Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Young, Arty and French

DHabibiMoneyback Life!
Sans titre (The Piper at the Gate at Dawn)Lost World
One of rhino75's pet peeves is the fact that, despite Paris being a major European capital, there is little or no sign of a vibrant contemporary art scene, at least to the untrained eye. All the exciting stuff seems to come out of London or Berlin, while we're trapped with our chocolate-boxy Impressionists and the Picasso museum (don't get me wrong, I love Picasso, and even some of the Impressionists but it's all a bit familiar, innit?) So when Mrs. LOG and the lovely Miss FVE (whose name is even longer than Mrs. LOG's) told me about an exhibition designed to promote young(ish) artists, I was more than happy to tag along. Luxe PopulaireAccording to Miss FVE, who knows a thing or two about such matters, it's all part of a government-sponsored push to get contemporary French art back "out there". The state has recently introduced tax breaks for companies who buy art for public display in their offices, and apparently, another big event/exhibition is planned at the Grand Palais around April. We were lucky enough to be given a guided tour by Nicolas Bourriaud, co-director of the Palais de Tokyo. Even he acknowledges that French contemporary artists are "largely invisible" on the international scene and told us that the two main targets of this push are the French general public and international art dealers and galleries. They've certainly pulled out all the stops, with children's workshops, djs, and this evening a very heavily made-up nurse who gave rhino75 a strange-looking pill and a glass of cola (WhatEVA). An inside source told us they've called in all staff who've ever worked at the Palais de Tokyo to help out, which doesn't surprise me. But it works. It's a good mix of the spectacular (the "Habibi" skeleton), pop culture (Matthieu Laurette, who appeared on French TV and in the UK newspapers with his tips for "living for free"), and the quirky (Wang Du's room full of old newspapers, above). There were only a couple of installations that I found frankly inaccessible, one of which involved miniature doors. It's definitely the Palais de Tokyo's freshest, most interesting collection for a while (in my opinion), so if you get the chance, you should definitely pop along. Ooh, and it's free!!
("Notre Histoire" @ the Palais de Tokyo, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, until May 7, 2006.)


Rob7534 said...

Interesting exhibit.

Can I get those tips on "living for free" that sounds really useful :)

rhino75 said...

Hello Rob! To be honest, "living for free" appeared to be INCREDIBLY time-consuming. For example, one of the things he had to do was to get a separate bill at the checkout for each item purchased - imagine how people would hate you! He also had tp rope in family and friends, as often offers are limited to "one per household". What was interesting is the way he used the concept to "manipulate" the media, getting himself acres of print and TV coverage. Nice and subversive.