So yesterday, after doing laundry in the morning and working for awhile, i went up to the Buttes Chaumont area to check out Ryan Gander's show at Le Plateau. Gander is a British artist and this is his big Paris debut. Unfortunately the opening was in the evening and they gallery was still installing so i had to satisfy myself with pressing my nose up against the window and peeking in. From what i could see i especially liked these marble sculptures.....
As i turned to head back through the light drizzle i saw what may have been a stray Ryan Gander sculpture leaning up against a tree....
Now that's a good show, i thought, where the art makes you see something differently. Or adds another layer to something mundane. I drifted through the neighbourhood and wandered into a few more galleries but it was all that draped marble that stayed with me. As i arrived back at the Cite later that afternoon a strange sight greeted me in the park across the street.
The homeless guy, whose name i've learned is Didier, was sheltering from the drizzle by covering himself in one of his blankets. I had had a strange and apocalyptic dream about him the night before and now his echoing of the Ryan Gander sculptures seem to set up some kind of weird reverberation for me....
This is a nearby Laverie. We have laundry in the building at Cite des Arts but i thought it would be nice to go out and do laundry in the neighbourhood. This little place is on the Ile St Louis, just over the bridge. While your delicates are tumbling dry you can walk around the corner for a scoop of Berthillion pear ice cream, or just walk around the island admiring the views. At the risk of seeming like a tourist here's a couple pics i took while my wash was in.
This is Nikola Velicki. He's Serbian and works primarily in drawing, printmaking and painting. He knows how to make big things in a small space.
This is Milan Antic, also from Serbia. He works primarily in drawing and painting and had some wonderful small paintings in gouache on old textbook pages
And this is Kathleen Ritter, fellow Canadian and one of my art heroes for her inspirational performance, with the Ladies Afternoon Art Society, 'Totally Free Lint Removal', which was part of an exhibition (SELF HELP) at Mercer Union in Toronto in 2000, curated by Anda Kubis. She is currently working on a series of prints executed in shorthand and a performance for Flux Night in Atlanta
So this weekend was the French equivalent of 'Open Doors' at home. Lots of interesting buildings around Paris, and all of France, that are not usually open to the public, open their doors. Many had line ups which were somewhat daunting, but others you just breezed in. So here's a few of the places i saw over the last two days. And are my feet sore!
These are some of the people in my neighbourhood here at Cite des Arts
This is Sarah Jane Gorlitz and Wojciech Olejnik, who occupy the other Canadian studio and work collaboratively as softturns (softturns.com) Sarah Jane is also a super excellent tour guide.
This is Felicity Hammond, a British artist who works in photography and collage and has an upcoming show here during the Paris Photo event in November.
This is Vivien Zhang, another UK artist. She is a painter and i believe works mostly with oils.
And this is Sun Mee Kang from South Korea. She has been working on this wonderful version of a letter from the Cite's director, recreated on her studio wall with black tape. She does alot of large site specific installation work.
So it occured to me yesterday during my quest for cemetery textile inspiration that i might actually get tired of wearing the same two sweaters that i brought for four months. So i made my way up to Place de Clichy and the Guerrisol, which is kind of like the Value Village of menswear. And not only did i score a lovely wool sweater for 5 euros but also a scarf for 3. Every man here is already wearing a scarf and its like 15 degrees out. If i'm going to blend in i better cover my neck.
After all that shopping (really two items is alot for me) i needed a cultural break so i headed over to the Musee Guimet to look at Asian art and antiquities. What started out as a private collection back in the 1870's is now full blown museum. There was also an exhibition of Hiroshige woodblock prints on, which was very interesting. No problems taking photographs here.
So yesterday was a busy day here. After working in the morning i took the Metro down to Montparnasse so check out the Oxfam shop there, thinking i might score some old clothes for some work i'm doing, but it turned out to be books only, so i left with a copy of Mavis Gallant's 'Varieties of Exile' instead.
Then i went for a walk through Montparnasse Cemetery, looking for potential material, just kinda wandering and taking pictures. Still thinking about clothes and memorials and things in that direction. It was fairly quiet there, not nearly as busy as Pere Lachaise so a better place to think and possibly work. Also the tombs and stones are more human scale so probably more suited to clothing/textiles.
Finally, i stopped in at the Cartier Foundation for the Ron Mueck show, which was fun. There was a good film showing his working process, in his small London studio where he makes these large scale figure sculptures. Unfortunately, no photography allowed inside :(
Here's a link to Mueck's Wikipedia entry which has a few images. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Mueck
Just so you don't think Paris is all glamour and window licking there's a daily reminder right outside the front door, and right below my window that there are alot of homeless people here too, living on the street. This is a little camp just 20 meters from the front door.
Just below my window another guy has set up his area on these benches. Fortunately he's very quiet and even sweeps the leaves out of his space from time to time. Most of the day he just sits, and of course you wonder what he's thinking about all day while he sits there.
And this is the colonnade that runs along the front of the building. It's clear during the day but in the evening people begin to arrive and claim their spots. It's quite a mix of people, drinkers, loud talkers, and even a older woman who looks like a grandmother. A daily reminder of our fortunate position inside the building in our comfortable studios.
Here are a few samples of my recent window-licking. It could certainly be an almost full time job here.
So today i went to see the Institut Pasteur, which maintains as a museum the apartment where Louis Pasteur and his wife lived for the last 7 seven years of his life. The museum is restricted to three small tours a day, so arrive on time.
You must also present a valid photo ID and be issued a security card to enter the Institut grounds. Here's my ID which will also make a good souvenir.
This is the museum exterior. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the museum, which includes a display of some of Pasteur's scientific instruments, the Pasteur's apartment and the crypt where Pasteur and his wife are buried. We had a very good guide, who was obviously proud of the Institute's work and Pasteur's accomplishments. She also told a touching story about when she started working there in the early 80's and how the isolation/infectious disease wards, which had been quite underused, suddenly were called into service again during the early years of the AIDS crisis. She said they were quite busy until drug therapies began to be used in the early 90's. Now they have been converted to laboratories. The Pasteur Institute is where the HIV virus was first isolated in 1983. Pasteur's tomb, modeled on the mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna celebrates his accomplishments in the vaccination for rabies and anthrax, and the pasteurization of beer.
Pasteur was also a talented portraitist as a young man, and several of his original works, including portraits of his parents hang in the apartment. Also in the neighbourhood you can drink some beer at the Cafe Pasteur. Cheers Louis!