La Fabrique des Images at Quai Branly

Pouppe Text: Brendan Seibel
Image: Kachina hopi doll

For an education in art appreciation stop by Musée Quai Branly's special exhibition La Fabrique des Images. Curated by social sciences professor Philippe Descola, this collection of folk art presents an anthropological study of people's perceptions of belonging in the world and the relationships between man and beast. Arranged in ontological clusters and bolstered with simple information, the highly illustrative show will spark discussion and contemplation amongst audiences of all ages.

The basic tenet of Descola's curation is that human expression can be broadly divided into four forms: Animism, still typical in Japan with shared origins amongst polar and South American tribes; Naturalism, a Northern European form which was born amidst the Renaissance; Totemism, unique to the aboriginal people of Australia; Analogism, popular throughout Southeast Asia, the Americas and Africa. The exhibition's antechamber presents bilingual introductions to each of the four forms, augmented by an example.

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Crime and Punishment at Musée d'Orsay

Tmp_9c630613266689ba88e28014a899048e Text: Brendan Seibel
Image: René Magritte, The Menaced Assassin

The contentious realm of law has inspired art as much as debate over the course of history. Musée d'Orsay's exhaustive new exhibition Crime et Châtiment examines the relationship between societal attitudes and movements of artistic expression. Devised by Mitterand's Minister of Justice Robert Badinter this collection presents a comprehensive, although flawed, academic overview of work spanning two hundred years.

Beginning in the murkiness of morality, a dimly lit and somber chamber confronts the Biblical concepts of sin, evil and redemption. Pierre-Paul Prud'hon's powerful romanticism informs Jean-Baptiste Regnault's injection of revolutionary themes and mockery of religion. Later interpretations express emotional ambiguities, as evidenced by Gustave Moreau's proto-Fauvist pieces and William Blake's work. Two modernist paintings by Dadaist George Grosz and Nikolai Nivolaevich Ge's painful meditation on the crucifixion are strikingly irreverent amongst the old vanguard, expressing the freedom artists now enjoy.

Draped in black cloth, a guillotine, as menacing as death itself. This horrific contraption emerged from storage specifically for this exhibition, the first appearance of the The Widow since France ended capital punishment in 1981. Dark lacquered wood and the dull gleam of metal imbue a bloody history inextricably tied to France, and the towering frame stops you in it's tracks without the aid of Franz Von Stuck's Lucifer buried in the corner.

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Lucien Freud: Artist in the Studio

Dog Text: Kay Roberts
Image: Girl with a White Dog

Lucian Freud's own voice clarifies his attitude to painting throughout this overview of his work from 1944-2005 on display at Centre Pompidou. He is, like many artists of his generation, equally gifted in his thoughtful explanations, with each gallery having a specific theme: interior/exterior/reflexion/on painting/as flesh, along with photographs by David Dawson, Freud's assistant in the studio. On entering the first room, one sees Freud's statement on how there is a  light from a person and a light around them, how he aims to paint the space around a person. In the small catalogue reads a further insight "I want paint to work as flesh .... I would wish my portraits to of people not like them. Not having the look of a sitter, being them... As far as I am concerned the paint is the person, I want it to work as flesh does."

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Musée des Arts Décoratifs

01anti_CA0.650 Text: Tiffany Tang
Photo: Bathroom designed by Armand Albert Rateau

Situated in Louvre’s nineteenth-century Rohan and Marsan wings is the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a museum of decorative art and design that houses over 150,000 objects, showcasing collections of antiquities and modern designs from the Middle Ages to the present day. The collections encompass a vast diversity of decorative objects including furniture, tableware, carpets, stained glass, wallpaper and porcelain.   This diversity is a testament to the quintessence of the French art of living from the ancient times, as well as sophistication in craftsmanship and creativity.

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Yves Saint Laurent at the Petit Palais

Yves-saint-laurent-_675489cText: Mabli Jones

Next week, the Musée des Beaux Arts at the Petit Palais opens its first ever exhibition dedicated to haute couture; it is fitting then, that it should be a retrospective of the work of a man who embodied the ideal of fashion designer as artist like no other, France’s beloved adopted son and last great couturier: Yves Saint Laurent.

Charting his lifetime’s work through a selection of over 300 original creations, from his beginnings at Dior, through the height of his experimentalism during the 70s, to his later refined exoticism; the exhibition celebrates the astounding range and beauty of his accomplishment, both technical and artistic.

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Patrick Jouin at Centre Pompidou

EXP-JOUIN Text: Chris Holt

As one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris understandably takes design very seriously. This attitude manifests itself in the boldness of its many architectural landmarks, as well as day-to-day things, such as the Métro or the ubiquitous newstands on the sidewalk. It’s easy to take for granted that someone, at some time, put a lot of thought into what we see before buying a newspaper or getting on the subway. In recent years one of those people has been Patrick Jouin, the man responsible for the look of Velib stations and the hi-tech public toilets throughout the city. These are just two of the 20 design projects from Jouin’s design firm being highlighted at the George Pompidou Centre until 24 May, 2024.

The exhibition is really more of a presentation: a projector and a mock stage create the impressive (albeit obvious) illusion that Patrick Jouin is right there, talking about his work. The presentation is complemented by a display on the surrounding walls, featuring preliminary sketches, photographs, diagrams and material samples from each of the 20 designs discussed in the presentation.

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Maison de l’Architecture

943422132_63ac09ab41 Text: Anna Bromwich

My dog-eared street map of Paris, printed in 1984, lists the U-shaped building opposite Gare de l’Est as a hospital, causing momentary confusion as I navigate my way from the station and across the street.  Today Maison de l’Architecture, the hospital was just one moment in the life of the 17th century former convent. Built in 1603, before the industrial revolution bought train lines up to its doorstep, this was primarily a spiritual space populated by a minor Franciscan order - Les Recollets - and patronised by Henry IV and Marie de Medici. Years later after subsequent incarnations as a hospice for the terminally ill, barracks for the national Guard, a military hospital and a school of architecture, it was squatted in the 90s by a group of artists calling themselves the Angels of Recollets.

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l'Impossible Photographie at Musée Carnavalet

Image Text: Brendan Seibel
Photo: Medical Visit at the Saint-Lazare Prison, Henri Manuel

Prisons remain a hidden world, an entire society locked away and shrouded in secrecy. Film and television exploit the visual cliches of incarceration for entertainment of a fascinated public. l'Impossible Photographie the historical overview which attempts to peel back the bars and walls and reveal the complexities of a frequently feared and misrepresented system. Collecting 340 photographs from over 150 years, this exhibition is overtly visual. Ranging from early sepia-tinted exteriors to vibrant full-color prints, you immediately become immersed in the legacy of guards and convicts, nuns and administrators.

The astonishing archive of Henri Manuel, employed by the French government for several decades, provides invaluable insight. Moving freely through the various corridors and courtyards of Parisian prisons Manuel explores the open wards, confining cells, workshops and infirmaries with a documentarian's eye. Cinematic and emotional, Pierre Emonts provides the most striking early interiors. The best exterior shots, providing the appropriate context of these houses of incarceration as well as tracing the architectural development over time, were taken by Charles Marville, who had previously documented the changes wrought by Haussmann.

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Vanités at Musée Maillol and Red Rivers by Starling

4037160251_4444f228b5 Text: Kay Roberts
Image: Simon Starling

The choice of subject matter for an artist, does it start with an object or start with an idea?  Image v. concept, both valid. These two shows are in many ways the opposite ends of the spectrum. Vanités at Musée Maillol is a group show, the image of the skull is the only connection between artists from the 16th century to the present day. A pick and mix - from Caravagio, de la Tour, Goya, Cezanne; past masters of the skill of painting to modern contemporary figures including Baselitz, Clemente, Haring,  Warhol, Messager, Pierre and Gilles, the Chapman Brothers and Hirst et al. Over three floors of the museum, a cornucopia of art styles through the ages - the ghost is Damien Hirst’s “Diamond Skull” - shown in London in a darkened room to ten people at a time, limited to a 5 minute slot, then sold for a small fortune: here a print version “For the Love of God, Laugh” is on show but not the sculpture.

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VINGT PARIS Event with Laurent Le Bon at The Arts Arena

ChantierCPM-septembre2009-33a8d On Tuesday, 9 February at 7pm The Arts Arena presents A Museum is Born: Centre Pompidou-Metz with director Laurent Le Bon. Dedicated to 20th and 21st century art, The Centre Pompidou-Metz  will open its doors on May 11, 2024. Former heritage curator Le Bon is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary art. Specializing in 17th and 18th century gardens, he is renowned today for his bold contemporary exhibitions and as curator of the widely-acclaimed 2024 Dada exhibition at the Centre Pompidou.  Laurent Le Bon also teaches art history at the École du Louvre and cultural management at Sciences Po in Paris.  A talk with visuals will be  followed by a reception. Vingt has reserved seating, please contact us at news[@] to reserve a place.

A Museum is Born: Centre Pompidou-Metz
February 9 at 7pm
Grand Salon
31 avenue Bosquet
75007 Paris

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