Friday, January 19, 2018

Five Things Friday -- Paris Art

Five Things Friday -- Paris Art

  1. At the same exposition I referred to here, Women House, at Monnaie de Paris, a brilliant, sensuous sculpture by (as if you needed me to tell you!) Niki de Saint Phalle, one of her Nana figures, this one entitled Nana Maison II.
How gloriously and subversively its richly exaggerated curves and voluptuous (if not absolutely strident) colours work against the general rectilinearity, more disciplined curves, sober colours of one of "the patriarchy's" central institutions.
The bright colours serve to emphasize the inviting dark interiors. . . Woman as House. . .

And I can't resist seeing even more opposition in that (phallic?) crane in the background. . . plus I love seeing these layers . . .

2. Same expo, different work, also found in the courtyard that held Saint Phalle's sculpture and that wrought iron teapot I showed you earlier this week. This piece was the first I saw on entering the show, and Wow! Shen Yuan's Salon de Coiffure (made from hemp fibre, metal, and egg) is another compelling, monumental, and thought-provoking piece, with its own odd beauty.
This work, as you can see, blends in with its surroundings in terms of colour, more than the other two large sculptures in the courtyard, but is there something just a bit insidious about the way it echoes the organic neutrals and suggests a slithering mobility? No? Just me?
 And the human (female) head it suggests, emerging from, or being submerged in the earth -- but the head also suggests a simple hut, to me at least, a hut that also speaks back to the complex surrounding architecture.
Such a show it was. . . is, still, for a few more days, and then will be again in whatever form it takes on in Washington.

3. But I also enjoyed the free show on offer as I walked to the Seine-side Monnaie from my hotel.  First, I passed this sculpture
 and was delighted by the juxtaposition with a pink motorcycle but affronted on the sculpture's behalf by the graffiti, the dumping of a Christmas tree alongside. . .
 I did a bit of Googling, as one does these days, and found that this bronze sculpture Vénus des Arts, is a deconstructed Venus loaded up with musical instruments and drawing and painting tools. She was sculpted by Arman, and should you want to see her for yourself next time you're in Paris, wend your way to 16 Rue Jacques Callot in the 6th. . . .

While you're there, look across the street for me, would you? And let me know if this playful bit of wall art is still there?

It's my #4 of today's Friday Five, and I know that some of you might consider it vandalism, but I can't quite, especially given the Ecole des Beaux Arts just 'round the corner, all those exuberant students expressing themselves artfully wherever. . .
 I don't love the graffiti (above) on the Venus, but on the other hand, I do love that "fine art" is there, on the street, that it speaks the streets, engages with them, gives them a chance to speak back. That those who can't afford 12 or 15 or 18 Euros to experience art in museums can register it on their daily walks.
 And, of course, that is not merely for the benefit of the viewer of art, but for the maker as well.  As Miss.Tic says, "J'ai plus d'une corde a mon art" -- or "I have more than one string to my bow" -- EDITED TO ADD: My translation skips the last step -- she's playing on the expression "I have more than one string to my bow" but "Arc" -- bow -- becomes "Art" -- ART!! So she has more than one trick up her artist's sleeve, to mix my metaphors. . . (and, for that matter, to give this Artist sleeves)
And yes, that was Number 5 of a Five Things Friday. . .

Wishing you a Happy Weekend and looking forward to any comments you might care to leave, either about today's post or about your weekend plans or anything you care to connect with our ongoing conversation. À bientôt!


  1. Replies
    1. Isn't it? Thanks for making the comparison -- pushed me to Edit my translation for more clarity. I was skipping that last step.

    2. I really like this tool: Reverso Context

      I have it set to Italian/English because I'm translating a book with that pair. French/English is also available as well as many other language pairs

      But our brains are still required!

  2. Love the Shen Yuan piece. Very tactile and thought engendering. Thank you for sharing your offbeat Parisian discoveries.

    Nothing too much on the agenda for the weekend in my neck of the woods. I'm in a mega decluttering phase so another few drawers and cupboards will get turned out and a couple more bags will be ready for the charity shop, the recycling boxes, and the tip. Am finding it all rather compulsive, this letting go.
    Hope you have a peaceful few days settling back into your home comforts after all your travels.

    1. Isn't that an amazing piece? For me, it's a privilege of having visited Paris so often that now I can enjoy just a day or two doing the small and the local -- and the offbeat -- as I wish, no agenda of major must-sees.
      It's so satisfying getting one's belongings whittled down to what's actually manageable on a human scale. The database of what we own becomes ridiculously unwieldy otherwise, just by accumulation, a kind of entropy (although I know that entropy by accumulation is contradictory).

  3. Public art always makes me happy; I love the idea of everyone having access to it. I think it's so important that art isn't regarded as something that we only see/experience - from a reverential distance - in a gallery. One of Sydney's train stations is being refurbished and a sculpture made from the old wooden escalators was commissioned and installed and it delights me every time I see it

    1. This is a stunning work Tiffany -- I love it!! Thank you so much for including the link here.

  4. What a happy post. I was sorry to see that you were so ill in Italy, so I'm tickled to observe here what your eye enjoyed that was not on the front row in Paris. I admire your curation.

    Ann in Missouri

    1. Thanks, Ann. It was disappointing not to be able to do as much as I'd hoped in Italy, but on the other hand, there's generally interest and beauty to be found close by, if we slow down and look. Doesn't have to be "on the front row," as you say. . . Now to apply that principle at home ;-)

  5. Lovely selection,Frances!
    You are so right about the pleasure and the priviledge to find and enjoy little gems (well,not so little here :-)),"not on the front row"-usually not overcrowded but precious as well
    Have a nice weekend

  6. Great photos. How I would LOVE to be in Paris for a few weeks - even now, in the dead of winter.

    1. It's so easy, there, to be uplifted by aesthetic serendipity, even in the grey...


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