Paris February 2014

During our trip to Paris, as well as being typical tourists and falling in love with the Tour de Eiffel, we visited some of the amazing galleries and museums Paris has to offer.

Musée du quai Branly

The exhibitions held at Musée du quai Branly are mainly based on anthropology. Musée du quay Branly main collections show work from all over the world, covering Oceania, Asia, Africa, Americas and La Rivière. The museum has a free entry to students, which we were happy about, however as we went late in the day, I felt that we definitely did not have enough time there as there is such a vast collection from all over the world to see. 

I found Musée du quai Branly quite enjoyable as it was all about culture so it was great to relate to my own work. It was interesting to see all the different artefacts from all of over the world and how beautiful they were. Some of the cultures were easy to point out from a far where as others I had to read their labels to identify with. This was interesting when considering the cultural hybridity I am exploring within my own work. 

Most of the work on display was in glass cabinets, which is understandable as they are trying to preserve years of history, however there were some works which were not held behind glass and those were some of my favourites. Seeing the work displayed behind glass made me think of how I intend to display my own work and wether or not it should be presented neatly behind a glass. However i would like to play with the idea of glass as ‘protection’ when presenting my tea cup piece as I feel it could show some irony.

 

Catacombs

I didn’t know much about the Catacombs until I saw it for myself. The moment you start walking down the stairs, you get this eerie feeling and its almost like you shouldn’t be there. Nonetheless it is something so amazing and also very creepy. What are you opposed to do when you’re surround by six million skeletons deep down in the middle of Paris? Its hard to believe that the skeletons you’re looking at are real when you’re down there. It almost felt like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

It was fascinating to see how all the skeleton bones had been arranged, all the different pieces separated into neatly placed piles. It actually felt quite inhumane and disrespectful that a persons skull could be on one side and their leg bones elsewhere. Having said that, it is an amazing sight.

 

Palais de Tokyo

Palais de Tokyo was definitely one of my favourites when in Paris. The work exhibited was shown in such an exciting way and I was definitely taken aback by how a gallery space can be used so effectively.

The first space we entered exhibited the work of Georges Didi-Huberman, Mnémosyne 42 and Arno Gisinger, Atlas. This exhibit was amazing. I didn’t want to leave the space. I was immediately drawn in by the scale of work; the projections on the floor which are to be viewed from a walkway and the large scale photographic prints on the wall. This space captured photographic image so well and is something that definitely inspired me. I love the idea of projecting on the floor and is something I would definitely consider for our final exhibition.

Another piece of work I enjoyed in Palais de Tokyo was the work of Dora García. Laid out on a table were books with the title ‘steal this book’. Written inside, the artist dares the viewer to steal the book from the exhibition, yet beside the work there is a gallery notice asking you to not actually take the book with the addition of gallery security watching you. I think this piece of work really challenges the viewers morals in a humorous way as it plays with your conscience and your ethics. As well as this, I think it would make a great performance piece, as viewers would come and read the first paragraph of the book, either put it down and walk away confused or slyly put the book into their bag/pocket and shiftily leave.

I think challenging the viewer is an interesting way to present work and is something that could be be considered when thinking about how to exhibit (depending on the work). Needless to say I did steal the book.

 

Le Lourve

Being in Paris, of course we had to pay a visit to the famous Lourve and the lovely lady that is Mona. However, we decided to go on a Tuesday and found it was closed so had to come back the next day. Finally entering the Lourve, we found that students gain free entry which was great news.

We decided to avoid the queues of the Mona Lisa and started of by taking a look at the Egyptian quarter. I found this very interesting as I hadn’t thought about Egyptian history since being at school and I instantly remembered how fascinated I was by it.

Seeing the Ancient Greek stone work was amazing. You often see it in photographs but seeing it with your own eyes is something completely different. You can see the intricacy of the detail and I was amazed that these age old excavated artefacts were there for me to see.

Okay, so after having to stand in a hot and sweaty crowd of eager people wanting to see the Mona Lisa, when I got to the front I was quite underwhelmed. The bulletproof glass over her ruins the fact that this is supposed to be a great piece of art. Its now become something on a tourists to-do list which was evident as most people took their ‘selfies’ and photographs of her and walked away. When you see the Mona Lisa, you don’t actually get to see it. You’re being pushed and shoved in a crowd, you look at it for a moment, take a photo and leave. I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it but I think the experience would have been better if I actually got to see it.

 

The Paris trip was a lot of fun and I found it a lot more inspiring than I thought it would be! I look forward to going back and visiting all the other galleries we didn’t have the opportunity to see.

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