John Armleder:Jacques Garcia – an unusual experience in Paris Swiss Cultural Center

Wandering in Paris Marais streets  on a hot or rainy, or windy day, do take a break and pay a visit to Swiss Cultural Center, located rue des Francs-Bourgeois, at the end of a narrow cobbled alley.

The Swiss artist John Armleder has kept being concerned by the prominent part of the viewer in a work of art, and the relation between paintings and their surroundings.

Most of the time, my paintings would end being hanged next to a couch or over a fire place, so at this point, I decided to provide both the painting and the couch.

As John Armleder thinks that it’s the viewer who makes the work of art, French designer Jacques Garcia thinks that it’s the customer who makes the design.

For this installation, John Armleder has asked  Jacques Garcia, well known for his baroque, neo- gothique, second empire interiors (Ladurée tea rooms for example), to create a furnished flat as a setting for paintings and photographs.

You first enter a fancy dining room  with a table set for supper, and then come in a boudoir opening on a bedroom, with a tiger skin laying  on the floor, its naturalized  mouth wide open, and a painting of a vampire lady on the wall. All  walls are covered with burgundy drapes, the only natural light comes from a ceiling window.  Profusion of art and literary books, decorative objects, paintings and photos on the walls (not all by Armleder) that  share a  sophisticated and a bit deleterious erotic touch, all that make you feel it’s really someone’s place. An odd, out of time, a kitsch but somehow charming private place, a place you don’t belong to.  And suddenly, you see yourself in a mirror you had’nt noticed : you’re part of the whole installation. It makes you feel as if you were walking inside a Gustave Moreau painting.

A bit weird experience, but really worth it.

Centre Cuturel Suisse 132-138 rue des Francs-Bourgeois 75003 Paris Metro Saint-Paul tel 33 (0) 1 42 71 44 50 opened Wednesday to Sunday 13 – 20, Thursday up to 22. Free entrance. Exhibition John Armleder : Jacques Garcia up to August 4, and from September 3 to September 28 (Swiss Cultural Center closes in August )

For more information, go to : www.ccsparis.com/

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