This year, it's no longer the Fête du Graphisme - an event which transforms the city into an open-air gallery. In 2017, in celebration of its fourth year, it has been renamed 'Graphic Design Festival' and takes place from January 11 to February 22. Twenty graphic designers from all over the world will exhibit their creations, under the theme of sport, in the most glittering venues in the City of Lights. Their works will appear on over 1600 billboards all over the capital, from the Seine to l’Hôtel de Ville, including the Cité internationale des arts.
Roll up! Roll up! Come and see the show – a veritable mechanical freak show created by the one and only Gilbert Peyre. Returning to the Halle Saint-Pierre after his first monograph in 2000 and an installation in the current exhibition ‘Persona’ at Quai Branly – the surrealist-cum-robotics-expert takes us on a new journey. Starting on the ground floor, in a dark, circular room, a child’s tricycle cycles over to greet us. This is a shiver-inducing homage to ‘The Shining’ and intrigued, bewitched almost, we continue. A mechanical, headless woman softly sways to and fro; a guitar plays propped up on a distressed wooden chair, sans guitarist; a disturbing lampshade/ baby doll hybrid dances. The exhibition is a complete immersion into this creepy make-believe world. Move to the white, luminous space of the second floor, however, and Peyre’s creations take on a much less intimidating air, featuring installations like ‘Johnny be Good’ where plain, simple clothes seemingly come to life, dancing along to rockabilly music. Anyone anxious about wandering alone through these bizarre mechanical hybrid beings can relax: the brave engineers working on the exhibition provide a comforting human presence in the midst of an otherworldly dreamscape. TRANSLATION: LEONIE CATER
Passing through a sensual black velour curtain, and onto a floor where the dust is made of shooting stars. A thousand sequins welcome us into Jean-Luc Verna’s cabinet of curiosities. It comes as no surprise that he’s made his body the canvas for his imaginative experiments. Tattooed from his moustache to his thighs, the contours of Verna’s squat, strange body evolve through his artistic practice as they for him, his primary subjects. Using videos, photos, performance pieces and drawings, Verna creates an elevated position from which to explore our own vanities, thus confronting our own mortality and questioning our beliefs. A thousand and one personalities at any one time; the leaders, the dancer, the anarchist and the fetishist. By recreating his own aesthetic universe of black jackets, stiletto heels, medieval faces and cheap skulls, the exhibition shows us the true power – and ambivalence of his work. Ultra-baroque and sumptuous in a performance where he meets a demon, Verna’s work occasionally borders on science fiction. Even with such strong forces of individuality, Verna succeeds in resonating within many voices, myths and characters – which is the beauty of his complex offering. Such a voyage into the unconventional, iconoclastic universe of one of the most punk, queer artists of his generation means that the Mac Val’s retrospective is both a tribute and an experience. We are truly immersed into the heart of the artist’s fantasies, his dark choice of soundtrack and
Committed to recreating the ‘spirit’ of the Bauhaus era, new exhibition ‘L’Esprit du Bauhaus’ at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs explores the creativity and multidisciplinary nature of the movement. Dense and immersive, the exhibit takes us from studio to studio as we discover the work of the Bauhaus’ students and the immense range of their chosen materials. Textiles, glass, metal, painting, porcelain, wood – the list is expansive, giving us an idea as to the distinct creativity at the heart of the German art school. On the wall anonymous works (sketches, lithography, tapestries etc.) rub shoulders with the work of Bauhaus professor Vassily Kandinsky, demonstrating an equality between the school’s artists – student and teacher. We’d have loved to have been a fly on the Bauhaus school walls: photographs show the intense creative life of the students, non-stop parties and carnivals fuelling their passion and encouraging them to produce new work, décor, costumes, even posters. One small complaint: although the Bauhaus school existed in a very particular historical context – that of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism – the exhibition makes noticeably few references to this fact. And while the Bauhaus’ heritage is explored in the final rooms of the exhibit through contemporary works inspired by the school’s spirit, their playful, simple style lacks the appropriate gravity for such an important moment in art history. TRANSLATION: LEONIE CATER
In his short, seven-year career, Frederic Bazille produced some remarkable work. Not outright masterpieces perhaps, but paintings which have been unfairly forgotten despite them being a key component in the creation of modern impressionism. The young painter’s style (he died in the war, aged 28) is marked by unfiltered emotion, palpable from the beginning of the the exhibition: the first canvas – ‘Autoportrait à la palette’ – is an intense self-portrait of this great beanpole of a man, showing his sharp gaze and weary air. An avant-garde imperfection pervades his work, giving us a sense of the young prodigy’s inexperienced daring, self-assured nonchalance, and underlying vanity - as exasperating as it is captivating. ‘Atelier de la rue Furstenberg’, for example, the artist’s innovative self-portrait, features his palette spilt on the ground and his empty armchair, subtly intimating his presence. This enlightened creativity can also be seen in his striking, chromatic harmonies, hazy, solid colours and light-bathed landscapes, almost resembling photography. But the true modernity of his work resides in his open-mindedness: he was the first of his generation to praise the beauty of the black woman in his ‘Jeune femme au pivoine’ (Young woman with peonies). One criticism however: the exhibition itself is a little too wide-ranging. From the title, we’d expect a retrospective on the artist - it’s actually more an exploration of the era, also featuring the work of his contemporar
Institute Suedois has a knack for getting great photographers in to exhibit, and the Swede Johan Bävman, is no exception. On learning that only 14% of men opted to take parental leave of more than a month in his mother country (and even less in France), the artist decided to dig deeper into the world of stay-at-home dads. Looking overwhelmed but always attentive to the needs of their little sprogs, bearded dads vacuum with their toddlers on their backs, Ghostbuster-style, spending every day between sports classes and supermarkets to reap the benefits of seeing their children grow up first-hand. The photographer captures simple and tender gestures – like a father and son drinking their respective coffee/hot chocolate in unison – but also shows the hardships. Bävman’s paternal portraits are like a pertinent sociological study, and work hard to fight the sexist clichés. It’s a shame, nonetheless, that the exhibition (a series of ten photos in 40x50 format) is so tiny. Slaloming between tables and people sitting down to eat is not exactly the most relaxing experience, and draws away from what is an otherwise strong retrospective.
Discover the newborn versions of 63 different species, from penguins and baby dolphins to panther cubs barely bigger than a kitten, through a series of illustrations, videos and games that are both delightful and informative. For kids, the exhibition presents an exciting introduction to the animal kingdom, explaining how the babies are born and how they grow in the wild, without glossing over some of the dangers of the natural world. Specially designed for children between the ages of two and seven, the exhibition features interactive games that let kids learn how to build nests like a mother bird or carry eggs on their back like toads do in the wild. The result is an experience that is educational and fun at the same time. TRANSLATION: MARIA THOMAS
Eight years after landing on earth – on Parisian earth to be more precise – artist Space Invader’s works have a home to call their own. Whatever their colour, these little critters are instantly recognisable; mosaic creatures which look like they’ve jumped straight out of a vintage video game, landing on walls and in the streets in the late nineties. Just a few steps from the Louvre, the Musée en Herbe is celebrating this artist’s ability to instil a love of art in children and adults alike. These simple, colourful works will appeal to visitors from ages three to 103. The first room is nostalgia-themed, visitors play the role of video gamers, rediscovering the joys of Tetris, Pong or Pac-Man in the mini-arcade. The tables are made of screenshots of these timeless games and shoz the artist's sources of inspiration. Think Super-Mario, Asteroids and of course, Space Invader. The playful dimension of the Musée en Herbe is perfect for kids – expect them to remain fully occupied, while you take a big old trip down memory lane. There’s a giant map showing where all 3500 Space Invaders are hidden – look out for the crab in space and the Ninja Turtle on the side of a New York pizzeria. The last room is focused on the artist himself, including his studio and the masks he wears to maintain his anonymity. As usual the Musée en Herbe is far from game over.
Cy Twombly paints big, deconstructed flowers dripping with fiery colours like huge bouquets of blood and sun on white canvas. Be drawn into the reds, yellows and myriad crumpled petals. In some, like ‘Blooming’, the intention is clearly floral. In others, these colourful balls represent time, love, murder and – according to the artist – a contemporary retelling of ancient tales. The US-born Cy Twombly (1928-2011) lived in Rome from 1960 and the Pompidou Centre’s retrospective sets out to delineate a before and after of this date. ‘Before’ the painter’s works are dominated by whites and scattered with black graffiti. Difficult to identify with, these seem almost like the scribbles of a distracted schoolboy. ‘After’ is an explosion of flamboyant colours; following the example of Matisse and Derain, Twombly rediscovered his palette under the Mediterranean sun. He also began painting epic pictorial series, including the violent ‘Nine discourses on Commodus,’ the funereal ‘Coronation of Sesostris’ and ‘Achilles mourning the death of Patrocle.’ Neither the titles, nor the abstraction offers any clues as to what it all means, but we are invited to contemplate, to find sense in it all. The ‘Bassano’ series depicts a furious natural world of deep greens, flowing emeralds and clouds of grey, delivering a hypnotising energy. Their placement in a room with an expansive view over Paris offers a startling contrast between a structured city and this deluge of enraged colours. Rumour has
Salvador Dali is alive and well and living in Paris. Well, sort of. In an exhibition of more than 200 drawings at l’Espace Dali until March 31 2017, famous comic book artist and author Joann Sfar effectively resurrects the Spanish master of surrealism. In an enchanted labyrinth composed of works by the surrealist painter, alongside haute couture creations from Dali-collaborators Maison Schiaparelli, Sfar interweaves his own skills as a cartoonist to tell a whimsical story: an artist shuts himself away in a manor house with four nude supermodels, in an attempt to reproduce Dali’s’s most famous works. The comic-style tale is scattered around the exhibition, blended with Dali’s own works, creating a surreal, disjointed dreamscape, a romp through this illustrated saga. The differing degrees of interpretation in this multi-faceted exhibition make it accessible to everyone - you don’t need an IQ of 150 to grasp the nuances. And since Sfar’s nude sketches are not obscene or erotic in the slightest, even children can come join for the ride. A fittingly surreal experience to be enjoyed by the masses. TRANSLATION: LEONIE CATER