Irina Rasquinet illuminates the 8 th arrondissement with her sense of humour

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Mines d’or (Gold mines), 2018, fiberglass and epoxy paint, © Adrien Thibault

When I met her twenty years ago Irina was Volkonski. She had recently arrived from Russia and was already a hit in Parisian salons with her beauty, her warmth and her Russian doll look. Her first job was to design and inspire Jean Charles de Castelbajac, but it is thanks to Christian de Pange that I met her and discovered her incredible talent for creating jewelry. I still own one of her magical bracelets with a dragonfly in strass. She has since married a “nose” in the perfume industry , Julien Rasquinet, and become an artist as Irina Rasquinet, recreating nature with Swarovski cristal and a lot of wit. For this Russian born magician is also a lover of words and her French is more literate than most native speakers. She practices puns and gives beautiful titles to her pieces. Her gallerist, Virginie Louvet, who exhibited her in 2019, is inaugurating new premises on 34 rue de Penthièvre, a block from Galerie Lelong and from Nathalie Obadia‘s new space, and a few hundred meters from Christie’s, Kamel Mennour, etc… Definitely the new area to be. Read More

“Répare-reprise”, Repair and stitches, Middle Eastern artists in exile show in Paris

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Kholod Hawash, Fear, 2020, courtesy of the artist

It is a very brave adventure that Pauline de Laboulaye, president of the Association “Portes Ouvertes sur l’art” (Open doors on art) is leading with a group of art passionates from defunct La Maison Rouge. Their latest exhibition at Cité Internationale des arts is curated by Nora Philippe and open until July 10. Fifteen artists from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Irak, Iran, Congo, Ehiopia, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have found a perfect gallery in this building overlooking Ile Saint Louis, which traditionally hosts foreign and French artists for up to a year. Their common denominator is a desire to recreate their world in a different country. The chef d’oeuvre of the exhibition is the destroyed city inspired by La Ghouta in Damascus, patiently rebuilt in the last two years by Syrian artist Khaled Dawwa, “This is my heart”. It is a masterpiece looking for a home. Read More

Books, mediocre and good and future exhibitions are the talk everywhere

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Jaqueline de Ribes, rue de la Bienfaisance in front of her favorite Hubert Robert and wearing her own design and jewelry

Our very strict lockdown and curfew at 7 pm has an advantage: everyone wants to meet for lunch and discussions are intense over the most minute novelty. This week, the social event is Jacqueline de Ribes’s biography by Dominique Bona, an eminent member of the French Academy, who has already published many successful women’s bios. The problem with this one is that the heroine had no other interest than fashion (her own), flirting with men and women and her own beauty. It makes for a very thin (but 500 pages long) book which only literary critics who have never met her, “love”. Since there is not much to write about the book, they compare the Comtesse to the Duchesse de Guermantes: Proust has become a lovely custard or mayonnaise for tasteless dishes…

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Evi Keller recreates the universe with light and translucid carbon film

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“Towards the lights- silent transformations”, 2010, photograph, Courtesy of Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, Paris

Galerie Jeanne Bucher has accustomed us to very high quality exhibitions. German artist Evi Keller, who lives part of the year in Paris but was born in Bad Kissingen, a thermal town of Bavaria, is showing very rare “Stèles” (stelae) which could pass for stained glass but are really made of very fine carbon based films painted with pigment and varnish. This artist (b.1968) who was first trained as a photographer in Munich, uses light and its reflections to illustrate her inner self. The result is very striking and both dark and luminous. A 19 mn video filmed by her gives a good idea of her somber but enchanted world, inspired by the rivers and forests of her childhood.Read More

Enchanting views, let’s dream a bit!

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A view of the sea from one’s room in Corsica

I had my ticket to fly to Corsica and was so excited to see spring in this part of the country, which is always too hot in the summer for excursions and climbing. So, after we were locked down again in Paris,  my host sent me these tempting pictures from his house perched on a mountain near Ajaccio which can be rented by friends. A new project for the summer… Instead, stuck in Paris, I went for a walk in Parc de Bagatelle, a less exciting adventure but a visually beautiful experience. And friends are sending pictures from Edinburgh where rhododendrons are already in full bloom and from the Tuileries gardens where goats are used to mow the moats… We are back in Medieval Paris.Read More

Gérard Garouste is back at Templon with books and a film

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Kafka and the squirrel, 2019, photo Bertrand Huet Tutti

Gérard Garouste is one of the greatest living French figurative painter and he has been showing at Templon for close to twenty years. He published a fascinating book written with Judith Perrignon on his agitated psychological life, “L’Intranquille”,   translated into English as “A Restless Man” by Georgia de Chamberet and a film on his research on the Jewish faith has been shown at Beaubourg. A new exhibition “Correspondances”, on his encounter with Kafka’s literature and his conversations with philosopher and rabbi Marc Alain Ouaknin is visible by appointment, on rue du Grenier Saint Lazare and it is as strong as ever.Read More

Daniel Otero Torres is a good surprise at Drawing Lab!

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Series of ” Perro sin dueño, 2020, drawing on inox metal

The Drawing Lab, a private contemporary space dedicated to drawing, always has interesting shows: an artists and a curator offer a project as a team, which is chosen among a few others. Thus a show which results from the work of a duet and the art which is conceived especially for the space. At the moment, Colombian artist Daniel Otero Torres shows the works of many years of research in Cauca, an archeological site on the Pacific Coast of Colombia.  Four large drawings on metal stand like totems in the main room, while “Perro sin dueño” (Dog with no master) sits quietly at the bottom of the stairs. Ceramics complete the four room installation called “Tierradentro”, the interior land. Read More

Last minute, at Christie’s…for a great sale

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Gustave Caillebotte, Le Petit bras de la Seine près d’Argenteuil – €800,000-1,200,000$

You have until this afternoon (Tuesday 30) at 4 pm to see the spectacular private collection of  “From Caillebotte to Calder“, constituted by a successful Parisian over the last forty years and auctioned at 5 pm at Christie’s by Cécile Verdier. I was very surprised to discover a few musical Dufy very similar to those exhibited at Musée de Montmartre in the magnificent “Dufy’s Paris” show which is waiting to open. But also to find a remarkable Caillebotte, “Le Petit bras de la Seine à Argenteuil” estimated at 800 000 to 1 200 000€ and promised to the future exhibition in Martigny in June. There are many Montmartre scenes by Maurice Utrillo, abstract paintings by Poliakoff, and two ravishing Schuffenecker, 70 lots altogether in this sale and more by Sanyu and Poliakoff,  later in April and in June.Read More