The Menagerie of Sadness
So this afternoon i went over to the Jardin des Plantes again, this time to visit the menagerie. This is France's oldest public zoo. It is a park like setting with many old charming pavilions that have obviously seen better days. The animals for the most part slept, except for a panther which paced its glassy enclosure back and forth, butting its head against the glass. Flamingos provided one bright spot of colour. Even on a monday afternoon there were a fair number of children about who seemed excited about seeing the animals, but it left me feeling slightly sad, for the animals in their small areas and the slightly shabby state of the whole menagerie.
Dust and Bones
So today after a trip over to the Bastille market for some groceries and a nutella and banana crepe, i walked across the river to the Jardin des Plantes to look for some boney still life inspiration at the Museum of Natural History. The park also contains a zoo and this cool natural history themed merry go round.
This is the main entrance to the building, which also has alot of interesting architectural ornament on the outside including a bronze alligator.
As you enter, just to remind you of the order of things, you'll find this charming sculpture....
And then past the ticket kiosk (7EU) and into the main gallery for some boney inspiration. Who dusts this place?
Please, no boner jokes.
Hey look, its my roomate's family! Speaking of which it's then back to the studio to do some dusting.
L'Apres-midi du Louvre
Yesterday i spent the afternoon at the Louvre, mostly to look at what they had in the way of Dutch still life painting, but also to have a glance around at the new Islamic art section. Getting in was way easier than i remember from the past, with the hardly any queues at security or the automated ticket kiosk. But the museum did seem just as busy and full of people. Here's the new Islamic Art section....
And this is one of my favorite places, the Apollo Gallery which also looks amazing at night...
Wandering further in search of what i thought i remembered as a whole room of Dutch still life painting i kept getting pulled over to the windows to look out at the views...
And finally, the home stretch. Only it's not a room of Dutch still life painting. It's french painting and its a whole whack of Chardins. And as i walked into the room i remembered exactly the overwhelming feeling i had when i first saw them. It was kind of a 'deja vu' or deja felt. It was like running into an old friend on the street who you didn't even know was in the city and how happy you were to see them.
My legs are telling me that i'm spending an awful lot of time walking around, which is good. And the city kind of stuns you with its bigness and its amazing sights, and alot of the time you don't have the chance to get your camera out, or it might seem inappropriate, like today when the guy standing beside me at a red light wiped out his junk and took a piss into the street. But sometimes you do have your camera out and you remember to take a picture.
This first one is sort of what you expect Paris to like like. A leafy stroll along the river, browsing the bouquinistes' stalls.
Other times you see valuable treasure and you regret not having a small van. Can you drag that home? will it look good in your room? and look at that fringe! Gee they have some nice trash here....
And still other times you see something and you wonder what the heck is going on. oh it's some men roasting corn in the street. of course. why don't we do that at home more often? and that's the random street scenes of Paris for today.
This is Alak Roy. He is a professor at the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh. He works primarily in sculpture and installation. He recently exhibited his new work from his residency here at the Cite in an exhibition called "Rats in the Library"
here's aother image....
And this is Leslie Amine who is from Benin and lives in France. She works mostly in drawing and painting. As well as these large figure pieces she had some lovely smaller more abstract work.
And this is Ishola Akpo, also from Benin. He works in photography and performance. He had a large assemblage of photographs and text on one wall called 'pas de flash s'il vous plait' which is what all the museum guards tell you when your flash accidentally goes off in the Louvre.
I'm sure it must seem like i'm in London on holiday but i actually am also working. or thinking about working. or thinking about some of the work i was doing and what i might do next. for example here's one of the still life photographs i was working on in Paris....
I've been working mostly from my idea of Dutch still life painting, but yesterday i went to the National Gallery and actually looked at a couple. i'm trying to allude to them without being too literal. This is one i saw today by Willem Claesz Heda...
I was able to grab a quick picture of it before the guard came over and told me "No Photographs!". When did that start? I'm sure everyone in the Louvre has a cell phone camera and is happily snapping away.... anyway so even when you see me walking around looking slightly blank and possible like i've been drinking too much coffee, i am still thinking about a table and some lemons, some shiny or transparent objects and my old roommate back in Paris...
Open House London (Day 2)
Open House London Day 2 went well, again the queues moved well and the volunteers were great. One small blip when the Guildhall was evacuated for an alarm. Otherwise a super day....
Open House London (Day 1)
Here's Day 1 of Open House London. There were queues but they moved fairly well, the longest one being about 20 minutes at the Foreign Office. I'll start off with a few from yesterday's Tower Hamlet Cemetery Park and go from there....
Si i thought i would get a jump on 'Doors Open London' by starting a day early at one of the recommended sites, Towers Hamlet Cemetery in east London. It was a good start to the day, very overgrown and atmospheric, but also accessible and park-like. Also there weren't many people around which was nice. I took alot of pictures but here's just a taste...
From there i went on to the Geoffyre Museum, a museum of period rooms in an series of old almshouses. It also had a lovely garden and great cafe which were a welcome break in the middle of the day.
After some fishcakes and salad i carried on down to Whitechapel, and the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. This is where Big Ben was cast and is still very much an operating foundry casting bells for churches all over the world. The image of the bell around the door is the template of Big Ben. They had alot of great archival material around about how bells are cast and what bells they have cast. The nice lady explained 'change ringing' to me but please don't ask me to repeat it.
I also scored one of these super key chains for my vast key chain collection.
Carrying on through Whitechapel i stopped at the Whitechapel Gallery for some contemporary art. Sadly no photos allowed. And finally on the way back to my hotel i glanced in at the Wallace collection for a brief look around. Phew!
a tale of the Canada Council International Residency in Paris, France.