After an arduous morning at the Laverie i thought i should do something cultural as a reward, so i went to the Archives Nationales at the Hotel de Soubise to see a show of tapestries. I hadn't been inside this Hotel before so of course that was fun.
The last time i was in this courtyard was during Nuit Blanche when there were a couple thousand other people with me. This is much nicer.
And then there were the rooms of the Hotel de Soubise itself....
Looking up into a chandelier....
Soubise selfie. you can see from the chairs behind me that they have concerts here as well.
Because its the national archive they have lots of historical documents and there were a handful on display, including this letter of Napoleon's. There was also the touching marriage certificate of Moliere.
And here's an interesting way to archive historical documents....in boxes filling a window. It did darken the rest of the room i guess.
And after a hard day of laundry and culture how about a little fortification. Here's a Millefeuille aux Fraise at the local Patisserie.
When i'm not busy at art fairs or museums, or sitting in my favorite cafe drinking coffee, i actually do some work. Most of it is incredibly repetitive and wouldn't be very interesting to see, sewing 10's of thousands of sequins in place, but once in awhile i get to have some fun and go out into the city to do these little street scenes. Its fun to walk around scouting locations, finding just the right spot, and then appearing furtively with a bag of old clothes, and to the puzzled look of passersby, making a little composition. Once you pull out the camera they just figure you're an 'artist' or some whacked out fashion person, but its nice to be out of the studio sometime, doing something seemingly irrational in public with no permission and no one to please but yourself.
My original proposal to the Canada Council for this residency involved me designing a sort of memorial. What began as some textile work in cemetery settings has moved into the street, i think after seeing so many people here, particularly around the Cite, sleeping rough. This is of course studio work, so we'll see where it leads.
I'm sure you must be wondering if i'm not going to run out of museums soon. I keep thinking i will too, but then someone tells me about something i've got see. As was the case here with the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, which i was going to give a pass, until a friend told me it was full of strange taxidermy and contemporary art installations, like this crocheted polar bear. So of course i had to see that.....the lighting in this room was so intense there was a warning at the door about the electromagnetic field and if you had a pacemaker you shouldn't enter.
The museum is organized by rooms according to animal and this was in the very eerie unicorn room.
Guns so pretty it's hard to believe they were used for killing.
You couldn't buy these in the gift shop, just postcards. :(
Yesterday i went to the Musee de la Poupee, which shows the private doll collection of the charming Samy Odin. Now i don't know anything about dolls except that on the antiques roadshow they are often very valuable, and the Musee certainly has a wide ranging collection. Here are a few from the display. Funny how their eyes seem to follow you when you turn away....
After spending abit of time with the collection i realized i was flashing back to that old Jane Fonda classic of 1968 'Barbarella' which i must have seen when i was seven years old and my dad would sneak us into the drive in under an old blanket on the floor of the car. This spooky scene still gives me the willies....
Then with somewhat sheepish apologies to Monsieur Odin, and a promise to return, i got the heck out of there.
I realized yesterday that having been here for almost two and half months, i had only been to the Louvre Museum once. So since it was late opening friday i thought i'd go for a wander and see what there was to see. It's pretty easy to get in at night, the really big hoards have all gone and with the automated ticket machines there's hardly a line up at all. There were quite a few art classes going on, students drawing from statues or paintings, and it was interesting to check out their work. Thats what those people just over my shoulder, sitting on the floor, are doing. Here's my Louvre selfie....
Didn't i take this selfie in the British Museum?
And the Napoleon Apartments were very dim and sparkly at night....
As was the Apollo Gallery.....
And the sisters, by Chasseriau were still just where i'd left them.....
Then it's back out into the Paris night, my head stuffed with art, the moon nearly full, to walk home along the river.
Today my lovely friend S VIPed me through the Paris Photo exhibition. It was held in the Grand Palais, a building i've often wanted to see but never been inside before. The space was awesome, filled with natural light which made looking at the photos a pleasure. And so large an interior volume that even when the crowds got thick you didn't feel that looming sense of claustrophobia. Here's some shots of the building...
Oh yes, and there were some photographs- everything from the very earliest William Henry Fox Talbot to the latest Edward Burtynsky. Here's a few random things that struck me.....
I spent much of the afternoon today going through what was probably a mile of antique dealers at the local Bastille Brocante, or antique fair. In this selfie you can see the Basin de L'Arsenal behind me and the Bastille column in the distance. The Brocante goes up both sides of the Basin to the Bastille, you can see the tents along both sides behind me, and then there was a large pavilion at the Bastllle where the fancier dealers are located.
This is the indoor pavilion where the more upscale dealers were. If you wanted to buy an 18th Century ivory crucifix or an inlaid table or some family silver this was the place for you. The dealers get twitchy when you take photos, so consider yourselves spared a lengthy slideshow of every little bibelot that caught my eye. i did see an extremely lovely charcoal portrait sketch of the french academic variety that had me drooling.
I preferred the outdoor dealers who seemed abit more like a flea market, but were more fun to dig through and the prices weren't quite so high. I found a beautiful cast bronze of a child's hand (1902) that would have only set me back 280 EU. All this gorgeous old stuff made me wonder, in 100 years will people be wandering through antique shops coveting the things we make?
I also saw this little treasure which i'm sure would make someone a lovely christmas gift.....
On my way out this morning i stopped to take a picture of this charming 'caisse' in front of city hall. It's the concession stand and ticket booth for the merry go round. Then i hopped on the bus and headed over to the architecture museum. It was a lovely bright day for what was abit of a long bus ride, just because the traffic was bad, but gave lots of time to look out the window at the scenery.
La Cite de L'Architecture et du Patrimoine is one of my favorite museums here, not only because of the collection but because its one of the underdog attractions of the city and hence not swarming with tourists. Looking at the collection of casts of medieval and renaissance architecture was like looking at a catalogue of my current obsessions. The stone drapery, the sense of elegy etc etc.
here's a little slideshow of some of the highlights.....
Built in the early 17th century by Henri the Fourth, and designed by the architect who created Place des Voges, Hopital St Louis is still a working hospital. Built outside the city gates it was intended as an isolation hospital for plague victims, and contained its own gardens and chapel to nourish the bodies and spirits of its residents. Here is how it looked way back when.
The principal entry gate is currently famous as a police station in some french tv drama. That's it at the bottom center of the etching to give you some sense of scale.
A pavilion at a corner of the peripheral courtyard.
Entry into the central courtyard.
Central courtyard pavilion. you can see the strong resemblance to Place des Voges
The Bath Pavilion. I'm not sure but this may be a later addition.
The Chapel exterior
The Chapel interior, ransacked during the revolution and never completely recovered. A woman here who is a member of the friends of St Louis told me that during roof restoration a decade ago, they found the original chapel bell, which had never been rung, and was then hung and now rings on mass days.
The bell at the entry gate, which also had a circular rotating mechanism that allowed people to pass food and things into the hospital without entering or touching anyone within.
Since it's Remembrance Day i thought i would go over to the Memorial to the Deported and post some pics of it. As i left the Cite the Republican Guards were parading down the street. Here are my pics from the memorial.