There were a few wonderful surprises last night at the opening of FAB, Fine Arts la Biennale which has replaced the Biennale des Antiquaires at Grand Palais Ephémère. I went early and could talk to most of the exhibitors like Anne Marie Chevalier and her father Dominique who are selling an Aubusson tapestry after a drawing by Marc Saint Saëns, the grand nephew of Camille, called Quatuor. They have just auctioned part of their very large collection and my favorite tapestry was preempted by the Louvre after chateau de Vaux le Vicomte had successfully bid on it. Carole Blumenfeld was promoting a group of five young dealers who had been selected as promising future members of the biennale. Louis Barrand specializes in XIX th and XX th century paintings and drawings, Yasmine Sabrier and Mariane Paunet were presenting a parade of monkeys in ink by Louis Antoine Le Mire, Nicolas Fournery had beautiful Japanese fishes and Paul-Antoine Richet Coulon from galerie la Ménagerie, showed a bronze of a Centaur’s hunt by Louis de Monard.Read More
Musée de la Marine on place du Trocadéro, is one of the most popular museums in Paris given the number of passionates who live on the 3 000 kms of French sea coast and own sailboats. And since its closing for renovation in 2017, it had been very much missed. I was excited to enter (after booking a time slot and a short wait), its beautiful new hall conceived by two teams of architects, h2o and Snøhetta and wander around its collections of one thousand objects (picked among 35 000) and paintings in the new galleries. The royal paintings by Joseph Vernet lent by the Louvre, are there of course, and numerous impressive figureheads are prominently shown. The scenography by the British agency Casson Mann transforms the historical collections into a fascinating treasure hunt punctuated by multiple screens and interactive games for children. It is both elegant and contemporary, very well light and with inspiring films and sounds of the sea. A beautiful experience.Read More
“The world of mathematics -and by implication that of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, or ENS – has rarely been shown in films, and even less so with a mathematician heroine. My meeting with Ariane Mézard, one of the few and greatest French female mathematicians, was decisive. She radiates an impressive strength contained in a great deal of vulnerability, an obvious self-confidence that nevertheless always seems to apologize for being there. I see the same eagerness in Marguerite, a form of selflessness, a passion that mirrors mind.” This is how Anna Novion, the Franco Swedish film director, describes the origins of “Marguerite’s Theorem“, a film which took four years to write and three months for the training of Marguerite as a mathematician. I found it riveting and very romantic.
“She was the first person who ever talked to me about mathematics in an artistic way, by conjuring up poetry, imagination, everything that drives me as a filmmaker. While she was telling me about her passion, she was also telling me about mine. Gilles Deleuze quite rightly said that a scientist invents and creates as much as an artist… Mathematicians might spend their whole lives trying to solve a problem with no assurance that they ever will. Filmmakers also risk seeing their projects break down at any moment. It is not unlike an act of faith. Being a mathematician is like joining a religious order” continues Anna Novion. And this is how Marguerite is perceived here. The film is extremely funny at times and the five actors are exceptional including Julien Frison, the Belgian comedian from la Comédie Française and the superb dancer Sonia Bonny, who ends up becoming Marguerite’s roommate.
“Professor Werner is a power figure who prevents Marguerite from completely fulfilling her potential. Since the day she entered the ENS, she has seen him as a protector and in her view, their relationship involves feelings, whereas he only wants to put some distance between them. She wants him to like her, like in a daughter-father relationship.” Marguerite hardly knew her father and was raised by a mother who taught maths in secondary school. She was so talented as a child that she helped her correct her pupils copies.
I really enjoyed this film which is based on a failure and moves toward redemption both professionally and affectively. All the actors are excellent including Clotilde Courau who plays the graceless part of Marguerite’s mother. The scenes in Chinatown where Marguerite gambles at Mah-jong inn order to pay her rent, are hilarious and her austerity which slowly moves to humanity is wonderfully analyzed.
The film Marguerite’s theorem is out in France.
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I wasn’t particularly interested in “Shamanic visions” but I trust Musée du quai Branly for always having original shows. Kehinde Wiley‘s portraits of African rulers is one of the good surprises of the moment (until January 14). So I went to the opening of this Peruvian exhibition and was happily surprised. Part of it is really a show of contemporary art with traditional roots, all inspired by Ayahuasca, a plant based hallucinogenic beverage used by the Indigenous people of the Amazon. How do the shamanic “visions” relate to artistic production like William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg‘s who were the first to write about it in 1953 in “The Yage Letters“? Considered as a purge or a healing medicine, it has allowed the emergence of a painting movement generated by the encounter of artist Pablo Amaringo (1938-2009) and the Colombian anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna.Read More
This is the third part of a trilogy started by Christophe Leribault at Petit Palais with “Paris Romantique ” in 2019 and “Paris 1900”, in 2021. “Le Paris de la Modernité, 1905-1925” is a multifaceted show starting with Montmartre and Montparnasse, the beginnings of automobile and aviation, Paul Poiret and Jeanne Lanvin’s fashion, the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and the Ballets Russes, the War, les “Années Folles” and the influence of Americans, and again Montparnasse, Joséphine Baker and the Exposition Universelle of 1925. It is a huge show (of 400 pieces) curated by Annick Lemoine, director of le Petit Palais and Juliette Singer, scientific adviser. You will see many works that you already know but there are wonderful discoveries to be made like the paintings of Jacqueline Marval, Marcel Duchamp’s “Bicycle Wheel”, Gino Severini‘s futurist “La Danse du pan-pan au Monico” or Albert Marquet’s sculpture of a child which inspired the word fauvism to the art critic Louis Vauxcelles, who described it as “Donatello chez les Fauves”.Read More
Usually when you are invited to see the works of students in residence you find one out of 10 which is interesting and have to force yourself … This time the divine surprise at the exhibition “Bonsoir Mémoire” is that most of the 10 young artists were fascinating and the whole exhibition at la Monnaie de Paris is intriguing, dynamic and colorful. What a boost to see the young generation, well coached for 9 months, produce such interesting works. This is the result of a strong cooperation between the curator Lou Justin Tailhades, the Academician and artist Jean Michel Othoniel and Françoise Docquiert, who used to teach at la Sorbonne and is now a correspondent of the Academy of Arts.The young artists were asked to work together and to live in the Villa Dufraine, in Chars near Cergy Pontoise. They now all have projects elsewhere and shows starting in galleries.Read More
Lille is an easy destination, an hour on the train from Paris, and it’s another world in itself. The Palais des Beaux Arts has the greatest collection of Rubens and Goya and I discovered for the first time the Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, a former medieval hospital, where the great street artist Jef Aerosol has a retrospective. I did not have time to go to La Piscine in Roubaix where Chagall and painter Georges Arditi both have shows. And I wish I had spent the week end to visit more of the city’s museums.
Avenue Matignon has never been so busy as this week with an exceptionally well attended Paris Photo fair taking place at Grand Palais éphémère on the Champ de Mars and all the galleries looking at their best. At Jaques Lacoste, who specializes in furniture and decorative arts of the XX th century, the first major exhibition of André Ostier‘s photographs, is very elegantly hung. One picture comes out particularly and it is a portrait of Yves Saint Laurent in 1959, when he was working for Christian Dior. Dior was a close friend of the photographer since they met at Sciences Pô in 1925 after he graduated from Lycée Janson de Sailly. The 37 photographs are mostly portraits of painters (Jean Fautrier, Niki de Saint Phalle, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol…) and socialites attending the famous Beistegui ball in Venice or another one at Hotel Lambert. The prints are modern but they are superbly framed and sell for 2 500 € to 7 000€ depending on sizes.Read More