Monday, October 26, 2009

Day three, four and after

Day three was spent at the "Cour Carre du Louvre' to visit younger artists. The "prix Duchamp" was announced that day. Art was political, philosophical, vigorous at times in its statement, but not enough. War of course was the subject for a few artists. None of these works took my breath away: not strong enough, not engaged enough, not violent enough.
They were more photographs which may reflect the market for these, younger and cheaper?

Day 4, I walked in the "Jardin des Tuileries" and went by the sculptures presented outdoors.
I used my camera. I had to read the artists statements to understand the presentations. Usually, it is not a good sign for me.

Saturation may be part of feeling somewhat deflated today. I will have the length of a trip back to the States to digest all of this.
photograph by the author

Friday, October 23, 2009

FIAC day two

By day 2, I was fully oriented and was able to go back to special paintings or sculptures I wanted to see again. I made photographs.
I took my time to look at paintings from Soulages, Nicolas de Stael, Miro, Kandinski, Tanguy to name a few, sculptures from Tinguely, Brancusi...I wanted to remember each of these, they will be most likely bought by a private collector, and I will not be able to see them for a long time.
I enjoyed that day even more.

I spent a lot of time looking at these pieces of art. Why? I will not forget these. They are now in my visual bank. These encounters are thought provoking or create an aesthetic emotion which follows me like a perfume or a tune.
photograph by the author

Thursday, October 22, 2009

FIAC day one

It is my first visit to the FIAC (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain). Its location is perfect, on one side "Le Grand Palais" and the other side "La Cour Carree du Louvre" with a walk from one location to the other through the "Jardins des Tuileries".
I chose to start with a visit to " Le Grand Palais". I walked through the galleries first to "get the feel" and of course bought the catalogue which is worth its price in content and ...weight.

I was amazed to see so many high quality works, paintings, sculptures that I did expect to find in museums. They could be bought. It was a real pleasure and I was like a child in a candy shop. I decided to stay till saturated and come back the following day. The gallerists were pretty relaxed (or appeared so) and it was a different experience than visiting a gallery. I felt no pressure to buy (it was obvious I was not a buyer) and was able to appreciate all these beautiful pieces at my own pace. Photographs were permitted.

I will not go in details about all the pieces I saw, they were so many , I may come back in other blogs about a few of them. But the galleries brought their best collections and made this event memorable.
photograph by the author

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting for the FIAC

Today, I visited Soulages at "Centre Pompidou", I will need more time to talk about this visit. I convinced myself to visit the temporary exhibition called Elles@Pompidou.
Nikky de Saint-Phalle greeted us at the entrance of the exhibition, as pictured left.

I find it sexist to have a show of female artists only.
Most of works presented females and their sexuality. Very few works if any, brought up subjects like spirituality, politics, childbearing. The closest reference I found about motherhood was the work from Annette Messager. She knits covers for dead birds, and aligns the dead birds in little boxes. She also embalms some of them and wraps them like mommies. The artists explains that one time in Paris she walked on a dead bird, and following this experience, she started this work.

Cindy Sherman tries to make herself look ugly on a self-portrait. She makes us reflect about beauty and ugliness and confirms my previous thoughts: it is all in the heart.
The walk through this exhibit reinforced my dyslike for such presentation.

The view from "Centre Pompidou" is always great, rain or sun.
photograph from the author

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I could not miss the exhibition called "Deadline" at Musee d'Art Moderne de la ville de Paris.
From Martin Kippenberger to Joan Mitchell, Robert Mapplethorpe and others, the message is moving. The exhibition is presenting pieces they created after being diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

Starting with Kippenberger, in the first room, are the portraits for "Das Floss der Medusa". This is the boat he chose to cross from life to death. Poignant self-portraits with expressions of great suffering are lining up one side of the room while on the other side, the portraits are showing the back of the artist who already left us.

The exhibition also presents Absalon with one of his cell- like apartment, all white, small, like a cocoon.

Hans Artung is showing great energy and appears taken by a colorful frenzy to produce , like Wilhem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell.

Robert Mappelthorpe's room is chilling: a parade of black and white photographs including a skull. Presiding over these, a photograph of the artist's face and a hand holding a cane with a skull, floating on a black background. He is looking intensely at The other photographs are Greek statues from Apollo, Hermes and other young gods, glowing in their eternal beauty and helping us reflect on our own mortality.

Several works from Chen Zhen are presented, one of them is quite unnerving with sounds of women giving birth, sick people moaning, coughing, vomiting.These sounds are coming from a coffin made with two hospital beds wrapped with bandages , pieces of torn hospital gowns.
More artists can be found on the website.

This exhibition is of great quality and is opened till January the 10Th.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the beaten paths in Montmartre

Today I chose to visit l'Espace Dali , near Place du Tertre in Montmartre... just because it is Dali. It is described on numerous websites.

The temporary exhibition is presenting Gala's jewels (which were created to be unwearable). It appears to be a way to promote Dali's jewels and ... more business. Maybe the tourists are not buying copies of lithographs anymore and the melted clocks are "passe" now. What is new? Small reproductions of the melted clocks but with shiny diamonds or of "Alice" with hundreds of small diamonds, turning on a pedestal.
Dali created these jewels to be looked at:"Without a public, without the presence of spectators these pieces of jewelry would not fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Therefore, the spectator is the final artist. His sight, his head,his spirit -with more or less an ability to understand the creator's intend- give life to these pieces of jewelry." This is a quote from Dali himself.
The problem is that his work has been misused in so many occasions that I can hardly get the message anymore.

However, it is a great adventure to visit "Espace Dali" . The presentations include paintings, drawings, lithographs and of course sculptures. Hanging on the walls are real jewels to look at.

On my way back, I stopped by the gallery 3 F ( 58, rue des 3 Freres 75018) and visited the temporary exhibition of a photographer who shows flamenco dancers swirl like dervishes. His name is Andre Rigaud.

photograph from the author

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Off the beaten paths in Montmartre

Today, the crowd was thick near Place du Tertre and I decided to visit Les Halles Saint-Pierre(2, rue du Ronsard)
The building is a redeveloped Pavilion Baltar at the foot of Montmartre.
The space is divided into two galleries, a library, a tea room, ateliers. The galleries are on two levels and have the shape of hexagons. The exhibitions are presented in a very pleasant way: the lighting is very efficient, the presentations are not crowded and have appropriate labelling. A biography of the artist is posted on a big board and can be read at the start and/or the end of the visit.
This is a municipal project to be visited primarily by the locals and the texts are in French only.
The mission of the "Halle Saint-Pierre" is to exhibit: "Art brut, populaire, contemporain".

Roger Chomaux(1907-1999) was an eclectic artist: painter, sculpture, architect, poet, he also raised bees, made a movie. I would call him also a philosopher. He lived like an hermit (but received visitors) in the forest of Fontainebleau where he created a "Village d'Art Preludien".
Here is the site (in French) to read more about his life.

The works presented till March 7Th, 2010 at the Halle Saint-Pierre are worth a visit. Unfortunately, photographs are not allowed and the pieces selected on the website are not the most interesting.
The artist was prolific and grew through different styles and use of materials. My preferred creations were made of scrap metal like " Tete Hallucinee" and "Fetiche". The titles are very appropriate. It is a feat to make this material speak with emotion. "Tete Hallucinee" makes me think of a Christ's head. "Fetiche" is more primitive and refers to Voodoo with nails used to define the features of the head made in wood.

The totems from the "Village Preludien" are also very interesting, usually white and black , also made of scrap metal. They are ironical but at the same time inspire respect.
There is a congregation of sculptures representing mutants, chiseled from a soft porous stone. These appear peaceful and detached from the world like Buddhas.
Further, they are works made of chicken wire covered with melted plastic and broken colored tiles glued on it to create the facial expressions of the heads. These are the opposite, full of torments.Numerous paintings are hanging along the walls. I did not much care for these.

Chomo was also a writer, poet using a phonetic writing and I copied this sentence, which for me, resumes his quest: "Moi-crucifie-de-solitude-je-pin-aveqdelarme-un-sourir-de-FAME".
I would translate this as: "Me, crucified with solitude, I paint with tears, a smile of Fame"
He was a loner, but was longing for recognition. He deserves to be better known.