Birthday Suit, sequins and thread on cotton union suit. 2013-ongoing.
So the last two nights have been the Cite's 'Portes Ouverts' or open studio. I think i had about 60 people thru on the first night and about as many again the second night. It was abit like giving a four hour artist's talk, half of it in broken french. The interesting part of an event like this is how much you can learn about the your work from peoples' reactions to it. It's gratifying to see when people 'get it' and you feel that you are communicating your intention.
Birthday Suit, sequins and thread on cotton union suit. 2013-ongoing.
Le close-up. So pretty.
Twelve months of work will culminate next April when i wear my Birthday Suit for a day long performance on April 18th, my 53rd birthday.
I spent the day yesterday getting ready for the Open Studio at the Cite, so here's some random things from around the neighbourhood.
This is the Cafeotheque, which is right next door and makes some of the best coffee in Paris. And look who's about to buy me a cup!
These are the next door neighbours on the other side, the Hotel de Sens, one of the oldest buildings in the city and now home of the Fourny Library which specializes in fine arts.
And this is my local bakery which serves up a pretty good baguette.
This is the neighbourhood church which has just been recently cleaned and is looking quite spiffy.
It houses this beautiful Delacroix....
A little further away, but still within easy walking distance is the Abbey Bookshop. Canadian owned and operated. i ordered a book there yesterday.
Also while we were out walking today we saw this diver come out of the river. Diving for what we wondered.....better not to ask.
I also came across this interesting homeless encampment set up in some scaffolding. I wonder if it will still be there sunday....
On sunday after my morning photo shoot i decided to head up to Clingancourt flea market. Here is a view of the Cite from the island. Still a few stubborn leaves clinging to the trees.
I cut thru the flower market heading for the Metro.
On sundays part of the flower market becomes the bird market so i lingered and took a few pictures. These birds reminded me of Joseph Cornell.
The pigeons are free, why aren't we?
The rare Priscilla Queen of the Desert Bird.
From the bird market i took the Metro up to Clingancourt to try and tackle at least one or two more sections of the market. It really is vast and varies enormously from dealers selling old clothes to golden bibelots i wouldn't even dream of asking the price of. Some of the 'stalls' are really more like small museums. At one where i couldn't get a picture there were 6 stuffed peacocks, two stuffed albino peacocks, and a brace of stuffed owls, which i thought were illegal, and and old astronaut's suit.
Mirrors, mirrors on the wall....
Some old pharmacy bottles
Wouldn't you like to be the proud owner of this saucy painting?
This guy had all manor of clock related parts and things.
One of the hundreds of gilded little caves.
"Buy something already!"
Sunday morning, early, is the time when there are the least amount of people around on the street, so its a good time to get out and shoot some set ups. My initial destination this morning was this phone booth where i was going for a superman/rapture kinda thing. I think it needed alot more textile, like if the booth was a foot or two deep with discarded clothing.
And you'll recall my neighbourhood street dweller, Didier. Here's a shot i took of his encampment back in September.
With this in mind i thought i would try something similar on a bench. I think this one really works.
i saw this today in the metro. i was hoping to try something like this but am concerned about security. I was in the north part of the city yesterday when the metro was shut down due to a suspicious package. I'd hate to get busted for suspect clothes.
Here's a slightly closer in shot of the bench. I think the wider angle works slightly better, and conveys more of a sense of a bodily presence. Plus the beer can was a nice touch.
it's a bright mild day here today and the bouquinists along the Seine are looking quite busy with the Sunday crowds. Which reminds me, as i was walking home the other day and i noticed there were some odd looking bouguinists' stalls along the quai. Apparently there is a move afoot to redesign the bouquinists' stalls. Here's what the usual one looks like, with slight variations.
Here's design #1
#2, which looks fairly close to the traditional model
#3, getting a little more modern...although it looks abit coffin like to me....
and the Jetson's, space age #4. Vote for your favourite!
Yesterday, i headed down to the Conciergerie, having heard there was a contemporary art show on there. On the way i stopped to admire the Tour de L'Horloge, the oldest public time piece in the city.
The Conciergerie is the old palace and prison, and the theme of the show, drawn from the Pinault Collection, is imprisonment
The entry hall contained this piece by Michelangelo Pistoletto, of prison bars depicted on a large mirrored surface.
Bill Viola's Hall of Whispers was an impressive video piece.
Malgre la Difference by Raphaelle Ricol
Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's 'Old Person's Home' had these old men roaming the gallery in wheelchairs. I'd seen this piece before at the Saatchi in London where it was contained in a room away from the viewer. Here you had to walk through it as the wheelchairs slowly buzzed around the room.
The old men look disturbingly real, but are not.
Damien Hirst's large vitrine of drugs 'The Fragile Truth'. I spotted several familiar packages.
The Past is a Foreign Country by Friedrich Kunath
Jos De Gruyther and Harald Thys's bullet riddled 'White Elements'
And as a bonus to the contemporary art there was the evocative and eerily lit spaces of the prison itself.
There was also this tableau of the Conciergerie's most famous prisoner, Marie Antoinette. This is where she spent her last few days before her execution.
The trees here are so beautiful, and even now in early December there are still some with leaves on their branches. I had a strange dream the other night which asked me the question. 'if trees had faces would we tree them with more respect?' Would there be a group like PETA to end cruelty towards trees? It often makes me sad at home to see the conditions our urban trees must bare, and how they struggle on towards light despite their harsh environment. Though Paris is largely a stoney city, there are mature trees everywhere, and they soften the hard edges
So today i went out and gave this tree a face. Please respect him. He's French.
A glove waving hello on Rue des Archives.
Mr Bean's car.
A Christmas turkey made of lego.
Salvador Dali's Bicycle.
It's funny how your attention keeps being drawn to similar things over and over, as though your brain is trying to tell you something but it hasn't reached that stage of articulation yet where it can form a thought pattern. J and i were out and about today and these are some of the things that struck me.
This is one of the guys who lives in front of my building. He has all his belongings bundled up in a shopping cart and a sign that he sets up in front of him in french and english. It says he is 'hungary'.
No rain today but this guy wasn't taking any chances.
Later in the afternoon we were walking thru Pere Lachaise cemetery and stopped to look at this tomb of Croce and Spinelli who were two balloonist who died during an ascent in 1875.
The sequence of images your mind chooses to recognize is leading you down a path towards something you see in the distance but you're not completely sure what it is.
Today was a chore day, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, haircut, so i thought i'd do a quick studio inventory so you could see whats going on. Here's how things look...
here's an overview of my main work area. To the left there is a computer desk and to the right is the table where i am working on a puzzle which i recently discovered glows in the dark.
My little travel watercolours and some french water, but not for drinking.
Still plenty of sequins and a good supply of thread thanks to Rod and John.
Stolen church candles.
This is the invitation for the Open Studio Day we're having here at the Cite next week.
Venetian carnival masks and french water for drinking. Gotta stay hydrated!
Skull, adapter and work glasses. Don't worry i won't wear these out in public. They were the only glasses with the correct focal length at my local pharmacie. And my trusty ipod. I'm listening to the audio book of Remembrance of Things Past for the second time. The part about Francoise the cook was incredibly gripping!
Guidebooks and autumn leaves.
BIRTHDAY SUIT. Literally and figuratively on the last leg.