Kimsooja breathes in sunshine at Galeries Lafayette

parisdiaArt, Fashion, Restaurants & Hotels4 Comments

“To Breathe”, the dome on the terrace of Galeries Lafayette, Kimsooja Studio, photo, Jaeho-Chong

If you feel like going to Galeries Lafayette to discover Korean artist Kimsooja’s installation “To Breathe“, pick a sunny day. Otherwise her light installation will not glitter as it should on the dome of the department store built in 1912. The great bonus of the visit is that for three months the public is allowed to penetrate the space between the two art nouveau domes (outside and inside domes), which were designed by architect Ferdinand Chanut, iron sculptor Edouard Schenck and stained glass artist Jacques Gruber, whose original glass decor in byzantine style was lost during WWII. The films used by the artist recreate color on the dome as seen from inside the store. “To Breathe” is a tribute to yoga breathing and to the pure air of the terrace… 

The iron sculptures by Edouard Schenck are lit by Kimsooja’s installation and visible from the 6 th floor

I had never climbed to the roof of the department store and when I emerged from the elevator, I was mesmerized to see the roof of the opera house from so close. On the 8 th floor, there is a little rooftop restaurant (from May 2 onwards), Créatures, and again, on a sunny day, it is a unique spot to visit from breakfast to tea time. You have a view of the Eiffel Tower and of Saint Sulpice, and mostly you dominate teh whole of Paris. The dome will pick up the colors with any ray of sunshine. If you pick the right schedule (2 pm to 6 pm on Wednesday to Friday, 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday) you will also be allowed to walk inside between the two domes, and see the light reflected from the store at the children department level and from the sun outside. A sound track reproducing the breathing at yoga was a little strong for me (it is the same as heavy love making) but it comes with the installation… and does not last too long.

Walking inside the dome, you discover the Byzantine style stained glass and the clever curved structure by Chanut

After climbing to the terrace and walking between the two domes, time has come for you to see the ceiling from inside the shop, two floors below, when  the noise and the hustle of the busy floors suddenly fill up your mind. You have come back to the hard reality after dreaming with Kimsooja for thirty minutes.

This was definitely a new adventure for me who has been a Parisian for many decades… and of course on the way down you can shop.

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4 Comments on “Kimsooja breathes in sunshine at Galeries Lafayette”

  1. Merci pour cette proposition. Je suis en train de relire Au Bonheur des Dames de Zola qui analyse toute la mise en scène de ces grands magasins. Un grand moment de littérature ou rien n’est omis, le coté personnel (staff), le coté commercial, le coté marketing, la finances dans tout cela, un vrai régal. Sans oublier les vendeurs et vendeuses qui travaillent 13 heures d’affilée 6 jours sur 7, n’ont pas le droit de s’asseoir et le droit de cuissage.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have found a new artist to follow . I will explore her projects as they define concepts that align with my life in rural Pennsylvania.

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