What a wonderful title, “L’Envol” (The flight) for a last exhibition at La Maison Rouge! Antoine de Galbert, who started this contemporary art foundation 14 years ago, has decided, after 131 exhibitions, and 100 000 visitors a year, to devote his energy and love to artists and institutions without the daily worries of running his own house. The occasion of the evening was the award of a decoration of Chevalier des Arts et des lettres to Pauline de Laboulaye, first President of the Friends of la Maison Rouge, who is also an art writer. The whole evening was a tribute to artistic talent, family values and generosity without fuss.
I completely fell in love with a video by Japanese artist Shimabuku flying a kite of his own body on the beach of Barcelona. The poetry of his film is as unique as that of Fellini’s flying a large statue of the Virgin Mary over Roman ruins in “La Dolce Vita” or Rebecca Horn’s “La petite sirène”, a wonderful feather mobile. There are some great finds in this show which is both aerial and dramatic. Gustav Mesmer‘s Velo-hélicoptère, 1978 and Gino De Dominicis’ “Tentativo di volo”, 1969, are some of the examples of the temptation of flying studied by so many artists, starting with Leonardo da Vinci in Fiesole.
Another find was a recently discovered film by Georges Méliès, “Le voyage dans la lune”, shot in 1902 and shown here in its 12m 38 seconds complete format. It is both hilarious and incredibly moving.
There is a whole section on dance with old footage of Loïe Fuller and new images of Angelin Preljocaj and other contemporary choreographers, which you can watch lying down on a white mattress. A project by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov on “How to make yourself better” includes making wings that you have to wear in your bedroom for five to ten minutes every two hours.
In her speech accepting the decoration, Pauline de Laboulaye mentioned the family atmosphere at la Maison Rouge and the great intelligence of its founder, Antoine de Galbert, who specialized in showing private collections. His own is immense and very diversified in contemporary and modern art.
He has, over the years, kept a curiosity and a modesty that show in the space. She also thanked the first people who asked her to write a catalog, Jacqueline d’Amecourt, then curator of the Lhoist collection and Sylviane de Decker who curates photo collections. Both were present as were the excellent curators, Laurent Le Bon and Alfred Pacquement.
Anne de Villepoix was also there on the eve of opening her new space in Belleville, and the whole team of la Maison rouge applauded Pauline who organises visits of Syrian artists’ ateliers in and around Paris and opens up castles in Normandy all summer to contemporary art.
A lovely cocktail party catered by “Les Cuistots Migrateurs“, a group of Syrian, Ethiopian, Nepalese and Tchetchen refugees who share their culinary tradition, followed. And the excellent champagne was definitely French.
“L’envol” until October 28, at la Maison rouge.
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