and all i said was thank you. although, had i been able to speak with them, i would have probably let her know that some of my joy was borne of a particular interest in situationism, rather than a pure, unbridled openness to life. that i’ve probably got running at 65%, which i guess isn’t too bad 😀

cite de l’architecture et la partrimoine

this was a great find. after really enjoying the AzW in Vienna, i decided to actively seek some architecture galleries/spaces this time around. i hit the jackpot with cite chaillot. i was there for about 4 hours, visiting the temporary exhibits, permanent collection, staring out the window at the amazing view and really looking at the endless galleries of models and plans. plus i got to check out the 1:1 recreation of le corbusier’s housing scheme appartment. the one that worked/failed/worked – depending on your viewpoint. heh.

the temporary collections included the impressive collection of lacaton & vassal, the display of (what felt like) a thousand models of the venice biennale pavillion/awards, generocity, which included some really impressive and innovative models. my personal favourite – BLOCK: a block of wax atop a block of lead, with a ‘ramp’ scraped out the top of the wax, as the ‘transformation of a bunker’ (I didn’t make a note of the intended outcome, sorry)

there was also an interesting display on facades/skins/exterior techonological advancements, called peau (skin) as well as their permanent collection

not to mention the absolutely divine view from the modern architecture hall. i thought the view from the pompidou was ace, but this shat all over that. especially at about 4pm on a winter’s afternoon with the sun glinting of the fleche d’or of saint-michel and all of paris bathed in that pinky white light. phew! lucky i didn’t have a camera with me …

palais de tokyo. again. (bangin’ on about it)

Chambre à louer sur le toit du Palais de Tokyo

i know i already talked about the palais de tokyo, but i keep thinking about it as an art space. and when talking about it the other day, i spoke of it as finding a wide audience because the space itself being the lowest common denominator, not the shows or the audience being LCD to appeal to as many people as possible.

it had so many points of access that appealed to a wide variety of needs and ways of engaging, without being patronising: food (fancy restaurant), alcohol (bar), books, things to see and touch and listen to (the shop with the music listening station), self-obsession/identity (photoautomat), a range of entry prices and a wide opening time frame.

anyways, i just had to mention the space again. especially as i’m shortly going to give nicholas bourriard (who was instrumental to establishing the place) a drubbing for his altermodern show at the tate. who ever says i’m imbalanced is wrong 🙂

oh, and i have to add how much i lusted after hotel everland (above), which is the fantastic work on top of the gallery at the moment. being auctioned off on ebay for a cool €1000 per night. phew!

la galerie des galeries – ludivine caillard.

hotel encore, by french installation artist caillard, was in the amazing space on level 1 at galeries lafayette. for the australians, imagine a hot contemporary white-cube-ish space in myer. it really was awesome and the show was a combination of flavours: knitted forms, including one of my favourites for self-centered reasons, red dress – a knitted cover for a tree (red knitting is kinda close to my heart at the moment). plus some great video/collage works which show the sexualised poses of make-up/fashion models copping the money shot from tubes of make-up and cosmetics. it’s pretty hott.

le plateau [centre for contemporary art]: notorious

i raced up to plateau belleville on my last full day in paris, to check out this group show, only to have the gallery not open until 2pm. d’oh! so i went and saw a bunch of other stuff, then came back, skating in 10 minutes before closing. great show. really awesome theme using hitchcock’s film ‘notorious’ as the departure point and a whole bunch of ‘noir’ kind of works. the image above is a still from a german film by keren cytter (of which i understood the dialogue auf Deutsch better than the subtitles allez français), playing with the idea of imagined vs real violence/murder. i attempted something similar a few years ago and did a pretty crap job of it, so it was great to see a good outcome of it.

the spinning light/spotlight was fun as well – circled the room so that you got to appear as hitchcock in his credit sequences. the space was pretty cool too – quite a way from the hip’n’groovy part of town, but worth the ‘trek’.

xippas galerie
well, what i thought was xippas, turns out was not. however, xippas is at 108, rue Viellie du Temple. the space looks amazing online.

yvon lambert
Bu-ut, in looking for xippas, I went to another space on Vielle du Temple, Yvon Lambert, which had an exhibition of works by a new love of mine, Lawrence Weiner, 1/2 empty, 1/2 full; as well as a stack of publications that i coveted. There was also a fantastic quote from Mr Weiner, which i didn’t get a chance to properly transcribe, but it went something like..
“Public art has two roles, to honour alienation and to create for the people a place in the sun”

… or along those lines anyway. my notes:
Public art has two roles
– alienation
– place in the sun.

Thorough.

There was also a small project space, where the conceptual artist, Giulio Paulino had a work, which looked at perspective – reminiscent of Ferini. The gallerie was invigilated by a couple of hipster cuties, with the cliche skinny jeans, ernest conversation and rollies cigarettes. i got shy really quickly. heh.

hotel/passage de retz
the time i was there, the passage du retz didn’t have an exhibition on, but is still a cool space and has some great production work for sale, including a very Sticky-esque french love letter dispenser for €2 per piece. of course i bought one – it was so close to valentines day (which i spent with about 400 others on a plane, or in a queue for luggage), it would have been criminal not to.

Galerie Karsten Greve, on paper

in the same area, in the marais, off rue debelleyme, there were loads of commercial spaces i discovered, mostly ho-hum kind of shows, except one with an exhibition of works on paper, brilliantly titled on paper. featuring beautiful drawings and prints by Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Albers, crazy mask-like drawings by Alexander Gorlizki and the beautiful rolls of Pierrette Bloch (above).

i also have to fill you in on the show at hotel du monnaie – david lachapelle, my time at the pompidou [x 2] and a cute little show with black’n’white cubes in a little street on Rue Pecquay, near the Pompidou/Hotel du Ville. But I’m a bit tired, and i think this post is long enough already.

image credits:
Architecture gallery by Gaston Bergeret
View from Cite du l’architecture et du patrimoine by le-haboo from flickr
Nightmare, 2007, Keren Cytter from Le Plateau site.
Untitled, Pierette Block from Galerie Karsten Greve – Paris

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home

“the sign of being at home is the ability to make oneself understood wihout too much difficulty, and to follow the reasoning of others without any need for long explanations”

marc, augé; non-places; verso, london 1995. [my current read and new bible]

i love this definition of home. it certainly pertains to several places in which i call home – melbourne, hamburg, paris and turin. london is a great place to work and it’s certainly more homely than before, but it’s not really home. i often need long explanations to work out why the fuck some of the londoners do what they do.

paris is certainly a place i feel at home in. even with my totally shit french (which most of them forgive, thankfully) i can be understood. there are a few ways in which my modus operandi is supported here, which makes life just flow, unlike almost any other place:

time: everything is open at sensible hours – late. i can go to a gallery until midnight – or even until 9pm during the week. i can buy cool necklaces until 8pm at night and the supermarket around the corner is open until way late. i don’t even know what time it shuts, but it’s always open when i walk past, so that’s fine 🙂 transport runs until late, bikes are open for hire 24/7, clubs until 6am and people are just about. i don’t feel the pressure to subscribe to a 9-5/M-F lifestyle, which makes this very home-like.

art: loads of places to see and experience art. i know that paris hasn’t had a crackin’ art scene for a while, but it’s slowly building again it seems and i’m discovering all kinds of cool places to go. plus, as an artist/student, i get cheap deals all the time – free for some galleries, €1 for others, or just a great price. it feels nice to have my profession ‘valued’ and that is pretty home-like.

diet: while i certainly miss the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables from home, they’re not completely absent (unlike london – hello? everything wrapped in plastic? blech!). and the whole idea of just ambling through the day with some food here and there is great. baguette and coffee, croissant and coffee, pizza and coffee, everything and coffee – i love it! this time around, i’ve been staying with germans who know how to dine like europeans, so it’s been extra ace. i love that dinner is late here and breakfast is late. and lunch is kind of non-existent. just like at home 🙂

whilst these habits are not the only things that make up a home, they’re ones that certainly support me as myself and i don’t have to justify or explain them to others. and, as in the above quote, there is a mutual sense of understanding.

in fact, quite often, paris feels so much like a comfortable pair of shoes that i always forget to take photos here. i end up with no usual ‘artifact’ of my trip here, just a whole bunch of books, drawings, tickets, feelings, memories and some other intangible stuff.

i like that.

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art is for humans too

Palais de Tokyo [inside] - Paris (France)

on sunday night we went to the palais de tokyo. it’s a super cool contemporary art gallery with a super cool shop and librairie, bar and restaurant. it’s also open until midnight, has a cool photoautomat (one of those old school photo machines) and excellent architecture: palatial on the outside, industrial on the inside.

we got in for free because it was late and hardly any exhibitions on, but even if all the main shows were on, i would have only paid €1, ‘cos i’m an art student. i love a gallery that honours artists and students.

and being open until midnight, a fair few of the local homeless stay downstairs, sit and play cards in the warmth, use the toilets to brush their teeth. being open until midnight, it means that they only have to bare the brunt of the wind off elements for a few hours, until the next round of places opens at 6am (like mcdonalds and some of the stations nearby). and the beautiful architecture also allows them to have beds underneath huge awnings with the most amazing view of paris and the eiffel tower.

see, art saves lives.

image credit: meteorry from flickr.

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