You see these plaques all over the Marais, memorializing the deported Jewish children from the second world war.
Here's a little photo group to show you how some of my thinking about what i'm doing is going. These are things that have struck me that i've then tried to bring into the line of what i'm doing, involving clothing and memorials.
You see these plaques all over the Marais, memorializing the deported Jewish children from the second world war.
A Christian Boltanski installation at the Palais de Tokyo, shelves of old clothes.
A homeless woman's belongings sheltering in a phone booth.
Again, the shoes on Nijinsky's grave.
Didier's encampment below my window.
First attempts, Montparnasse cemetery.
Seeing it more clearly on the street....
Working through it in the studio.....
Trying it out in the street.
In the several times i've been to Paris i had never been inside the Gallerie Lafayette or Printemps department stores, which are both designated heritage properties as well as shops, so i stopped by both of them today to see what i had been missing. And yes i did see some very nice shoes. Here's the big dome in Gallerie Lafayette....
From there i went down to the Palais de Tokyo to check out the Philippe Parreno exhibition. The outside of the Palais had been postered over in some interesting ways....
Palais de Tokyo selfie!
Philippe Parreno is the first artist who has been given use of the entire building, and what he seems to have done is gutted it and and then installed a few player pianos, some video projections, flickering lights, lots of ambient sound, a performance and what might be a pile of snow. His exhibition is called 'Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World'.
This piano played for abit and then a drum installed above it turned releasing some black material that fell on it.
This bookshelf swiveled out to reveal a hidden room full of drawings of birds.
This is Zidane, a 21st century Portrait, which was actually at the AGH last year. It's an entire soccer match filmed on 17 cameras each focused on a single player, Zidane.
This little girl was delivering a monoloque. I came in at the end so didn't really get the gist of it. Then there was a video about this anime character who looses her identity.
This conveys the stripped back atmosphere of some of the building.... those lights were flickering like crazy to a piano score played in another part of the building.
The pile of snow? salt? The room was quite cold but there was something un-snowish about it. People were happy to make hand shadows on it. There was also another very large room with different marquees of lights that also flashed in syncopation with this piano music.
ooops and now we're jumping across the courtyard to the Musee d'Art Moderne, where in the basement i found this piece by Christian Boltanski. It's all the phone book directories of the world organized as a library, alphabetically by country. So everyone in the world who had a listed phone number in 1993.
I asked the guard if you could consult the books and she said yes so i looked up my honey. 465-4885. Christian Boltanski says so! oh and there's your dad. awww.
So i decided it would be an interesting treat to try a night at the Opera, since it's in the neighbourhood and its kinda suppose to be a big deal. I splurged out on a middle range ticket for Strauss' ELEKTRA, a dark, axe wielding tale of murder and revenge. And not to forget the Bastille Opera House was designed by a Canadian, as were opera surtitles, first used by the Canadian Opera Company in a production of ELEKTRA in 1983.
Bastille Opera selfie.
My purchased seat was in the last row of the 'parterre' but just before the action began the helpful usher moved a bunch of people forward into better seats. Thanks usher guy!
Here's the curtain call and let me tell you those opera fans are very enthusiastic. It was an interesting night out. The minimalist set was also designed by Canadian Michael Levine, so it was a kind of canuck night out all around. Bravo!
Well, more jack-hammering this morning, so i did some work while they were on their very long coffee break and then took the noise as a good excuse to get out and see some culture. I'm trying to see more contemporary work this week so headed over to the Bastille to check out La Maison Rouge.
On my way past the Basin de L'Arsenal i stopped to admire this, what is it called anyway? Over door mantel? Door super frame? Anyway this door thingy. Look at those carved ropes!
The outside of La Maison Rouge was not very spectacular. A little neon. glass door. But the show inside, a display of David Walsh's private collection was awesome in its curatorial prowess. Walsh is some big private collector from Tasmania, where he founded the Museum of Old and New Art. And the evocative and sometimes jarring ways the collection hung together left me giddy. Stunned. Jack-hammered. No photos allowed of course but i did sneak one to give you some slight idea. Egyptian sarcophagus meet Giacometti meet these ceremonial clothes made of bark called 'tapas.'
Not as part of the show, but just part of the museum, there is a fountain that jets out water that forms text that is randomly generated from the internet. It was like having a hallucination. It's by Julius Popp and you can see a video about his work here if you want to cut and paste.
After all that i needed to walk around for awhile to clear my head and start feeling like i was in the world again. I went over to the Institut du Monde Arab to look at the view
The windows of the building are covered with this lattice like grid of metal. The apertures open and close depending on the amount of light/heat they want to let in.
And here's the view from the rooftop terrace. Oh right, i'm in Paris. Hey Terrace in Paris! I'm a poet!
My day was slightly dictated today but the loud hammering of the removal of the stone parapet directly above my studio. There was really no way to work through that amount of noise so i went out to wander and see what i might see.
I started out at the Palais Royal, where i took a few pictures before cutting up to the Ave. des Petits Champs to see the Passage Choiseul, one of the old covered passage ways.
An air of neglect was obviously being overtaken by a wave of sushi and korean restaurants. A few of the old stores and cafes remain but i would guess not for much longer.
In Passage Choiseul there was an old art supply store which had this 'artist's smock' displayed in the window. Every worker has their proper uniform.
From there i headed up to the Place de Clichy and to LE BAL, a contemporary art space to see an exhibition of photographs by american Mark Cohen. They were really interesting, and there was some interesting biographiocal info about Cohen spending his life, by choice, in the small backwater of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, because that's where the inspiration for his work lay. They also had a super little cafe there where i had an excellent lunch, despite not having a reservation (!)
This was one of my favorites from the exhibition.
Then, since i was in the neighbourhood, i went for a long walk through Montmartre cemetery. Part of the cemetery occupies land which goes under a road overpass. I'm not sure which was there first, the cemetery or the road, but it makes an odd sort of space.
And this has to be one of the strangest tombstones i've seen. A bronze cactus. I'd love to know the story behind this one.
And in the spirit of one of my current projects which involves memorials and clothing i found these ballet shoes on the grave of Nijinsky.
Yesterday while i was visiting the cafeteria at the Cite de L'Architecture et du Patrimoine i also stopped in to see the ART DECO exhibition. Based largely around the plans and drawings for the Paris Exposition of Industrial and Decorative Arts in 1925, it was a fascinating display of the different pavilions and their impact on the Art Deco style. Here's a few details....
And since i was at the Place de Chaillot how could i resist taking one more picture of the Eiffel Tower, especially since the clouds are looking so cloudy.
Well you can't always be sitting in smart little cafes sipping wine. Sometimes you feel the cultural call and you have to venture out to galleries and museums or even stores! But all is not lost, because there's even some pretty great and cheap 'cafeterias' where you can grab a quick lunch. Here's a few of my favorites so far.
The first is the cafeteria at the Petit Palais. Aside from the overabundance of pot lights, a spacious modern place with pretty good food and a view out onto a lovely garden. And the museum is free.
This is the cafeteria at the BHV store near the Marais. It's on the top floor and has a lovely view out over the roof tops of the Hotel de Ville. Virtually tourist free.
And this is the Cafe Carlu at the Cite de L'Architecture et du Patrimoine. You can get a decent sandwich, or even a couple of hot dishes, but again it's the view that just reminds you where you are...
And this one wins on its name alone. After seeing Napoleon's tomb you can sit down and have some lunch in the unglamorous, but glamorously named "Cafeteria Des Invalides" This is a place-mat that i stole from there a couple years ago and took home and have framed and hanging in my kitchen.
After slacking off abit in London it's back to work here at the Cite. I saw lots of art in London but didn't get as much work done as i had hoped so will buckle down for abit and plow ahead. I'm sure i only have 20 or 30 thousand sequins to go. I feel somewhat like an underpaid seamstress working at a prestigious but undervalued fashion house. House de Long John.
I did however have to go out and eat, and as it was sunday and abit cold for my usual crepe at the outdoor market i went to the very popular L'As du Fallafel which is actually just a couple blocks away and often has a long queue. I got there just as it began to fill up and snagged a table inside. The fallafel was very good and i didn't have to line up.
I thought i would just go for a little walk after lunch and headed over to the Pompidou to see the newly opened 5th floor, which was closed for re-installation earlier this fall. I saw this gorgeous Tamara de Lempicka
I also had to do laundry today as i was down to my last pair of clean socks. On my way to my favorite Lavarie over on the island i often pass by an elementary school. Outside the school there is a railing where someone usually parks their little scooter. Lots of people in Paris seem to use these, and not just children. It wasn't there today, it being sunday, but i recalled it just the same.
Well, I'm back in Paris and since i didn't really do much today but ride a train under the English Channel, i thought i'd catch you up with some window licking from before i went to London. Being a frequent GO train rider at home i must just say that there's something wonderful about zooming along through the countryside at high speed without stopping every five minutes. Especially when they serve wine on board. Cheers. Now lick that window!
And just before i went to London i came across this charming shop.
As you can see they certainly know their client base. I so want to sit in that window and drink coffee through a straw. Who's with me?!
Here's a life lesson: do not try and break in your new shoes on your last day in London. My dogs are barking. And speaking of dogs....i took a turn through Harrods this morning to check out the wet fish display in the Food Hall. it was sumptuous as ever. But then i started looking around at what else was available. There was all kinds of goodies, even this very high end gourmet hotdog. Surprisingly the prices for most of the ordinary foods didn't seem that outrageous. The champagne and oyster bar i'm not so sure...
The Dodi and Diana memorial in the basement seemed oddly deserted and sad in a neglected rather than tragic way. I remember throngs of curious tourists there the last time i was in London. I quickly got over it in the men's shoe department.
From Harrods i carried on over to the V&A to see the Elmgreen and Dragset installation 'Tomorrow'. they've used the old furniture galleries to create the home of the fictional architect Norman Swann. It was full of interesting and evocative clues about Swann and his life, including a dining table set for 12 that was cracked down the center, the crack carrying on right through the plates and place settings. Unfortunately there was no photography allowed but i managed a couple when the guards, who were dressed as butlers, weren't looking.
I also stuck my head in the National Arts Library at the V&A where you can spend the drizzly afternoon going through current art periodicals.
From the V&A i bused it down to the Beaconsfield Art Center to see Judith Dean's show Phase 4 which was somewhat overwhelmed by the gallery space. Not everything has to be a spectacle, but this was way to subtle for me.
There may have been a sound element but it ended just as i came in and then didn't start up again. Interesting space though... you could hear the trains rumbling by overhead.
By late afternoon it was time for a coffee stop, and some rest for my new shoes.