Category Archives: exhibitions

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/

all shades of red in Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs

In Paris, 2008 celebrates red as a color, and it takes place at Museum of Decorative Arts, located in a western wing of Louvre Palace.

Red as a color has many strong and opposite meanings, such as passion, danger, interdiction, rebellion, power…in popular French, “prendre un coup de rouge” does’nt mean what it’s literal translation suggests : “get hit by a communist”, but just “have a glass of (red) wine”.

Organizing elements of its permanent collection, the museum proposes an exhibition called aussi rouge que possible (“as red as possible”). It’s a series of installations , focused on diferent themes.

Red for power:

sculpture of roman emperor Hadrien (antique restored in French seventeenth century) next to  armchair Big Easy (Ron Arad, Italy 1991) and a portrait of Turgot by Carl Van Loo (circle 1739)

Red interiors:

armchair vermetila Fernando Campana Brazil 1993

couch Bocca Studio 65 Torino 1969, in front of 1950 posters for Lido Review and lipstick Rouge Baiser

Red clothes :

couch Djinn by Olivier Mourgue France 1993 under a tapestry : Return of the prodigal son France 1580

hats (1939/1950) in front of the window where a 1990 Yohji Yamamoto dress stands in front of a Castilian altar piece (circa 1475/1480) featuring Saint Michel beating the dragon, and two servant dresses (France 1820 – 1860)

Hell and Redemption :

Cabinet Enfer by Elisabeth Garouste Mattia Bonetti France 1998 and a poster advertising Anis Infernal by Leonetto Capiello France 1905

Red Alert:

Poster Hiroshima mon Amour (a play by Marguerite Duras) Théâtre de la tête noire, France 1998.

And in the same time and place, Valentino, Themes and Variations, an exhibition dedicated to the work of a fashion designer well known for his “red”.

And it’s also fascinating to wander through this museum’s huge and various permanent collection.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, Metro Palais-Royal, tel 33 (0)1 44 55 57 80 Closed on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday Friday : 11 to 18, Thursday 11 to 21, Saturday Sunday : 10 to 18.

Exhibition Aussi Rouge que Possible, up to November 1.

Exhibition  Valentino, Thèmes et Variations, up to September 21

ephemeral garden and everlasting myth around Paris town hall

At the edge of Marais area‘south part, Paris Hôtel de Ville is nowadays offering us two kind of dream, one on each side of the building.

On Town Hall’s eastern side, a free temporary exhibition is dedicated to Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco.

Anyone who has seen her entrance in Hitchcock‘s Rear Window (except Jim Stewart, performing the main character) can understand why Grace Kelly became a Hollywood myth, and consequently a prince’s bride.

There is a huge line in the afternoon, so I would suggest to go in the morning if you don’t want to wait too long.

You’ll still have stars in your eyes while walking on rue de Rivoli towards Town Hall square.

There, you can take an ecological and dreamy journey.

A quiet green pond reflects Town Hall’s front.

People rest in the sun close to a wooden cabin.

and luxuriant plants almost hide the traffic of one of Paris most crowded areas.

Les années Grace Kelly, Princesse de Monaco Hôtel de Ville salle Saint-Jean Metro Hôtel de Ville, everyday except Sundays  10/19, free entrance (last entrance 18).  Up to August 16.

Le jardin éphémère, Parvis de l’Hötel de Ville, Metro Hôtel de Ville, free entrance everyday 9/21, up to August 17.

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.

Young talents at Paris Jeu de Paume : Alec Soth, Valérie Mréjen, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain

Paris Jeu de Paume museum is now showing works of various talented artists under forty.

On the upper floor, the already famous American photographer Alec Soth continues in his own way the work of the great Walker Evans.

Untitled 02 Bogota 2003 from series Dog Days Bogota Alec Soth Magnum

This exhibition is called “space between us”. And it refers not so much to space between a photo and visitors looking at it as to space between the artist and his model.

Two Towels 2004 from series Niagara Alec Soth Magnum

The poster shows Charkes Vasa, Minessota 2002 from series Sleeping by the Mississipi

About the exhibition’s title, “space between us” : I often say that when I am making a portrait, I don’t “capture” the other one’s being. If photography represents anything , it’s the distance between me and the subject.

Downstairs, a French artist, Valérie Mrejen, who is writing novels as well as shooting films, presents a series of videos called place de la Concorde, after the museum’s location.

She works a lot on stereotypes, as in Capri, a video made on purpose for this event. The title already suggests a cliché of romantic issues. A man and a woman are having a couple’s quarrel in a living room, using words taken from films and tv series lines, and changing names during the argument’s course.

To get a brief example of Valérie Mréjen ‘s work, go to : http://www.jeudepaume.org/?page=article&sousmenu=&idArt=532&lieu=1

On the entrance ground and in the basement, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, two Brazilian artists living in Paris, use several medias to express their questioning of language and communication codes.

Midi à Paris 2008 Angelica Detanico & Rafael Lain courtesy of galerie Martine Aboucaya Paris.

They also present a virtual work on the museum’s web site : http://www.jeudepaume.org/?page=article&sousmenu=&idArt=622&lieu=1

More on their own website : http://www.detanicolain.com/

Jeu de Paume – Concorde, 1 place de la Concorde 75008 Paris metro Concorde, tel : 33(0) 1 47 03 12 50 open Tuesday 12/21, Wednesday to Friday 12/19, Saturday and Sunday 10/19, closed on Monday. Entrance 6 euros.

Up to June 15:

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.

Paris Museum of Romantic Life : German romanticism…and roses

ParisMusée de la vie romantique” always shows delightful exhibitions related to romanticism, and it is one of the most exquisite places to visit, specially in this season.

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These days, “The Golden Age of German Romanticism ” shows drawings and watercolors by German artists working at Goethe’s time, including a View of Rome by Goethe himself. Besides Füssli and Friedrich ( three beautiful drawings by each), it is an opportunity to discover less well known artists, like J.G Shadow, whose portrait of Schiller is on the exhibition’s poster.

In a doorway rue Chaptal #26 opens an alley, and walking along makes you think you’re far away from Paris.

At the end of it, you come to light at the museum’s entrance.

The exhibition rooms are in three different buildings, so going from one place to another, you cross the courtyard and its gorgeous flowers.

The last part of the exhibition takes place in the central house, and to get in, you climb up the outdoor stairs adorned with the most beautiful roses.

It is part of Ary Scheffer‘s townhouse, a painter of early nineteenth century, and you go through his living room.

When we left, we were a bit disappointed to discover that the tea room had not opened yet, for it is part of the place’s charm. If you come in June, it will be open.

Then, you will enjoy tea time in the garden, with bird songs and children voices from the next door school. Lovely.

Musée de la Vie Romantique, 16 rue Chaptal 75009 Paris metro Saint-Georges tel 33(0)1 55 31 95 67 open 10 to 18, closed on Monday. Exhibition : L’âge d’or du Romantisme Allemand, up to June 15, enter 7 euros. Information on www.vieromantique.paris.fr/