Category Archives: sculpture

Musée Bourdelle : a quiet journey back to old Paris Montparnasse

The current exhibition Rêve Brisé by Alain Séchas also gives the opportunity to discover the Bourdelle Museum.

It’s a brick building of the sixties, on a quiet street close to the noisy avenue du Maine, Montparnasse Raiway Station and Tower.

Along the street, a garden with benches to sit, rest, dream or read among some of the more than 500 sculptures by Antoine Bourdelle that are permanently exhibited in all parts of the museum. Here a neo antique warrior with a modern background.

The arcades on the museum’s building side makes you almost feel you’re in a cloister, with profane statues.

this one is called the Fruits, and this proud young Eve is typical of many Bourdelle’s women figures.

As this gracious silhouette in the dark of the museum entrance.

Many of Bourdelle’s works are exhibited in a large room lighted by a glass roof.

The famous Héracles archer. (1909)

A bas-relief called La Tragédie, made  in 1912 for the Champs-Elysées Theater.

In the back of the exhibition rooms, you get further in the past, entering the studio where Antoine Bourdelle worked from 1884 up to his death in 1929.


It overlooks a backyard with outdoor scultptures, among these, another (bronze) version of the dying centaur that we just saw in the studio. It is really cool out there, even on hot days.

Back toward the street, you can also visit Bourdelle’s appartment, originaly located impasse du Maine, which no longer exists.

It’s cluttered up with statues which certainly were some place else when Bourdelle lived there, and modern metallic chairs and halogen lamp look terrible. But still, you can get an idea of a nineteenth century Montparnasse artist home, focusing on the few pieces of furniture along the walls.

Musée Bourdelle, 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris Metro Montparnasse, tel 33(0)1 49 54 73 73, open everyday except Monday 10-18, free entrance when there is no temporary exhibition (currantly Alain Séchas Rêve Brisé up to August 24.

Alain Séchas in Paris Musée Bourdelle : “Rêve Brisé”, a never ending dream

Paris Musée Bourdelle often welcomes living artists (previously, Henry Moore) and for this new exhibition, Alain Séchas has worked in relation with the world and art of Antoine Bourdelle.

The magnificent cat in the poster, sitting in front of a Bourdelle’s nude bronze might sign an important evolution in Séchas universe, up to now mostly composed of stylized white cats.

As in this 2002 installation in Salpétrière church, called les Somnambules (the sleepwalkers)

Since I have seen these half human cats wandering in circle around the frozen canopy bed of a wide awake catlike princess, I kept being interested by Séchas work.

And this last one is worth visiting.

In the museum ‘s great hall, among Bourdelle’s sculptures, Alain Séchas white centaur stands like on a scene, brighty lighted every fifteen minutes. It has taken the usual place of one of Bourdelle’s Dying Centaurs, which is waiting in a nearby room with a clock called Gong, showing hour and date since the beginning of Séchas exhibition.

The Dying Centaur is a major mythological figure in Bourdelle’s work, and in the museum, you may find another one in Bourdelle’s studio, and another more in the inner garden.


They do look alike, for Alain Séchas’centaur is made of white polyester, from the moulds made for the bronze versions of Bourdelle’s scuplture. It’s not called Dying Centaur but Rêve Brisé (Broken Dream). Broken dream of a creature not only half human, half animal but half human, half god too.

So every fifteen minutes, after light has come on the white centaur, it starts slowly collapsing.

It comes more and more to pieces as it falls.

And at the end of the process, its head bangs against the ground.

But after a while, it starts rising from the dead.

Until it’s completely up and restored.

And then light fades out, and fifteen minutes later, the centaur dies and comes back to (still) life.

Though of course, it is the movement (in circle) which sighs the artist’s singularity in his tribute to Bourdelle.

In other rooms are shown pastels, pencil, paintings made by Séchas without preliminary drawing, in a continuity of time, on a rotating support. Like le plaisir, four acrylic paintings on cartboard :

Or Criterium, named after a famous pencil pen trademark :

or Ping Pang Pong :

All titles testify of the artist’s sense of humor.

Alain Séchas, Rêve Brisé, Musée Bourdelle, 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, Metro Montparnasse, everyday  except Monday 10 to 18, entrance 5 euros, up to August 24. Tel : 33(0)1 49 54 73 73.

It might be worth while calling, for the first time I came to visit this exhibition, the centaur’s mecanism was out of order, and could be fixed only the next Monday (while the museum was closed).



Artsenat 2008 : French Modern Art in Paris Jardin du Luxembourg #2

Most of Artsenat 2008 charm comes from the setting of modern art next to nineteenth century sculptures and in a garden where people also come for other activities.

Morceaux Fleuris (left) and Origine Pop (right) created by Faz in 2008 might not be so charming if they weren’t set on both sides of the tribute to Delacroix by Aimé Jules Dalou and the young lady walking her baby in a red carriage makes the whole installation complete.


Just as the Arbres de Vie (2008) by Nathalie Decoster fit in the green of the original trees.

And the rain has filled the cups of Grand poète ivre (a tribute to Li Po) by Axel Cassel.

Jordi la cage de lumière et de vent 2008

Christophe Dalecki Petite ligne verte

IP 26 by Nicolas Sanhes (2007) shines on its classical architecture background.

And some prefer to sit in the sun and enjoy the view.

Life goes on as ever (I remember riding pony along this alley when I was a kid)

And at the end of this alley stands a huge head.

Tiny young girls next to the 6 meters and a half high Prophète by Louis Derbré (2007) and the statue of Valentine de Milan, duchesse d’Orléans in the background.

The huge profile fitting in the “Allée des reines” (row of nineteenth century statues of ancient queens)

As the half circle made of nine bronze sculptures spell out of the work’s title : Tolérance

Letter “E” of this installation by Guy Ferrer framing the landscape.

After pacing up and down the garden, the nicest place to rest is the fontaine Médicis, next to the Sénat.

There you can sit in the shade along the water.

the sculpture by Auguste-Louis Ottin features cyclops Polyphème in the process of crushing the lovers Acis and Galatée.

Marble and flesh lovers of all ages.

Jardin du Luxembourg 75006 Paris RER Luxembourg. Open from sunrise to sunset. Exhibition Artsénat 2008 up to September 21.


Artsenat 2008, French Modern Art in Paris Jardin du Luxembourg #1

Boulevard Saint-Michel and rue de Médicis all around the Luxembourg garden, iron gates are covered with various large photos.

But inside the garden, during all summer, “Artsénat 2008” proposes an exhibition of French Modern Art, “Du vent dans les branches” (“Wind in the Branches”).

Around Robert Combas, whose work is on the poster, forty less well known artists have settled down in the garden.

You can sit on the lawn next to flowerbeds and large orange Germination (2003/2004) by Philippe Desloubières.

Un certain walkman, created in 1987 by Philippe Seené seems to jump imitating the gesture of the sculpture laying in the bush behind him …

l’effort, a 1907 sculpture by Pierre Roche.

Figure accroupie (2000) by Jeanne Bouchard seems to be part of the trees around.

While in her Sphère étude n°1 (1995) a skinny Sisyphe rolls his heavy burden over seated readers in front of …

le triomphe de Silène, triumph of French nineteenth century sculpture, by Aimé-Jules Dalou

The stag in the installation by Roland Cognet (Cerf, 2008) watches the tennis players.

While red strips hang over the chess players heads, it’s du vent dans les branches, the 2008 installation by Jean-Marc Sicard which has given its name to the whole exhibition. Around the trunks, red strips on which one can read the riddle written on the hanging ones : “être dans le vent est une ambition de feuille morte”( to be trendy is a dead leaf’s ambition )

In front of the Orangerie stands the huge Pôt de jambes en bouquet de pieds et de mollets (pot of legs with a bunch of feet and calves) created in 2007 by Robert Combas.

If you are in Paris this week, up to June 15, you can see works exhibited in the Orangerie.

In front of the entrance, a 2006 canvas by Robert Combas is facing his outdoor sculpture : le guerrier païen (the pagan warrior).

The Orangerie hall, with Extrusion de feuilles, a 2008 sculpture by Jean Isnard, in front of Cut hands, a 2007 painting by Michèle Robine.

Forêt de Songes and Le corbeau (2007), by Philippe Borderieux, in front of Eve on the promised land, two 2007 canvasses by Corinne Phima.

Enjoy 24 and 25 by Xio Fan Ru (2007)

Banc (bench, 2008) and Evitement (High pass (?), 2007), installation by Jean-Paul Réti in front of le Pont (the bridge, 2007) by Stéphane Pencréac’h.

La source by Stéphane Pencréac’h (2007)

Part of Arbre # 2 (2003) by Tian Bing Li .

Artsénat 2008, Orangerie du Sénat 19 bis rue de Vaugirard 75006 Paris (entrance in Luxembourg garden) everyday 11/19, up to June 15, free entrance. Program of following exhibitions on http://www.senat.fr/evenement/artsenat/2008/index.htm

Artsénat 2008, “Du vent dans les branches”, jardin du Luxembourg, entrance rue de Vaugirard, RER B station Luxembourg, open everyday from sunrise to sunset, free entrance, up to September 21.

Louise Bourgeois : welcoming hands for you in Paris Tuileries Garden

The great monographic exhibition dedicated to Louise Bourgeois in Paris Beaubourg is closing on June 2.

.

If you can’t make it, it will be shown next in New York Guggenheim, and then in Los Angeles. But in Paris, you still have the opportunity of visiting a sculpture installation by Louise Bourgeois in Tuileries garden.

Welcoming hands displays six sculptures of bronze hands laid on granite stones, created in 1996 and originally set in New York.

holding hands, and a single tiny hand.

the installation is located on the Jeu de Paume museum side, overlooking place de la Concorde and Richard Serra‘s Clara-Clara.

They invite you to a strange journey wandering among them, and as most of Louise Bourgeois‘s work, they provoke deep ans contrary feelings.

A most appropriate visitor’s reaction and attitude was Carolina laying her young pink hands in the hollow of the sculptured hands. She really got the artist’s point.

Jardin des Tuileries 1 place de la Concorde 75008 Paris, metro Concorde, opened everyday up to sunset.

Richard Serra in Paris : a walk in Grand Palais and Tuileries gardens

Monumenta is a special artistic event in Paris, confronting art and architecture : it shows a work specially created by a contemporary artist to match wit the huge and beautiful Grand Palais glass roof . This glass and steel cathedral was built by architect Henri Deglane for the 1900 universal exhibition. It has been recently renovated, and the first Monumenta occurred last year with an installation by Anselm Kiefer.

For Monumenta 2008, Richard Serra created Promenade

Though it was raining cats and dogs yesterday afternoon in Paris, it did not prevent tourists to take pictures sheltered under their umbrella. So, as you can see, I did the same.

And what better place to take a walk than the Grand Palais nave ?

The artist’s idea was to work on uprightness, so he has erected five huge steel rectangles aiming to the glass roof, disposed along a median line, though they are not exactly perpendicular to the ground. And visitors walking around look tiny.

If you get closer, perspective changes, and you discover that the surface is not plain nor even, but veined with different shades.

As Richard Serra says : “My work mostly deals with wandering and looking, but I can’t tell anyone how to walk or how to look.” Some like to touch it too.

Monumenta 2008 closes on June 15, but should you miss it, you still have the whole summer and fall to experiment another walk with Richard Serra‘s work. You just have to go down the Champs-Elysées avenue, cross place de la Concorde and enter Tuileries gardens.

You go through Clara-Clara, which was designed in 1983 for this particular location, but had been removed since. 25 five years later, visitors seem much more receptive to this experience. And this is good news.

Its curbed lines enhance the straight perspective from Arc de Triomphe to Louvre. Just as Promenade, it is both a sculpture and an installation, and the movement, scale and changing point of view of the visitor is part of the work.

Monumenta 2008, up to June 15, Nef du Grand Palais, Main entrance, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris metro Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau. 10 to 19 Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 to 23 Thursday to Sunday. Closed on Tuesday. Entrance 4 euros. Special events on Saturday nights : Saturday June 7 at 19.30, concert : Etudes and other works for Solo Piano by Philip Glass. Saturday June 14 at 19.30, sound surrounding by Motus. More information on : http://www.monumenta.com/2008/

Clara-Clara will be part of the outdoor modern sculpture exhibition in the Tuileries gardens, up to November 3, entrance place de la Concorde, metro Concorde (way out towards Jeu de Paume and Orangerie museums). Free entrance, open daily up to sunset.

Louise Bourgeois : A bad old girl and a major artist in Paris Centre Pompidou

This should be this spring modern art exhibition, over 200 pieces, from 1938 to 2007, all by Louise Bourgeois, shown in Paris Centre Pompidou, usually known as “Beaubourg“.

This 97 years old lady has kept alive the bad spirit, humor and anguish of the little French girl through her work, which she started in 1938 in New York, where she came with her American husband and where she’s been living ever since.

She makes you think of Duchamp, and of the surrealists, but her artistic universe is unique and cannot be related to any specific school. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, visiting this exhibition is an emotional, touching and fun experience.

“Mother” greets you in the hall. It is a recurrent figure, with the “femmes-maisons” ( women- houses). But she is not always figurative :

cumul 1969“Cumul ” 1969

And she can be very clear:

raltered states“altered states”(1992)

And when she uses baby pink material, it is not only sweet.

“seven in bed”(2001)

The main part of the exhibition is on level 6, but don’t miss the two rooms located in level 4 at the permanent collection entrance. One of them shows on every wall one of her last work (painting, drawing, writing) untitled “extreme tension” (2007). In the other one, a square piece of material says, embroidered in pink, “I’ve stayed in hell, it was wonderful”.

The had started while I was visiting, pouring on the terrace, over the tables adorned wit silly stiff roses.

And I stopped watching a 1993 video of Louise Bourgeois

And if you understand French, I advise you to look at it, if you want to find a seat, you have to wait until it is over, for she is so witty and clever that she keeps fascinating a large audience .

Exhibition “Louise Bourgeois” up to June 2, Centre Pompidou, place Georges Pompidou, Metro Rambuteau or Hotel de Ville, everyday except Tuesday 11 AM / 21, price 10 euros (for all exhibitions and permanent collection) tel 33(0)1 44 78 12 33. All information and reservation on : http://www.centrepompidou.fr/